Evaluating Graduate Education and Transcending Biases in Music Teachers' Professional Development

Lia Laor

Abstract


Research concerning professional development and its contribution to the formation of professional identity is prevalent in both general and music education. However, its implications for music educators in the context of graduate programs for music education are seldom discussed. This mixed-methods case study examined experienced music teachers' perceptions during and after participation in a two-year teacher-college graduate program for music education. These M.Ed. students (n=22) underwent semi-structured interviews after Year 1 and completed closed and open questionnaires after Years 1 and 2, assessing students' evaluation of the experienced curriculum and of its contribution to their professional development, thereby eliciting biases regarding the characteristics of music teachers’professional identities. Content analysis of qualitative data yielded four global categories: music versus education, research relevance for music educators, desired curriculum, and community of learners. Qualitative and quantitative results revealed students' criticism of the experienced curriculum. Regarding the program's contribution (quantitative results), students reported developing more positive attitudes toward the pursuit of music education and research but reported only minimally changing their traditionally negative views about the relevance of research and educational theory to their training. Although students' behavioral practice changed significantly during graduate studies (quantitative results), changes did not achieve conscious awareness (thus were not evident in the qualitative and some quantitative results). Outcomes suggest that resolving the traditional conflict between the roles of educator and musician, and acceptance of the researcher role within one's multifaceted professional identity, may foster teachers' inquisitiveness and critical ability and may lead music educators to join in establishing a community that more unbiasedly espouses both music education and empirical inquiry.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v3i1.517

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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