The music methods class: acquisition of pedagogical content knowledge by preservice music teachers
This study examined preservice teachers' acquisition and development of pedagogical content knowledge as affected by instructional experiences in a music methods course. The investigation considered informants' changes in beliefs about the purpose of music instruction in elementary schools, their conceptions of teaching elementary music, and their curricular decisions given a song or a concept to be taught to children, at the beginning, mid-term, and end of a music methods course.A quasi-ethnographic design, combining research techniques common in field studies with a case study approach, was utilized. The informants (four primary and four secondary informants) were sophomores in a fourteen-week music methods class within a music teacher education program at a small private university. Data were gathered through observations, program records, and three structured interviews with each informant--at the beginning, mid-term, and end of the course. The research was guided by the following questions: (1) How do preservice music teachers, who are collegiate students of music education, learn to make pedagogical and curricular decisions? (2) What is the source of this knowledge? (3) What effects does a methods course, and previous experience in music, teaching, and observing of instruction, have on these decisions? (4) How is this knowledge organized and utilized by preservice music teachers?Propositions derived from the analysis of data revealed that: (1) preservice music teachers obtain pedagogical content knowledge by assimilating knowledge from several sources, using knowledge from one context of musical instruction and applying it to another, and directly applying knowledge from their past to a current situation; (2) the sources of preservice music teachers' pedagogical content knowledge is primarily their previous performance-related music learning experiences and, secondarily, their observations of other teachers; (3) preservice music teachers draw upon the knowledge and skills gained in a music methods course and integrate this knowledge with knowledge from other sources if necessary; (4) a music education methods course is effective in overcoming preservice teachers' previously-held conceptions regarding the teaching of music in the elementary school; (5) preservice teachers' orientation toward subject matter (as an instrumental of vocal major) affects their curricular decisions; (6) as preservice teachers acquire knowledge about teaching in a methods class, they are better able to identify what they know about teaching; they continue to refine and redefine their knowledge in ways that are increasingly integrated and holistic.
- Music