Rebecca Keith’s Dissertation on Montessori Education Receives First-Place Award

Rebecca Keith’s dissertation, “Learning as Development: Reflections of Former Montessori Students,” which examines the long-term effects of Montesorri education on college-age students, won first place from the American Montessori Society.

KeithRebecca Keith earned all three of her degrees from Saint Mary’s–– Doctorate in Education Leadership '14, M.A. in Leadership '08 and a B.A. in Human and Community Services '06. Her SMC experience and education, she said, “has better informed me of what is occurring in the field of education and given me a context through which to view my anecdotally based hypotheses about the nature of learning and learners.”

In her winning dissertation, Keith interviewed 13 students who attended Montessori schools for at least six years about their just-completed freshman year in college. Their interviews revealed similarities in how they experienced themselves as learners; understood the construction of knowledge, opinion, and truth; experienced themselves as growing and changing; and viewed the influence of their Montessori education.

Keith is the founder and head of One World Montessori School, whose three campuses in San Jose and Santa Clara serve over 200 students ranging from age 1 to 15. She is a Montessori teacher trainer and has delivered free teacher training to communities in need around the world. Keith said the knowledge she gained at SMC about the nature of adult learners and the environments that best support their learning has allowed her to improve her practice in approaching adult learners in her teacher training program.