Educating future music teachers to become curriculum makers: Challenges and opportunities

Νατάσα Οικονομίδου Σταύρου, Lorraine O’Connell

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Music Education in a Changing World ( Friday, 15-Apr-22 19:15:00 EEST )

Student dis-engagement with and decreased interest in Music, as a school subject, is an issue repeatedly discussed in the literature calling into question traditional approaches to music teaching and learning. Curriculum scholars have advocated for a reconceptualisation of the term curriculum; a suggestion also echoed by researchers in the field of music education. Researchers call for open, flexible, negotiable, democratic and child-centered curricula (e.g. Author, 2009; Allsup, 2016; Allsup, 2020; Barrett, 2020), which respect music teachers’ professionalism and autonomy and give them freedom to formulate, the way they better believe, their music lessons in their classroom settings. This expanded view of curriculum has significant implications for the nature of its implementation, inviting teachers to reject the ‘instruction manual’ approach and to engage more actively and creatively with the curriculum, regarding the choice of what to teach, when and how. It also calls for a more substantial engagement with students’ voice in the decision-making around their music learning, with the aim of making Music in schools more meaningful and more relevant to students.  

Yet, according to Regelski (2018), curriculum often continues to be ignored in pre-service undergraduate music programs and there still seems to be a tendency to continue to transmit to new generations of music teachers, teaching approaches, materials, and ‘good’ methods that work, combined with dos and don’ts tips of music teaching and learning.  

The aim of this paper is to present and discuss a suggested, for pre-service music teacher education, framework designed by the two authors, through which this expanded role of the music teachers as curriculum-makers at the micro-level of their school and their music class, can be understood. Drawing on Aoki’s (2004) concepts, the framework places the teacher at the crossroads between ‘curriculum-as-plan’, and ‘curriculum-as-lived’, in other words, between the curriculum documents and the reality of the music classroom. It outlines and examines the competencies required, if music teachers are to undertake the role of curriculum negotiators and curriculum makers within a broader understanding of curriculum. In particular, the framework draws attention to the importance of music teachers engaging with critical curriculum inquiry and in becoming a dialogical co-constructor of curriculum with students. The paper concludes with implications for music teacher education.

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Keywords Music curriculum as plan, music curriculum as lived, meaningful music education, student-centered, curriculum negotiation.
Language English
Author(s) CV

Natassa Economidou Stavrou  is a Professor of Music Education and Associate Head of the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Nicosia. Her research focuses on Music curriculum design and implementation, music teachers’ and student’s voice as curriculum co-negotiators, early childhood music education and effective music teacher and effective music teaching. She’s currently a board member of the International Society of Music education (ISME) and was a board member of the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS) (2015–2019). She has co-coordinated the design and development of the latest Cypriot National Curriculum for Music in primary and secondary schools.

Lorraine O'Connell:  An experienced secondary school teacher, Lorraine O’Connell now lectures at TU Dublin Conservatoire (Technological University Dublin), where she also has responsibility for the Musicianship programme within the Part-time Conservatoire. Her research interests include music curriculum development, teacher education, the reflective teacher, learning theories, teacher as researcher, and the adaptation of Kodály and Dalcroze approaches with classroom and instrumental/vocal learning contexts. Lorraine is a founding member of and currently serves on the committee of the Society for Music Education in Ireland (SMEI). She is the EAS National Co-ordinator for Ireland.