Introducing Montessori at a preschool in India – teacher’s voices in transition

Demuth, C. (Speaker)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Educators’ understandings on how children are to behave, learn and develop are profoundly interrelated with the socio-historical society in which we live and relate, and through which we eventually come to create our own personal sense of such ideals. Traditional pedagogical ideals in Indian society have been characterized by a community-centeredness and practice-oriented learning. Globalization, however, has led to an increasing Westernization of ideas and beliefs about learning and teaching, particularly in urban middle class settings, which stress the value of individual, academic and subject-oriented teaching. Teachers are faced with the challenge to integrate ideas developed in a different socio-cultural context into their own cultural practices, which may lead to ambivalences and new hybrid forms of educational practice.
I will present findings from an ethnographic study in a preschool in North-India during a transition phase of establishing Montessori pedagogy to a previously traditional learning environment. Drawing on both videotaped classroom interactions as well as the teachers’ comments when watching these video recordings, the study tries to identify various voices (individual and collective) in the teachers’ talk and practices.

The findings reveal that the introduction and implementation of a Montessori pedagogy lead to novel hybrid forms of pedagogical practices. The findings can be conceived as representing a dialogical co-existence, rather than conflict, of competing and contradictive voices with regard to pedagogical ideals. This process of appropriation illustrates the dynamics involved in the teachers’ dialogical self during this transition process. Suggestions for future research will be discussed.
Period13 Jun 201816 Jun 2018
Event titleInternational Conference on the Dialogical Self
Event typeConference
Conference number10
LocationBraga, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • voice
  • transition
  • preschool
  • India