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Teachers working together in the Wider Opportunities instrumental programme in the primary school

Teachers working together in the Wider Opportunities instrumental programme in the primary school

Johnstone, Barbara Ann (2016) Teachers working together in the Wider Opportunities instrumental programme in the primary school. EdD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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The context for this qualitative case study is the primary school classroom and the Wider Opportunities instrumental teaching programme. The rational for the research is based on the premise that there is real potential for professional collaboration in the teaching of music when two bodies of knowledge are brought together, combining the class teacher’s expertise in pedagogy and the visiting instrumentalist’s expertise in music.

The study investigates the nature of the professional collaboration between the generalist class teachers and the visiting instrumentalists in five primary schools in an outer London borough. The theoretical bases developed from the literature are framed by the concept of collaboration; the theories of behaviourism, progressivism and constructivism and their contribution to learning and teaching; and the writings of Swanwick (1979, 1988, 1994, 1999) on music education. The methodology used to examine the experiences of class teachers, head teachers, pupils, instrumental teachers, associates connected to the local music education hub and experts from the field of music education comprised questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and the observation of twenty Wider Opportunities lessons over a twelve month period and analysed using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006, 2012; Howitt and Cramer, 2011). The themes that emerged from the data included detached collaboration; uncertainty about the aims of the Wider Opportunities programme; incomplete discourses of music education; and missed opportunities for professional learning. The key findings from this study identified that rich collaborative practices were an underused resource in the schools. Several factors prevented meaningful collaborations, including a crowded curriculum which limited the time available for curriculum planning and professional discussions, and the status given to arts and music education in primary schools. Although rich collaborative practices were not fully embedded in the case study schools, there was evidence to suggest that some teachers would have welcomed closer collaboration.

The Conclusions to the study highlighted the need for closer communication between the music education hubs and the schools involved in the Wider Opportunities programme in order to clarify the aims and approaches. Furthermore, the promotion of professional collaboration in the Wider Opportunities programme should be strengthened in schools by providing more opportunity for professional discussions between teachers and the sharing of expertise.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: primary school classroom; Wider Opportunities instrumental teaching programme; professional learning; education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2019 16:27

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