Sunday, 2 February 2020

PEDAGOGY OF MUSIC PART 1 :art, science & organization of teaching music

PEDAGOGY OF MUSIC EDUCATION  PART 1
This is a long read. Education is a vast area.
I've tried to keep to some of the main points, but it's still long.
This article has been broken down into multiple parts that take about 5 minutes to read.
Here we go...      
I’ll explain the sorts of things I think about to better educate my students.
When I’m at work teaching, I can’t actively explain every thought behind what I do.
I am too busy teaching.
The field of EDUCATION combines many ideas & is much more than one line slogans
like "Back to Basics". That doesn't really explain anything except we want to at very
least have basic skills. It doesn't tell us how to get them or what they are exactly.
Pedagogy is a word about the art, organization and science of  teaching. 

Teaching is a mix of science and art.
There are objectively measurable things to learn about teaching & learning
(the science,organization, subject skills & knowledge) and there are intuitive
skills that are complex and difficult to define. (the subjective “art”)
Some call these “soft skills.”
Music could include other skills than listed below
e.g. “openness to feedback”,”creativity”,”presentation”, “likeability” & “confidence.”


LEARNING HAPPENS OVER TIME
By definition, successful “teaching” requires a change of behaviour in the student
that aligns with the teaching program.  
An annoyed student stomps out of class. Could it be called successful teaching? 
One thing we do know about learning is that it happens over time.
The student who leaves may return & ultimately become successful. 
Isolated moments shouldn’t be judged as failures. Consider the BIG PICTURE.
There are moments in learning that are high impact.
A dramatic accident could embed a thought instantly compared to a
lecture on safety.
There are other learning times when the combination of input comes together
and binds in that “aha” moment.  (Gestalt theory)
These moments may often arise from gathering of information and experience
over a long period of time.
Sometimes a moment of understanding comes quickly.

THE CHARACTER ETHIC vs THE PERSONALITY ETHIC
Stephen Covey’s bestseller  “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” was a
success book, but not about money making.  
Unlike many “success books” which offer superficial  tricks to get people to like
you, enlarge (or fake) your social profile and set goals to drive your wealth,
Stephen’s book digs into the ethics and habits driving your behaviour as how to
achieve a much more real and sustainable type of success. 
Think “ integrity, humility, faith,honesty, courage,reflection, working hard,
perseverance, building knowledge, refining skills,trust,relationships. etc.” 
Think “working on the things you can change” as opposed to some “often
idealistic" but in reality "unachievable goal.”
Short-cuts might give the appearance of success, but short-term isn’t long term.
An approach involving the commitment to developing a habit of good character
has to be part of the process. 
In progressing to higher levels, HABITS make an enormous difference..
Covey makes sense. Developing positive attitudes & habits lead to
successful outcomes. Not a quick fix, but about the most important thing. 
His intriguing tale of leading his son to a place of self-management and
self-discipline unfolds the struggle between wanting to boss his kid, & finding
ways to support him into 'flicking an internal mental switch' to (in this case)
look after the yard at home. 
Many teachers & parents struggle to become great guides who can capture the
true heart and mind of another and lead them on to achievement as opposed to
using coercion, force, external rewards like money, or even emotional blackmail
to manipulate behaviour.  
We use what we know, but many of the greatest moments come from seeing
a student with ambition to self-manage with energy  (not entirely without
helpers) to realize their goals.
How habits manifest themselves in behavior might look like some of the
following examples:
Student always prepares for lessons by bringing the study materials.
Student organizes materials (librarianship, curating, labelling)
Student maintains equipment, books, protective covers.
Student practices lesson materials & is persistent to master skills.
Student completes projects.
Student co-operates with others to learn.
Student(at least at times) initiates discovery in learning.


Why talk about attitude and character before any other teaching/learning idea ?
The biggest fundamental strength a learner has is to carry the right
attitude of “willing engagement to learn” into their study.
Teaching is a partnership.
Respect, trust & commitment to the learning-teaching relationship is
especially important.
My first full-time experience Grade 6 (11-12yrs) students was an eye-opener.
Their skill level compared to years attending school was very low.
Many had clearly disconnected (or never really engaged) with the
system for the years they had been there. It's not just a disconnection that
involves the kids, it is the responsible partnership of kids, parents, teachers and
the wider community. I daresay most of them went on to have reasonably
successful lives but I can’t help thinking they should have had many more useful
skills at that age.





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