DETERMINING THE PERCEIVED EFFECTIVENESS OF A COLLEGE MUSIC METHODS COURSE FOR ELEMENTARY EDUCATION MAJORS BY GRADUATES OF THE PROGRAM - Debbie L. Shelley Public

The purpose of this study was to investigate the music teaching responsibility and attitudes of a selected group of recent classroom teacher graduates, and determine the relation of those duties and attitudes to the content of their music methods course. In other words, to what extent are in-service classroom teachers using skills and concepts taught from their music methods course? This information will enable instructors of Music 241 and similar courses to offer instruction that will more effectively meet the needs of pre-service elementary classroom teachers. The questionnaire was developed by the research and investigated the following questions: (a) Why are teachers using/not using music in their classrooms?, (b) What is the classroom teacher’s relationship with the music specialist?, (c) What kinds of music equipment/materials are available to the classroom teacher?, (d) To what degree are classroom teachers implementing/integrating Music 241 Activities, (e) To what degree does the course build/improve music skill confidence? And (f) How can the course “Music for the Elementary Classroom Teacher” be improved to benefit future elementary classroom teachers? Graduate of The Pennsylvania State University’s Elementary Education Program, who now have classroom teaching experience, can provide a valuable perspective of their pre-service music methods course. The population was chosen from a list generated from the Penn State Alumni Association. A questionnaire was sent to 201 alumni, who took Music 241 between Spring 1998 and Fall 1991 and are currently teaching at the elementary level. A total of 113 (56%) questionnaires were completed that were usable. Findings indicated: (a) Teacher used music because it was fun for the students. Teachers did not use music because of time/schedule constraints, (b) less than 40% of teachers shared, collaborated, or sought help from the music specialist, (c) tapes, tape players, records and record players were the most frequently used materials, (d) classroom teachers were using MUS 241 Activities infrequently, however Rhythm Activities were used more frequently than Tonal/Singing Voice Activities. The most frequently used music activities that were not specifically addressed in MUS 241 were: listening to records/recordings, singing to begin/end the day, writing/creating songs/rap, creative movement/dance, singing (other to begin/end the day) and playing instruments, (e) teachers became “somewhat confident” in leading the class in a familiar song and learning simple songs on their own. Playing the piano and autoharp received “low confidence” ratings. The course as a whole received a mean score of 3.09, “useful” (on a 5 point scale) and (f) the course can be improved by presenting more integration with other content-oriented lessons, teaching more upper elementary level appropriate songs/games/activities, teaching more current/applicable/thematic songs, giving more piano instruction/practice time and dropping autoharp instruction.

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