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The MaPS project: mapping teacher conceptions of musical development

Stakelum, M. and Baker, D. (2013) The MaPS project: mapping teacher conceptions of musical development. In: Stakelum, M. (ed.) Developing the Musician: Contemporary Perspectives on Teaching and Learning. Sempre studies in the psychology of music. Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 135-154. ISBN 9781409450177

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The chapter starts from the premise that an historically- and institutionally-formed orientation to music education at primary level in European countries privileges a nineteenth century Western European music aesthetic, with its focus on formal characteristics such as melody and rhythm. While there is a move towards a multi-faceted understanding of musical ability, a discrete intelligence and willingness to accept musical styles or 'open-earedness', there remains a paucity of documented evidence of this in research at primary school level. To date there has been no study undertaken which has the potential to provide policy makers and practitioners with insights into the degree of homogeneity or universality in conceptions of musical ability within this educational sector. Against this background, a study was set up to explore the following research questions: 1. What conceptions of musical ability do primary teachers hold a) of themselves and; b) of their pupils? 2. To what extent are these conceptions informed by Western classical practices? A mixed methods approach was used which included survey questionnaire and semi-structured interview. Questionnaires have been sent to all classroom teachers in a random sample of primary schools in the South East of England. This was followed up with a series of semi-structured interviews with a sub-sample of respondents. The main ideas are concerned with the attitudes, beliefs and working theories held by teachers in contemporary primary school settings. By mapping the extent to which a knowledge base for teaching can be resistant to change in schools, we can problematise primary schools as sites for diversity and migration of cultural ideas. Alongside this, we can use the findings from the study undertaken in an English context as a starting point for further investigation into conceptions of music, musical ability and assessment held by practitioners in a variety of primary school contexts elsewhere in Europe; our emphasis here will be on the development of shared understanding in terms of policies and practices in music education. Within this broader framework, our study can have a significant impact internationally, with potential to inform future policy making, curriculum planning and practice.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:30920


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