Situational Interest of Fourth Grade Children in Music at School
Roberts, John Christopher
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The role of interest in educational settings has been seen as a significant factor in nurturing an appreciation for learning and influencing the extent to which that learning occurs. Interest can be divided into two sub-categories, individual interest and situational interest. Individual interest is personal rather than global, slow to develop, and relatively stable over time. Situational interest, on the other hand, is often temporary, emerging out of the specific characteristics of the immediate environment, and is common across most individuals. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of situational interest in one fourth grade music class. An ethnographic approach was employed, focusing on the 24 children from one intact class in the Pacific Northwest. Over a four-month period of engagement, data were gathered through interviews, free-write experiences, one-item surveys in which the children rated their interest on a Likert-type scale, videotaped observations of class periods, and examination of material culture. Four main themes emerged from the fieldwork. (1) The fourth grade students' situational interest was enhanced when they engaged in novel activities or experiences, as well as those that included elements of surprise or humor; (2) Interest was heightened when the young students held feelings of self-efficacy towards particular activities, as well as those experiences that offered challenging but attainable goals; (3) Situational interest was higher for the fourth graders if educational enterprises provided opportunities to employ kinesthetic or visual modalities; and (4) The children's interest was elicited by learning experiences that incorporated aspects of creativity.
- Music