Möjligheter och begränsningar : Om lärares arbete med montessoripedagogiken i praktiken

Sammanfattning: This study examines processes connected to teacher’s transformation of the Montessori theory and it's described application to a daily practice.  The aim is to create knowledge about what constitutes possibilities and limitations for teachers in their daily work with Montessori education. This does not only refer to what constitutes opportunities and limitations in teachers'  everyday work with teaching, but also to what constitutes opportunities and limitations for teachers to learn at work. The theoretical framework is based on action theory and theories on adult learning and connects to a tradition called workplace-learning in which learning is considered to take place in, but also between, individuals. This approach indicates that the contextual conditions which the teachers were imbedded in are important to identify. The study was conducted in four different Montessori-environments and involved nine Montessori teachers. The methods used were participant observation, interviews, informal conversations and review of teacher produced material and documents.Possibilities and limitations in teachers work were related to if they had access to Montessori materials or not. In work with Montessori materials teachers identified the children's abilities to a greater extent than they did when other materials were in use. This identification directed their interventions. When the teachers did not have access to Montessori material their method often appeared to be the same as “individual work” with the provided material. Furthermore, interventions of the teacher were then significantly often procedural rather than content-related, although the teachers clearly expressed that they wanted to go into a dialogue with children about the treated subject area. The survey therefore contradicts with the opinion that Montessori-teachers withdraw in favor of Montessori materials that sometimes has been brought up by interpreters of the pedagogy. Rather, teachers stepped back when other materials were in use. The study also shows how a prerequisite for a collective development-oriented learning among the teachers was dependent on whether teachers made their own private understanding of the pedagogy available to each other. At times, however, teachers took the use of the materials for granted. Some of the teachers also deliberately refrained from making their personal understanding available to others due to the fact that they then could be seen as a less competent Montessori-teacher. This maintaining of a “false” collective understanding is seen as an expression of an institutionalization of teaching practice which was maintained by sanctions from the environment if the individual didn´t recognize the institutionalization in question. Since teacher’s “space for action” in this way was limited, the institution created conditions that prevented a possible development of the working methods in use. In those cases when conditions for a collective development-oriented learning were more favorable, it was clear that the teachers did not perceive Montessori education as a given method but rather saw it as a "model" for teaching in which the teachers had to interpret and define their own method from. The teachers thus came to take advantage of a potential “space for action” which was not noticed when the pedagogy was seen as a method.