A Case Study of Preservice Music Teachers' Attitudes of Classroom Management in Urban Music Classrooms


Jennifer L. Potter, University of Kansas



Classroom management is an important element of teaching, yet one that sometimes remains underdeveloped as preservice teachers transition to their classrooms. To underscore this, preservice teachers preparing for future classrooms may have very adequate skills for teaching while those for management are sometimes neglected. Studies identified preservice music teachers did not feel sufficiently prepared for future teaching positions (Ballantyne & Packer, 2004; Campbell & Thompson, 2007). When classroom management is coupled with effective practices and procedures, the school location, non-urban or urban, can impact that management (Brown, 2004; Garrahy, Cothran, & Kulinna, 2010). Preservice music students in urban settings experienced anxiety, fear, and nervousness concerning making connections with students, maintaining fairness, establishing routines, transitioning new students, handling inappropriate instructional spaces, implementing specific classroom management techniques, and feeling isolated (Emmanuel, 2005; Renfro, 2003; Smith, 2006). Studies identified teachers face challenges regarding classroom management in urban settings including an appropriate understanding of cultural diversity and facilitating classroom management within specific cultural contexts (Brown, 2003; Emmanuel, 2005; Weiner, 2003). Given that classroom management must be learned to apply it in the context of teaching, the learning venue may be in methods classes, student teaching, or on the job. Thus, a concern may be that university programs may not be preparing teachers for the reality of the classroom with successful strategies. This is particularly disconcerting if strategies utilized for students in non-urban settings may not necessarily be successful for those in urban settings (Fitzpatrick, 2011; Gordon, 2002; Singiser, 2002). According to current research, there appear to be challenges facing preservice teachers regarding classroom management in urban settings that are different than non-urban settings. The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of preservice music teachers concerning strategies and preparation for classroom management in music classrooms in urban settings. The participants were preservice teachers (N = 8), junior and senior music education students in the music education degree program at two Midwestern universities. The participants were males (n = 4) and females (n = 4) who had not yet enrolled in student teaching.


This study utilized a qualitative approach to examine the attitudes of preservice music teachers towards classroom management in the urban music classroom and their perceived preparation for the urban setting, as well as strategies presented in their undergraduate music education degree programs. A case study design seemed most appropriate for this study, and participants were interviewed twice, over two months’ time, for 30 to 40 minutes. Interviews were audio and video recorded from which transcriptions were made. Each participant received an executive summary and was asked to respond to the accuracy of the data and interpretations. Data were coded according to analytic induction (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992) to uncover themes and patterns (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). Results were reported according to those themes and patterns addressing commonalities and differences.


The study has just been approved through the IRB process at the universities, and data will be collected late this spring. Thus, results are not included in this abstract.




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