MERGe

Research Group: Improving the Montessori practice through inquiry

The deep understanding of Montessori Education must come from research and studies developed in the context of the contemporary world. To reach this aim, Montessori Europe has initiated the Research Working Group, MERGe. The main task of this group is to search for issues that fit in with the interests of the members of the group and to define actions around shared activities.

The Research Working Group will start by setting up (a) how to establish and proceed with projects and (b) how to communicate and organize meetings of members involved. So setting up the operations of the working group will be “discussed in action”. But the most important thing is that ideas arise “at the source” of Montessori education.

Update November 2018
MERGe at the ME Congress in Sofia

This is a summary of the MERGe activities during the ME Congress.
The full report can be found here.

Before the congress started core members of MERGe organized a meeting on Friday morning, to talk about the organization of our activities during the conference.  Also we discussed the need for writing a practical-oriented manual for Montessori teachers on Action research in the Montessori classroom.
Our first activity during the ME congress was a symposium consisting of two parts. Firstly, Montessori teachers from different European countries shortly presented their research findings and ideas followed by a dynamic and lively discussion. The second part involved a short presentation of a forthcoming study conducted by Montessori researchers. The symposium was attended by twelve attendees from New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland and the Netherlands. At the beginning MERGe aims were presented to underline the essence of MERGe.

For a summary oif the presentations: read the complete report here

The second part of the meeting was devoted to the idea of engaging in a collaborative research on executive functioning in Montessori education. Thus, teachers’ partnership with scientists was established.  Patrick Sins and Jaap de Brouwer presented in a very clear and interactive manner the plan of conducting research that addresses the question: Does Montessori Education enhance Executive Functions? Patrick and Jaap asked whether attendees where interested in participating and contributing to this study. Each MERGe participant declared to be willing to take part in the initiative.
At the end of the meeting, MERGe participants valued the idea of posting research reports written by Montessori teachers on ME website: “Stories from Montessori schools”. These will be put under the, MERGe link. The participants of the meeting in addition stated that it would be worth taking into account that in the program of subsequent congresses of Montessori Europe workshops are organized to improve  teachers’ research skills

“Think big, start small”
On Saturday evening, MERGe organised a panel discussion under the title: Research behind Montessori best practices – how can ME support teachers in conducting research for their professional development?Ginni Sackett (AMI Director of Pedagogy, trainer, lecturer, consultant), Tania Hurter  (Assistant to Infancy at La Maison des Enfants), Dorota Zdybel – (Akademia Ignatianum in Kraków – MERGe member) Jarosław Jendza – (University of Gdansk – MERGe member), Jaap de Brouwer (Saxion University of Applied Sciences -MERGe member) were the panelists. Patrick Sins (Saxion university of Applied Science – MERGe member) moderated the discussion between the panelists. During the discussion the audience could digitally react on some of the questions posed by Patrick. Their reactions were projected on a screen so panelists could reflect on the responses of the audience during their discussion.

For a summary oif the panel discussion:  read the complete report here

Beata Bednarczuk and Patrick Sins

 

 

Update April 2018

Results of the MERGe meeting in Berlin, 24 March 2018
Montessori Europe Research Group (MERGe) is a platform to activate teachers in two areas:

  1. Teachers at the centre of knowledge creation in the professional context of Montessori classroom; reflectivity as a central part of teachers’ investigations:
  • An area of sharing results of his/her work with others, discussing practitioners’ findings to improve their work.
  • A meeting point for focusing teachers’ reflective thinking.
  • A place of receiving support and help in the further use of collected classroom information.
  1. Teachers as users and creators of research-based strategies:
  • A place of discussing possibilities of involvement in structured research topics, in a comparative study.
  • A place for exchanging work results on a selected topic.
  • A place to connect teachers and experts.

To develop the professionalization of teachers and cultivate their reflective attitude and research-oriented activities MERGEe will organize workshops and meetings/seminars with experts.

During the congress in Sofia, which is focused on learning about classroom practices, MERGe will take a closer look at the best practices. These are sometimes hidden in the daily work and remain unknown to the broader community. Paying attention to them may inspire others in the on-going process of professional development. We also want to to make use of classroom-based resources.

MERGe will present examples of school based practitioners’ research in the Research Group meeting at the ME congress in Sofia. Useful tools of how to set up research of the effectiveness of Montessori education will be presented. Patrick Sins will lecture on executive functions; Beata Bednarczuk on the self-authorizing personality. During workshops the participants will be given the opportunity to develop their own research activities.

Contact:
Beata Bednarczuk – beata.bednarczuk@montessori-europe.net