A theoretical design of rational autonomy : integrating elementary and early childhood teacher education through a contemporary derivation from Maria Montessori's social cognitive field paradigm Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rr172080m

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  • The individual through earliest recorded history reveals contradictory views of the human life-span. "Am I a free and unique individual, able to make choices and decide my own destiny?, or, "Am I only a victim of circumstance, a speck of dust in the universe's whirlwind of fate?" Each view is recognized in education and psychology, but the latter outlook is often prominent in schools which discourage decision making. Throughout the life-span, however, the individual must make choices. Allowing the young student to progress on the road to autonomy, requires a new educational outlook. How might teacher education focus on this new perspective? Rational Autonomy (RA) is an original conceptualization of the psychological foundations for a learning-teaching theory of practice; one which promotes autonomy and reasonable decision making in children and adults. Its purpose is to provide a framework for the development of an autonomous educator who may conceptualize the interaction between the dichotomies of autonomy and rationality. These values are imbedded within the leitmotif of liberty and freedom; individuality and socialization; creativity and cooperation all natural tensions within a democracy and a democratic classroom. Cognitive psychologies today advance a view reflecting an autonomous individual who is interactive, purposeful and capable of conscious decision making. Montessori (1870-1952) recognized these traits as inherent in most children. Viewing autonomy and reason as the individual's means to full cognitive and personality development, she proposed an expansive educational psychology which would anticipate this view in cognitive psychology. Until now, few psychological definitions were available to define Montessori's theories. Thus, this thesis defines existent psychology as providing a "Social Cognitive Field" frame in which to define her theories and derive a new concept. The concept of Rational Autonomy incorporates psychological principles from human development, social, personality and learning theories. Constructs are demonstrated by interaction models of the child, family and educator. These are exemplified in a school program through a site and case study. Elementary and early childhood teacher education extends the Design into a life-span theory. The mentor-teacher relationship, curricular implications, educator group facilitation and university aims are included in the RA Design.
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