The Social Context of Middle School: Teachers, Friends, and Activities in Montessori and Traditional School Environments

  • Kevin Rathunde
  • Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiEmail author


This study compared the time use and perceptions of schools, teachers, and friends of approximately 290 demographically matched students in Montessori and traditional middle schools. We used the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) and questionnaires and conducted multivariate analyses showing that the Montessori students (a) reported more positive perceptions of their school environment and their teachers, and (b) more often perceived their classmates as friends while at school. ESM time estimates suggested that the 2 school environments were also organized in different ways: Montessori students spent more time engaged with school-related tasks, chores, collaborative work, and individual projects; traditional students spent more time in social and leisure activities and more time in didactic educational settings (e.g., listening to a lecture, note taking, watching instructional videos). These results are discussed in terms of current thought on motivation in education and middle school reform.


Middle School Parental Education Intrinsic Motivation School Context Eighth Grade 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Claremont Graduate UniversityClaremontUSA

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