Music in the Year 8 Classroom: An Action Research Project
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The number of students electing to study music at the Senior Level in Queensland State High Schools has declined over recent years. Year 8 is the last time that students experience music lessons before being faced with subject choices. This study investigates the year 8 music program - its content and delivery. What can be done to improve music teaching in year 8? How can we present experiences at this level that will stimulate students' interest; improve their knowledge and skills; and develop students' aesthetic sensitivity to the art of music? This study involved conducting an action research project in a year 8 music class. This was done in collaboration with the classroom music teacher and her class of 25 students. The cyclical process as described by Zuber-Skerritt - acting, observing, reflecting, planning - was adopted. The study aimed: (a) to document positive experiences that could be used in the year 8 music classroom; (b) to stimulate new interest in the studying of senior music; (c) to discover ways to encourage music teachers to become reflective practitioners with a view to improving their practice; (d) to offer an action research model that other music teachers could implement in their classroom. The data collection involved the keeping of journals by the teacher and researcher; recorded interviews with the teacher and students; videos and photographs of the class; as well as interviews with other year 8 music teachers. The study identified a negative attitude by music teachers to the teaching of year 8 music. The dominant theme being taught at this level is Pop Music with a foundation unit being the starting point. Year 8 students also revealed a negative attitude to music lessons. This research project has demonstrated that it is possible to set up a program which engages year 8 students in music making and provides them with worthwhile learning experiences. However, at the end of the project, there was not a significant increase in the number of students electing to study music at the senior level. The study also set up a model for action research that could be adopted by other music teachers in their classrooms. The results of reflective practice employed by the researcher and the music teacher provided positive attitudes for other music teachers and encouragement for others to implement this practice in their classroom. Further studies are needed to involve other music teachers in reflective practice; collaboration in action research (especially in the year 8 classroom); and also the implementation of the new syllabus that will have a positive effect on the future of the subject of music and a positive effect on students' attitudes to the music subject.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Cognition, Language and Special Education
Item Access Status
high school students