"The Effects of Discussion Groups on Teacher Confidence and Comfort-Level with Anti-Bias Education at a Private Urban Montessori School"

Michael Sullivan McKiernan, St. Catherine University


This action research was conducted to examine the effects of peer discussion groups on the comfort and confidence of lower-elementary Montessori teachers in conducting literature-based anti-bias lessons. The intervention was conducted in a private, urban, Montessori school, serving students from toddler to middle school. The participants of this study were five first-third grade teachers, including the participant researcher. Data was collected through pre- and postintervention surveys, teacher post-lesson self-assessments, transcription coding of discussion groups, and researcher self-reflection rating scale and journal prompts. Three discussion groups were scheduled two weeks apart, with teachers giving literature-based, anti-bias lessons between the first and second discussion groups and the second and third discussion groups. Data indicated that teachers became more comfortable and confident in their anti-bias teaching practice and that the discussion groups created a space for reflective dialogue. The action plan suggests that this intervention could have a farther reach if it were conducted for a longer period of time, across a wider age range, and in multiple schools.