Learning to Teach Music: A Critical Review of Quantitative Research in Preservice Music Teacher Education

 

Linda K. Thompson, Lee University

lthompson@leeuniversity.edu

Mark Robin Campbell, The Crane School of Music, SUNY at Potsdam

campbemr@potsdam.edu

 

Current synthesis of scholarship on learning to teach music within preservice music teacher education programs consists of primarily categorical reviews encompassing a variety of research traditions. These reviews include topics as diverse as reform-mindedness (Thiessen & Barrett, 2002), student teaching (Rideout & Feldman, 2002), programmatic structure (Boardman, 1990), and instructional and evaluation processes (Verrastro & Leglar, 1992). The only synthesis of research focused directly on how preservice music teachers learn to teach music comes from a review drawn explicitly from the qualitative paradigm (Authors, 2014). As a result of their synthesis of qualitative studies on learning to teach music in preservice programs from 1990 - 2012, [Authors] (2014) posited learning to teach music as “a process of connecting self knowledge with social knowledge” (p. 470).

 

No synthesis of research on how preservice music teachers learn to teach music exists explicitly from the quantitative paradigm. A reading of extant studies, however, indicates several recurrent interests and topics. Among those are studies of preservice teachers’ behaviors as related to (a) instructional delivery (e.g., intensity, instructional patterns, use of time, teacher talk), (b) lesson planning, and (c) interactions with students in various music learning settings (i.e., rehearsal, classrooms). Also appearing is the study of teacher effectiveness, including approval/disapproval, feedback and teacher reinforcement, and the relationship between teaching behaviors and evaluation of music instruction.

 

The purpose of this study is to examine quantitative research on how people learn to teach music in preservice music teacher education programs. This study (1) coordinates and synthesizes what is known currently about how people learn to teach music, drawn from quantitative studies; and (2) provides directions for future research and considerations for improving quality of research.

This review of studies is systematic and follows the conceptual approach designed by [authors] (2014), looking at studies from 1990 - present. Studies selected for review include dissertations as well as research published in peer- reviewed journals. The review follows the content analysis methodology of Wideen, Mayer-Smith, and Moon (1998) who framed learning to teach within specific courses, experiences, and practices in a given program. The analysis describes, categorizes and then compares within and across all studies for themes and relationships. Findings are presented in narrative and graphic form, representing the literature in a way that furthers the profession’s understanding of learning to teach music. Results are discussed thematically and linked to ideas to emerge out of the synthesis.

 

This synthesis and critique of individual studies focused on learning to teach music provides a resource for music teacher educators and researchers, and begins a process of assembling a curated portfolio of research that has capacity to build conversations and alliances across common methodological divisions. Given the importance of teacher quality, evidence of how people learn to teach music is urgently needed for strategic actions among all stakeholders.

 

 

References

[Authors] (2014). A critical analysis of qualitative research on learning to teach music in preservice music teacher education. In C. Conway (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research in American Music Education (pp. 448-478). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Rideout, R., & Feldman, A. (2002). Research in music student teaching. In R. Colwell and C. Richardson (Eds.), The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning (pp. 874-886). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Thiessen, D. L., & Barrett, J.R. (2002). Reform-minded music teachers: A more comprehensive image of teaching for music teacher education. In R. Colwell and C. Richardson (Eds.), The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning (pp. 759-785). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Verrastro, R., & Leglar, M. (1992). Music teacher education. In R. Colwell (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning (pp. 676-696). New York, NY: Schirmer Books.

Wideen, M., Mayer-Smith, J., & Moon, B. (1998). A critical analysis of the research on learning to teach: Making the case for an ecological perspective on inquiry. Review of Educational Research, 68, 130-178.