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|Title:||Voices of learning: teacher knowledge, skill and development in secondary school singing|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney|
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
|Abstract:||Singing can be an immensely positive experience for secondary school students and can impact their lives on many levels: musically, intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. More than just an enriching experience, singing is fundamental to music education and to the acquisition of musical skills. Therefore, confidence in using one’s singing voice and in working with student voices is core to the skillset of effective music educators. Without effective teachers, a student’s experience of singing is likely to be less than positive or non-existent. Evidence gathered by the National Review of Music Education (Pascoe et al., 2005) suggests that both the support for and quality of vocal music in Australian schools is presently poor and inconsistent. The Review further suggests that school music teachers may have a fear of singing. International studies demonstrate that Australia is following world trends and that school singing in much of the developed Western world is in a state of crisis. The aim of this exploratory, mixed-method study, is to investigate factors that enhance or detract from teacher skills and knowledge in working with adolescent voices. In particular, the current skills and knowledge possessed by secondary school music teachers are examined and juxtaposed with those required to work effectively in vocal teaching. Methods of data collection used in this study include: a survey of 238 secondary school music teachers; semi -structured interviews with a panel of twenty experts in adolescent voice pedagogy; and an action research project involving the professional development of a sample of sixteen secondary school music teachers. The results of this study demonstrate that a gap exists between being qualified to teach music in Australian secondary schools and being competent and confident to work with adolescent voices. Although many teachers have positive opinions about the value and importance of singing, they are likely to be products of a musical education that had little emphasis on singing. Their lack of a background in singing is compounded by the fact that many teachers feel they received little guidance and training during their pre-service teacher education in how to work with voices. Consequently, a disconnect occurs when teachers try to apply what they know and what they believe about singing to their day-to-day, lesson-by-less on teaching. In this study, professional development in singing is shown to be effective in addressing this gap, when this development is rich in multiple types of learning, including: factual learning; experiential learning; observational learning and collaborative learning. Professional development is also shown to have a positive impact on music teacher identity and self-efficacy. This study has implications for the pre-service teacher education and professional development of secondary school music teachers in singing. It reasserts the primary role of singing in effective music education and demonstrates that present inadequacies in school singing require a multi-faceted solution. This solution not only involves pre-service teacher education, but arrange of stake-holders, including: government policy-makers, universities, music teacher associations, and individual teachers. All have a role to play in ensuring that Australian students have access to a quality vocal education and that the current cycle of poverty which exists around school singing is broken.|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Type of Publication:||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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