Community Engagement in the Music Teacher Education Curriculum: The Impact of Integrated Experiential Learning

 

Michele L. Henry, Baylor University

Michele_Henry@baylor.edu

Michael L. Alexander, Baylor University

Michael_L_Alexander@baylor.edu

Russell B. Gavin, Baylor University

Russell_Gavin@baylor.edu

 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin


The purpose of higher education has been described by many as a broad, multi
faceted endeavor. At once, we are charged with enculturating and educating the youthful or less experienced members of our society. At the same time, we are expected to advance that same society in whatever ways our particular field allows. In music education, we have the opportunity to accomplish both of these missions concurrently. The broad appeal of our subject matter allows us the opportunity to create environments in which our communities can be enriched, while simultaneously providing our students with valuable and authentic teaching experiences.

 

Teacher training programs often tout the benefits of “servicelearning”, an experiential teaching and learning model developed in the 1990s (Billig, 2003), and a powerful pedagogical tool in the education of pre-service teachers (Anderson, 1999, 2001; Anderson, Swick, & Yff, 2001; Ash & Clayton, 2004; Burton & Reynolds, 2009; Vaughn, Seifer, & Mihalynuk, 2004; W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2000). Experiential learning through community engagement may take many forms but, in each case, students respond to a community’s need(s), apply their coursework to a real world setting, and reflect critically during and after teaching (Burton & Reynolds, 2009). Such opportunities allow pre-service teachers to connect theory to practice (Harwood, McClanahan, & Nicholas, 2006) and have been found to be predictors of success during student teaching (Sullivan, 1991). Although many music teacher education programs may already incorporate community engagement to facilitate “service” or “experiential” learning, relatively few published reports exist from which to make comparisons of best practices (Burton & Reynolds, 2009).

 

This best practices session will demonstrate successful integration of community engagement elements into the formal music education curriculum, each example of which involves participation of Music Education faculty members, Music Education students, and members of the surrounding community. Examples of projectbased community interaction, as well as continuous program offerings for the community will be presented in the band, choir, and orchestra areas, and in general music experiences for children with special needs. The session will include video examples and sample documents for the various projects and programs.

 

References

Anderson, J. (1999). Service-learning and teacher education. ERIC Digest. Retrieved January 24, 2007, from http://www.ericdigests.org/1999-1/service.html

Anderson, J. (2001). Quoted in Florida CHESP: Addressing Florida’s needs through K- HE service learning and sustainable educational-community partnerships [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Corporation for National and Community Service.

Anderson, J., Swick, K., & Yff, J. (Eds.). (2001). Service-learning in teacher education: Enhancing the growth of new teachers, their students, and communities. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Ash, S. L., & Clayton, P. H. (2004). Service-learning: Inquiry and engagement. In V. S. Lee (Ed.), Teaching and learning through inquiry (pp. 229-242). Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Barnes, G. V. (2002). Opportunities in service-learning. Music Educators Journal, 88(4), 42-46.

Billig, S. H. (2003). Introduction. In S. H. Billig & A. S. Waterman (Eds.), Studying service-learning: Innovations in education research methodology (pp. vii-xiv). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Burton, S. & Reynolds, A. (2009). Transforming music teacher education through service learning. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 18 (2): 18-33.

Glenn, J. (n.d.). What is service-learning? St. Paul, MN: National Youth Leadership Council. Retrieved January 9, 2007, from: http://www.nylc.org/discover.cfm?oid=3152

 Sullivan, R. (1991). The role of service-learning in restructuring teacher education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators, New Orleans, LA.

Vaughn, R. L., Seifer, S., & Mihalynuk, T. V. (2004). Quick guide: Service-learning in teacher education. Community Partnerships for Health. Retrieved January 2007 from http://servicelearning.org/resources/quick_guides/teacher_ed/index.php?search_term=Teacher%20education

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Service-Learning Initiative. (2000). Learning in deed: Service- learning and preservice teacher education. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States’ Initiative “Compact for Learning and Citizenship.” Retrieved January 20, 2007, from http://learningindeed.org/slcommission/report.html