Summary of Carrie Ann’s “Research in Music Education” presentation

Posted onApril 12, 2010 
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What is research in Music Education?  Where has our field been in terms of research?  Where are we now and where are we going in our scholarship?  This is what I will be discussing with our class on Tuesday, April 13th.  In order to present this topic, I will be referencing Bennett Reimer’s Senior Researcher Award Speech from 2008.  Mr. Reimer, a preeminent scholar in the field of music education, seemed the best way to show the progression and evolution of research in my particular field.  Though all aspects of music, including the philosophy of the arts (aesthetics), we must make the connections to teaching, learning and basic musical practice.

Research in music education is a fairly young discipline, beginning towards the middle of the twentieth century.  Therefore, our research in our field is just as young and is still evolving.  There has been a switch in recent years from a qualitative approach in music education research to a quantitative (evidence based) approach, due to political issues affecting our field.  Currently there has been a third approach to music education research; an arts based approach that builds on the aesthetic nature of music and the arts.

Lastly, Mr. Reimer brings to the fore a fundamental flaw in terms of music education research… a lack of unifying structure within which to carry out our work and how we are fragmented and directionless in terms of the central practice of research.  This is just another issue that needs to be addressed by the members of our field.

I will discuss these above topics in my presentation tomorrow, in addition to looking at what an arts based approach to research is based on.  Research in music education is evolving and we must, as researchers in our field know where we were, are now, and are going to be in the future.

Jason’s Reading Log for his Music Education

Posted onApril 12, 2010 
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I have no musical talent or abilities.  I never took a piano lesson as a kid, I wasn’t in the band, I can’t read music, I’ve never even taken a music appreciation course, so I was surprised to see exactly how much overlap there is between problems in teaching music and the problems that I face teaching sociology.   This is one of the reasons that I am so interested in SoTL research, while every discipline is different, we all are confronted with many of the same difficulties. 

With that said, I thought a great point made in the readings was framing motivation as (at least partially) a teaching problem.  I always hear professors complaining that students today are not motivated to learn, well, what motivated you to learn?  Chances are it was a professor that took the time to offer insights, quality feedback, and demonstrated to you that they genuinely cared bout your learning.  The motivated you to do the reading, when you could have watched TV or went out with friends, because they convinced you that waht they were asking you to spend you time on mattered, and that they were there to guide you in your learning.  Now if we are all sure that we are doing all of this for our studentst, and they are still not motivated, we can start ranting against their individual work ethic.  However, if we are not fully sure of this fact, we may need to review what we can do to motivate students, and what social forces may be limiting us from doing so. 

While I do tend to agree that we are competing with an onslaught of distracting entertainment that is pulling people away from devoting their time to the learning process (and our time to the teaching process), there are some other notable forces at work.  Students are paying more for college and getting less.  Faculty are teaching more students than ever and getting paid less for their effort.  Expanding class sizes are a budgetary solution but a teaching and learning problem.  So, a student puts serious effort into a paper and receives a check mark, often regardless of the overall quality of the work.  A professor gives that check mark because they have to manystudents and can’t realistically give quality feedback to all of them.  I did the math, the author estimates that six three minute audio feedback can be completed each hour.  If I was to do that I would need to dedicate a full work week (over 40hrs) just to responding to one activity.  This is not a personal problem.  This is not a disciplinary specific problem.   This is not even a higher education specific problem.  This is a core public issue.  We need to invest in hiring more teachers to lower the student to teacher ratio.  Podcasting feedback is a great idea for a number of reasons, as are number of other teaching ideas, and they may work at institutions with good student to teacher ratios,  but we are kidding ourselves if we expect these ideas to be implemented in the current reality of most classrooms.

Carrie Ann’s April 6th Class reflection

Posted onApril 12, 2010 
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How do we accomplish assessment in-group work and for me how do we accomplish this in a large class setting?  This past weeks class and our discussion of the Cross and Steadman book helped me make some educational choices in this area.  This summer I am teaching a larger sized class on the topic of the Introduction to Classical Music, and a group project will be a part of the summer assignments.  I am going to try Darren’s idea of taking a portion of the points awarded to allocate to the peer evaluations of the other members and their role(s) within the group.  This way no one student takes complete control of the project and all members are equally involved in the final project. In my own teaching and assessment of group work in my classes, I need to try different assessment strategies to see what works and what does not.  Also, I need to realize that some strategies will work for a particular group of students one semester, but might not work with the next semester’s students.

The discussion that Aracelie led with regards to veterans returning to the higher education setting really struck a chord for me.  We need to make this transition easier for this particular group of students and take into account life experiences that only veterans can understand.  When asking students to write on topics that might bring up events or feelings that they are not ready or willing to delve into, we as educators must come up with “tools” or know of ways to guide our students through some difficult times.  As we saw in class, the research on this topic today is just beginning to scratch the surface and much more is needed to be effective in helping these students.

Carrie Ann’s April 12th Reading Log

Posted onApril 12, 2010 
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Since I will present on my article on Tuesday, I am going to take this opportunity to comment on the article that Ted has chosen for us to read to prepare for his part of the presentation. The idea of podcasting and the uses thereof for higher education is a fairly new idea.  Only in the past two semesters have I seen professors using this medium in addition to traditional methods of material presentation.  This semester has been the first in my academic career that I have needed to access this medium for another doctoral seminar that I am currently taking.  This class is having us use the podcasting purely in a “listen to these pieces” fashion, but as this article presents the use of podcasting for assessment purposes is extremely viable.

As an assessment tool, podcasting can be the technological way that we can reach our students on a more meaningful level.  I agree with this article in that our students can easily misunderstand written assessment that we give our students.  Meaning can be lost in the written word and through verbal communication (complete with inflections) you can regain some of that meaning back.  Our students are technology advanced and to use a medium that they are all well versed in to provide feedback is the next logical step in higher education.  This could be especially effective in large classes like the ones that I am currently teaching.  Written comments take a long time to complete, through podcasting/verbal comments I could record comments in real time as I am reading their papers and my students could receive their comments/grades in a quicker fashion.

I am looking forward to discussing this article in class and hearing my colleagues’ viewpoints on this subject.  We as educators need to move forward technologically along with our students, Podcasting assessments is one such way to do so.

Jason’s Reading Log for 4/6/10

Posted onApril 5, 2010 
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This weeks chapter in the cross reading was very interesting to me.  Besides the fact that I just really enjoy this book (especially when compared to some of the stuff I have to read for my Soc classes!), this chapter’s case study followed by literature review format was great!

We are supposed to be teaching ideas and ways of thinking (for numerous reasons) but have we taken the time to considered student stages of development in our planning?  A course structured to teach skills will inevitably lead to student’s asking “is this on the quiz” and attempting to memorize the examples.  I (and every other teacher that I have ever spoken too) have had this issue emerge in the classroom.  But it never dawned on any of us that we should be actively trying to understand why?

When the student in the first case study said “I thought this class was going to be BOOK history not Analysis of historical methods”  it sums up this issue.  We are in the classroom to facilitate student development and many students are accustomed to looking to authority figures to “give” them the answers or truth so that they can memorize it.  Many teacher’s (partially I belief due to elitism and arrogance) have been all to willing to give out the truth to students.  However in doing this we are robbing them of the abilities that we hold up as so valuable.  Humans do not naturally develop to their preset intellectual capability, we know that intellectual development is a process, or as cross states it “learning is a process not a product”.

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