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                            Uncovering Meaning in Montessori Teachers’ Lived Experiences of Cosmic Education as a Tool for Social Justice
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Stephen F. Austin State University Stephen F. Austin State University

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Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Spring 5-13-2017

Uncovering Meaning in Montessori Teachers’ Lived Experiences Uncovering Meaning in Montessori Teachers’ Lived Experiences

of Cosmic Education as a Tool for Social Justice of Cosmic Education as a Tool for Social Justice

John Allen Branch
Stephen F Austin State University, [email protected]

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Uncovering Meaning in Montessori Teachers’ Lived Experiences of Cosmic Uncovering Meaning in Montessori Teachers’ Lived Experiences of Cosmic
Education as a Tool for Social Justice Education as a Tool for Social Justice

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“using all everyday means of understanding” (2008, p. 174). They also cautioned the

phenomenologist that, “Every researcher must be prepared to have the phenomenon tell

her/him how it is best studied, instead of applying oneself, one’s pre-understandings and

expectations on the phenomenon” (2008, p. 177).

For this study, dialogic interviews were used. The purpose of such interviews

was to listen to the experiences of the informants and strengthen the voice of the

phenomenon; the interviewer’s role was to support the informant’s reflections on the

phenomenon (Dahlberg et al, 2008). As open dialogues, interviewers were encouraged

not to have lists of prepared questions, but to listen attentively and rely on their own

“spontaneity and commitment during the interview, but all the time lead by the

phenomenon” (Dahlberg et al., 2008, p. 187). This open approach to interviews was also

the method recommended by Vagle:

I think it is a myth that the unstructured interview technique is “wide open” and

without boundaries or parameters. To the contrary, this technique starts with a

clear sense of the phenomenon under investigation and then the interviewer needs

to be responsive to the participant and the phenomenon throughout. (Vagle, 2014,

p. 79)

A key component of this interview process was immediacy, the bridled

relationship between the phenomenon, the interviewer, and the interviewee (Dahlberg et

al., 2008). They found that such immediacy produced higher quality interviews with far

greater detailed descriptions of the phenomenon; for this reason, it was preferable that the

interviews be conducted in person rather than remotely, at least at the first level. This

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immediacy also allowed the phenomenologist to thoroughly question the meaning behind

co-investigator statements, even when they thought the meaning was clear. “

An interview dialogue, for example, is more than just two people talking. The

meeting gives rise to a situation where two body-subjects are being led by the

meaning within the situation, i.e. the meaning of the conversation. Such a

dialogue gives birth to memories and experiences that could have been forgotten a

long time ago. (Dalhberg et al., 2008, p. 64)

Three levels of interviews were initially proposed, with each subsequent level

dependent upon the need based on data analysis of the preceding level; only two levels

were actually used. The first level of interviews produced data which once examined

helped the phenomenologist determine that a second level of interviews was needed with

two respondents. On the basis of that additional data, no third level interviews were

needed. The first level was conducted in person, face-to-face. Transcripts of all of the

interviews were produced and provided to the co-investigators as a member check.

Data analysis.

Only one form of data analysis was used. That analysis took shape during the

process itself. Dahlberg et al. (2008), Vagle (2014), and van Manen (1990; 2014) all

stressed that the phenomenologist must be careful not to define the analysis too clearly

prior to data gathering. It is not advisable to predict exactly how the data will be studied

prior to finding the data; to do otherwise would jeopardize the openness critical to post-

intentional phenomenology.

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happy to visit with you concerning the study and you can call him at either 936-468-
2908. His email address is [email protected]

Your participation is ABSOLUTELY voluntary. No penalty will happen if you decide
that you do not want to participate in the study and you can decide to stop your
participation at any time. All you need to do is let me know that you wish to be taken out
of the study.

You will receive a copy of this consent form. Please feel free to contact me or Dr.
Jenlink for more information at any time.


Any concerns with this research may be addressed to the Office of Research and
Sponsored Programs, Stephen F. Austin State University at 936.468.6606.



Parent/guardian date


Researcher date

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VITA




John Allen Branch received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology Degree from

Hendrix College in 1986. He then received his Master of Education Degree in 1989 from

The University of Arkansas. While pursuing this degree, he began his teaching career as

adjunct faculty at Northwest Arkansas Community College. He moved to Texas in 1989,

and began teaching in secondary education in 1990 in Hearne Independent School

District. He served as a mathematics and computer science teacher in addition to running

the district’s adult, community, and alternative education programs. He then worked

several years in corporate training and professional development. In 2009 he returned to

secondary education at School of the Woods, where he taught mathematics and science.

In 2014 he completed his principal certificate at Stephen F. Austin State University. He

was accepted into the 2014 Doctoral Cohort at Stephen F. Austin, where he earned a

Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership in 2017. Currently, he continues to

serve as a mathematics and science teacher at School of the Woods.



Permanent Address: 2706 Hendricks Lakes Drive, Spring, Texas 77388

Style manual designation: Publication Manual of the American Psychological

Association, Sixth Edition

Typist: John Allen Branch

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