An analysis of Maria Montessori’s theory of normalization in light of emerging research in self-regulation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k35696572

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  • The regulation of behavior is a major issue in early childhood development, with important implications for children’s adaptive and maladaptive developmental outcomes. Emerging research suggests that the degree of successful self-regulation depends upon the efficiency of the child’s attentional system and that the ability to focus and sustain attention supports emotional self-regulation throughout the lifespan. The neural networks that underlie the development of attention are beginning to be charted. Studies have shown that the executive attention network undergoes considerable development between the ages of 2 and 7. To support this development, research scholars have suggested the need to develop curriculum to promote focused and sustained attention in preschool programs. One hundred years ago, Maria Montessori observed that when the environment was designed to promote concentration, children went through a transformative process, which she referred to as normalization. Is normalization the same as self-regulation? This study was designed to examine whether Montessori’s theory of normalization can be considered an applied theory of self-regulation. This was accomplished by analyzing Csikszentmihalyi’s optimal experience theory and Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory to provide the requisite guidance for developing curriculum capable of nurturing multiple aspects of self-regulation, which led to a conceptual framework for the comparison with Montessori’s theory of normalization. Montessori’s theoretical perspective is not readily available in published literature. Therefore this study used qualitative methods to conduct interviews with 12 Montessori teacher trainers. These individuals are considered the highest authority regarding Montessori theory and practice. Though Montessori’s contributions to the field of Early Childhood Education are often mentioned in university textbooks, the underlying theory (normalization) that guides her work receives little discussion. Without a clear understanding of Montessori’s theoretical perspective, research scholars are not able to isolate distinguishing characteristics that can assess self-regulation as an outcome of the curriculum nor can they adequately compare this approach with other forms of education. By introducing Montessori’s theory of normalization and analyzing it as a theory of selfregulation, this study has created a conceptual framework to articulate the governing characteristics and educational principles necessary to enhance practices that support the development of self-regulation in early childhood.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Kathleen Lloyd (lloydka@onid.orst.edu) on 2008-07-01T21:24:53Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Lloyd_Dissertation.pdf: 513465 bytes, checksum: 869418de5a1aea18fbdae91d7afa8682 (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2008-07-10T01:08:20Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Lloyd_Dissertation.pdf: 513465 bytes, checksum: 869418de5a1aea18fbdae91d7afa8682 (MD5)
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