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Frameworks for Social Justice Education in Montessori Classrooms: Educator Perceptions and Implementation

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Madeleine Kelly

As American schools continue to diversify, issues of equity remain unresolved and disparities between different racial and cultural groups have become more pronounced (Paris, 2012). Key components of the Montessori Method seem to align with aspects of a Social Justice Education (SJE) framework. These features include an emphasis on autonomy, high expectations, individualized learning, and a focus on interconnectedness (Montessori, 1912; Lillard et al., 2021). Both frameworks have numerous benefits for diverse students, including improved academic performance, higher self-esteem, and increased motivation (Culclasure et al., 2018; Graham & Hudley, 2005; Lillard et al., 2017). Frameworks for SJE also provide educators with practices and attitudes with which to better support and empower students from diverse backgrounds However, Montessori classrooms still exhibit patterns of bias towards students from diverse backgrounds, indicating room for improvement (Brown & Steele, 2015). Data were collected using a mixed-methods survey with participants at two local Montessori schools. Findings indicate that Montessori educators from two urban elementary education programs agree with key features of SJE. In addition, they report they can and should implement SJE within the classroom, and that the Montessori framework aligns well with the practices and goals of frameworks for SJE.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A34
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Education
Faculty Mentor: Mary Burbank