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Confirmation of Candidature - Candidate : Helen McGuire

Montessori in Australian Public Primary Schools: An Inquiry Into the Perceptions and Experiences of Teachers Around Student Achievement
14 APR 2023
10.00 AM - 11.30 AM

Community concern around the comparatively low academic standards of Australian students, in contrast to many children of similar age internationally, has generated a profusion of urgent national reaction. The response to this has largely surfaced as independent projects, focusing upon school improvement strategies. Despite these projects, little overall advance, in student academic achievement nationwide, has occurred in recent years. A growing body of international research, around Montessori classes in public primary schools, suggests that as a teaching approach it may have merit when considering Australian school improvement. However, not much is known about the perspectives of the small group of teachers in Australia who currently use Montessori methods in public primary schools. The general picture that arises from the literature internationally is that the Montessori approach has a positive influence on students over time, and that it has the potential to lift student academic outcomes.

This proposed research project will explore the perspectives, of those teachers currently working in Australian public primary schools, that run Montessori programs. Data will be collected through qualitative online interviews using Zoom, with approximately 15 Australian teacher participants. An analysis of the data from these interviews will be made, using Braun and Clarke’s Reflexive Thematic Analysis. This research project will explore the teachers’ own views around the effect, on students, of the introduction of the Montessori approach in their Australian public primary school settings. The analysis of these teachers’ narratives will add to the current understanding of approaches to school improvement, especially those suited to the Australian public primary school context. This research will not only form a part of the growing body of knowledge internationally on strategies for school improvement, but it will also investigate the possibilities the Montessori approach affords public education in Australia. This research will contribute knowledge to future school improvement projects, within both the Australian context, and internationally.

For more information, please email the Graduate Research School or phone 0746 311 088.