The Impact of Choice on Normalization and Academic Achievement
Students in today’s traditional schools do not have many opportunities for choice in their learning. Learners can often be observed seated in their assigned seat, engaged in assigned work given to them by the adult in the room. Traditionally in the United States, this has been the norm for many schools, but is it really the best way for students to learn? This research focuses on how freedom of choice in a Montessori classroom helps to support normalization. Normalization is a Montessori term to describe a learning situation in which students demonstrate a love of learning and engage in tasks autonomously as a result of their intrinsic motivation. This study focuses on choice in a Montessori learning environment. However, the research is applicable to traditional classrooms as well. By analyzing student observations and work samples this research attempted to see if choice in the classroom affects normalizations and student achievement. The research showed an increase of on task behavior when students were given more choices but did not show an increase in respectful behavior.