Teaching Teachers:  Methods and Experiences Used in Training Doctoral Students to Prepare Preservice Music Educators

 

Steven N. Kelly, Florida State University

skelly@admin.fsu.edu

Kimberly VanWeelden, Florida State University

kvanweelden@admin.fsu.edu

 

Public debate has brought the issue of providing a high-quality education for all students to the forefront of educational reform in the United States.  Furthermore, President Obama has stated the United States cannot build a “world-class” education system without quality teachers.  To address concerns, public schools are required by federal mandate to employ only “highly qualified” teachers.  Consequently, college/university teacher education programs have been challenged to reform their curricula to better train future teachers.

 

Institutions and individuals responsible for music teacher education have not been exempt from criticism regarding the preparation of preservice teachers.  Yet, while many modifications in music education have centered on preservice behaviors and curricular experiences, few reforms have addressed the actual faculty that provide the training. Minimal attention has focused on experiences and methods used to train future music teacher educators (i.e., doctoral students obtaining a degree in music education). Attention could include assessing how future music teacher educators are trained to prepare preservice students. Preparing doctoral students to educate and guide preservice teachers is an important function of a graduate PhD music education program.  Subsequently, how individuals are trained to be teacher educators deserves investigative attention.

 

This presentation will focus on results of a study that addressed methods and experiences used to train doctoral music education students to work as university college professors.  Selected faculty representing every institution offering a PhD in music education in the United States and Canada (n= 46) were sent an online questionnaire concerning (1) the extent respondents believed doctoral music education students should perform student/class observations, teach music education classes, supervision field-teaching experiences, participate in teacher-related activities, and participate in scholarly activities, and (2) if respondents’ institutions had doctoral music education students perform student/class observations, teach music education classes, supervision field/student teaching experiences, participate in teacher-related activities, and participate in scholarly activities.

 

Respondents (n= 42) strongly believed music education doctoral students should observe and assist in undergraduate classes, supervise field-teaching experiences, and conduct scholarly activities.  Respondents placed less value on interactions with public schools, teaching graduate music education courses, and participating in school/college committees.  Respondents indicated their institutions did have students perform student/class observations, teach music education classes, supervision field-teaching experiences, participate in teacher-related activities, and participate in scholarly activities.  However, interactions with public schools, teaching a graduate class, and participating in school/college committees were performed less.

The results reflect previous studies suggesting music teacher educators must be prepared to serve many capacities including researchers, trainers, instructors, mentors, musicians, and policy makers.  However, outside of teaching undergraduate methods-base classes and supervising student teachers, the present study found few opportunities for doctoral students to develop teacher-training skills.  Furthermore, findings show little emphasis given to interactions with public school teachers and related issues.  This finding was also evident in past research.  The study contributes to Barrett’s (2012) concerns of the variety of responsibilities required of university music education faculty, while maintaining contact with public school realities in order to prepare preservice students for a complex public school classroom.

 

References

Barrett, J. R. (2012). Wicked Problems and Good Work in Music Teacher Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, 21, 3 – 9.