Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Amanda Perna


Secondary Education, English


Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy defines education as an aid to life. Given the appropriate prepared environment, young people will construct themselves and become strong, resilient, holistic humans, willing to share their gifts to benefit the common good. The developmental needs at each phase, articulated by Montessori’s Four Planes of Development serves as an essential guide to the teaching and learning. This research looks at the effects of two developmentally appropriate interventions on engagement within peer-led literature seminars in a secondary Montessori classroom. The first intervention included a low stakes way to increase proximity or a way to create a sense of ease and security at the beginning of each class such as a quick question, activity, or sharing of a quote. The second intervention aimed at preparation to help students feel more confident in participating. During the week between each seminar, students were given short lessons on literature analysis and context for the novel. Triangulated quantitative and qualitative data reveal a positive effect of student engagement due to the presence of the two interventions within the seminars. Results of the research will inform how future literature groups are conducted and will potentially benefit other secondary Montessori programs.