Author(s)Kim, Irene J.
KeywordsEarly Field Experience
Preservice teacher program
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to identify the value of early field experience (EFE) in choral methods courses, examine participants' likelihood to include EFE practice in choral methods courses, and determine the rationale for incorporating EFE. The study also explored the participants' preferences for activities related to early field experience, investigated possible relationships between EFE activities and participants' teaching experience or primary responsibility and perceived student outcomes of such participation. A survey instrument was distributed to choral music educators identified through the College Music Society. A total of 100 (after adjustments) responses were collected and analyzed employing descriptive and inferential statistics. The result displayed a high consensus among participants on the value and future implementation of EFE practice in choral methods. Participants declared that educational philosophy, personal experience, and requirements influenced their reason for implementing EFE, with personal experience receiving the highest positive response. The survey listed four categories of EFE activities--teaching, observation, evaluation methods, and other EFE activities. Highest rated activities from each categories were as follows: micro teaching at an elementary, middle, or high school; individual observation at an elementary, middle, or high school; reflection/self-evaluation and instructor feedback; and university choral ensemble participation. The result of Two-Way MANOVA to determine significant relationship between EFE activities and participants' teaching experience or primary responsibility reported no correlation in general with the exception of one activity. A significant difference was observed between attending choral seminars and conferences and participants' primary responsibility (p = .01, p<.05). Expected student outcome was measured through five skill types: personal, content, pedagogical, administrative, and communication skills. Of these, all participants agreed on personal skill (100%) followed by communication (95%), content (94%), and pedagogical skills (94%) as their highest expected EFE student outcome. Early field experience has gained notable recognition among music teacher educators in the past three decades. Numerous studies have verified the benefits of EFE and national organizations have actively supported the practice. The results of this study echoed the results of previous research with an overwhelming percentage of participants displaying a high enthusiasm for EFE practice in choral methods courses.