Preservice Music Teachers' Perceptions Regarding Their Readiness to Teach K—12 Multicultural Music Lessons After Graduation


Julius Kyakuwa, Louisiana State University


Institutions of higher education prepare and send out teachers to teach in diverse cultural settings. The teacher education process introduces students to pedagogies, current trends, and content in multicultural music education. Past studies have been conducted on the status of multicultural programs in higher institutions of learning, assessment of programs in training preservice music teachers to conduct multicultural classes, perceptions towards multicultural music teaching, and instructional pedagogies and challenges (Dekaney, Macede, & Pye 2011; Emmanuel, 2002; Okun, 1998; Southcott & Joseph, 2010). Findings have included lack of a common definition and understanding of multicultural education, ineffective implementation of a multicultural education curriculum, inadequate preservice training for teaching world music, lack of substantive knowledge by teachers regarding multicultural education, and lack of cross-culturally competent lecturers. Other findings demonstrate positive aspects include teachers’ consideration of music being a major expression of cultural identity and diversity, and recognizing the importance of a culturally responsive curricula instead of a Eurocentric approach to music education (Jenks, Lee, & Kanpol; Johnson, 1997; Young, 1996).


There is an increased interest in research focusing on perceptions, standards and influences of multicultural education through qualitative research worldwide and in American schools (Chin, 1996a; Milaris, 2014). This increase may be attributed to limited findings about studies that concentrate on preservice teachers’ beliefs, attitudes towards, understandings of multiculturalism, and their readiness about classroom realities of multiculturalism. This is especially noted in the context of the United States as a culturally diverse nation.


In view of the gap in the literature, the current study examined the perceptions of two fourth-year preservice music teachers at a large Southern state university regarding their perceptions of readiness to conduct K–12 multicultural lessons (Banks, 2006; Belz, 2006; Campbell, 1992; Milner, 2010) after they graduate. I used a qualitative research design and case study approach, semi-structured and focus group interviews, video recordings, and observation of lessons. The themes that were identified as important to teacher readiness included, mastery of the subject matter on multicultural education; experience gathered through teaching practicum; approach, versatility, and experience of lecturers; the content structure within music education courses; and availability of teaching resources. Participants noted lack of adequate knowledge on multiculturalism policy matters at local and national level. They also suggested engaging international music students at the university as resource persons to share their cultural music for the benefit of the music education students. Examining what these teachers say concerning the teacher preparation process, and their perceptions of readiness to teach multicultural music lessons may contribute to a greater understanding of how preservice teachers acquire competence in this area of music teaching.


In the symposium session, I will share the findings from this study and engage the audience in a discussion on the topic. This would contribute to further knowledge on the subject and apprenticeship for me as a musician and teacher.




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