Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Yasmine Ghandour, Education

Teacher and Director Beliefs About Their Simultaneous Adoption of Montessori's Principles and Quebec's Educational Programme

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 (all day)

This event is free


School of Graduate StudiesDaniela Ferrer


Daniela Ferrer



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


Teachers and directors of early years centres in Quebec have to conform to provincial guidelines when implementing their educational programme. Those in centres that identify as Montessori are simultaneously faced with the sometimes-conflicting directives of the Montessori philosophy and Ministry guidelines. This dissertation responds to the dilemma of facing such a dual frame of reference. I report the results of an investigation which explores the beliefs and reflections on the experiences of teachers and directors in four early years centres that identify as Montessori in the province of Quebec. Based on a review of the literature, I designed a mixed method project with two related studies. Study 1 was a questionnaire targeted towards all Ministry-recognized centres in the province of Quebec that identify as Montessori. Results from this initial study helped to paint the current landscape with data collected from 25 Montessori-inspired centres in the province, and also provided a source for recruitment of potential participants for Study 2. The second study was a deeper investigation, which used a qualitative design to explore the beliefs of teachers and directors from four individual centres that identified as Montessori. The study explored teacher and director beliefs about their adoption of Montessori’s principles and their adoption of Quebec’s educational programme. This was pursued through the use of questionnaires, interviews, and document reviews that provided rich descriptions of the phenomenon under study. Thematic analysis of the data led to five core themes, which emerged inductively from facing the dual frame of reference, namely: each child is unique, pedagogical approaches promoting children’s learning and development, teacher’s role in promoting children’s learning and development, parent’s role in promoting children’s learning and development, and challenges faced in promoting children’s potential. However, besides the noted similarities in beliefs, variations and contradictions also appeared. The results indicate that distinctions in beliefs - both among participants and within centres - emerged particularly around the notions of free play, pretense, creativity, and parental involvement. On this basis, further research is recommended to explore the effects of such suggested inconsistencies in Montessori programme implementation on both practical and scholarly platforms.

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