Freshmen music education majors' preconceived beliefs about the people and processes involved in teaching
Author(s)Thompson, Linda Kay
Contributor(s)Cutietta, Robert A.
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AbstractThis study identifies and examines the preconceived beliefs about teaching held by entering music teachers prior to enrollment in Music Education or Education courses. Specifically it investigates the thoughts and beliefs these preservice teachers hold regarding (a) their future role as music educators, (b) their future students---as people, as learners, as musicians, (c) the process of teaching, (d) the nature of learning, and (e) what their future students should know. It also summarizes their beliefs and expectations regarding the various components of a university Music Education teacher preparation program. A "Matrix of Teaching and Learning" provides a basic for identifying general perspectives of these future teachers. Based on a purposeful selection process, twelve freshmen participated in the study. Qualitative methods of data collection included an initial open-ended questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, an interactive interview that included sort tasks and case analysis, and examination of the participants' uses of metaphor. The research questions determined a priori the primary categories for coding and analysis. Subcategories for each of the primary categories evolved through the inductive approach of constant comparative analysis. Verification occurred through maximum variation in the sample selection, triangulation, and peer review of the coding. These participants held strong beliefs about the people and processes involved in teaching--some were well developed while others were more simplistic. The theme of connection---students to subject, and teacher and students--surfaced frequently. Responses, however, did not fit the matrix. Instead, the following three themes emerged: (1) valuing the student and student empowerment, (2) predominance of the human aspect of teaching over technical aspects, and (3) the desire for experience in learning to teach, and an uncertainty about the role of the university in that process. Implications for music teacher education include the need for early and frequent opportunities for preservice teachers to develop teaching skills in as authentic a setting as possible. The importance of giving music education students the opportunity to integrate technical skills and teaching skills would appear to help develop the confidence necessary for them to successfully focus on connecting their students and the subject.