Comparative Analysis of Behavioral Engagement and Transferable Skills in Conventional and Montessori Schools.

Iwona Franczak

Abstract


While the existing research reveals that engagement is an important factor contributing to students’ success, recent studies offer a limited range of work addressing students’ engagement across different types of elementary schools. This study explores and compares levels of behavioral engagement and the development of transferable skills among elementary students attending a public conventional school (PCS), a public Montessori school (PuMS), and a private Montessori school (PrMS). Since research involving Montessori schools reveals positive outcomes for the students, the purpose of this work is to determine whether alternative schools, such as Montessori schools, foster students’ behavioral engagement more effectively than conventional schools do and whether those alternative schools ultimately provide for a greater development of transferable skills. A total of 63 elementary school children attending three different types of elementary schools (PCS, PuMS, PrMS) participated in the study. Data on students’ behavioral engagement were collected at each site through observations and specifically designed assessments. Data on transferable skills were collected at each site through teacher and parents’ surveys. The primary analysis of On/Off Task and Non-Academic Engagement assessment as well as the teachers’ answers to survey items found a significant difference between students’ levels of engagement and transferable skills across these three schools confirming the research inquiry. These findings provide an insight regarding the current status of engagement and development of transferable skills among students attending different types of elementary schools, help us to identify the areas for potential improvement in our educational approaches, and open discussions exploring new methods of teaching which address the fullest potential of children in the 21st century.


Keywords


Behavioral Engagement, Transferable Skills, Alternative Schools, Montessori Schools

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