Effective curricula: teacher and young people

Post thirty-three in our (re)learning to teach music series. This is the second week responding to the tasks in chapter five in Learning to Teach Music in the Secondary School. This is week seven of the collaborative blogging. 

Vaughan Fleischfresser @VFleischfresser

Having revisited my two statements with the emergent curriculum in mind, I don’t believe my thinking has changed, nor do my statements need re-writing. I stated that an effective music curriculum for teachers should be focussed 100% on instilling a love and appreciation of music in each and every pupil. I likened it to a healthy, well-fertilised tree, comprising of many and varied branches full of leaves for exploration. Doing so prepares the curriculum to encourage, welcome, and grow from the meaning that comes from the interactions and connections made between the pupils, the music, and all that this entails.

I also stated that an effective music curriculum for young people should be interesting, engaging, active, challenging, and fun. I also likened it to a tree, however this time from the perspective of the pupils interacting with the healthy, well-fertilised tree. Just as when young people interact with a tree, there are many different ways of doing so, many different paths that can be taken, and at different speeds. It can also be done individually, in groups, or a combination of the two. And, how the tree is tackled one day will vary greatly to the next. The interactions with the tree, and those climbing it at the same time, form their own stories which help young people to grow and learn. An effective music curriculum should be the same, and to be so, it needs to take account of all that discussed within the emergent curriculum section of the chapter.

If you tell your pupils the exact way they need to climb a tree, the exact path they need to take, the exact amount of time they have to do so, and that they’ll be rated when they get to the top, it’s more than likely that many of them won’t want to climb the tree at all, and who can blame them. For me, this is also the case for any music curriculum. An effective music curriculum provides a solid base on which the pupils can interact, interpret, question, create, grow, discuss, disagree, and put their own stamp on things. This takes a lot of preparation and flexibility on the part of the teacher, however in the long run, everyone should have the best chance at gaining a meaningful love and appreciation of music.

David House @House_dg

An effective music curriculum for teachers should enable coverage of a range of musical styles, features and content in a carefully sequenced, interactive and efficient manner which ensures progression to be monitored over time but which also has scope to incorporate the development of the interests and abilities of students.

An effective music curriculum for young people should enable them to encounter music of many styles whilst moving them to increasingly deeper levels of musical understanding over time, whilst at the same time building on their existing interests and abilities.

Ewan McIntosh @ETMcINTOSH

I think the only changes I would make to the two statements which I’ve put in quotation marks due to Twitter’s poor text formatting choices. An effective music curriculum for teachers should allow the to teach music well and help them challenge students to develop their own musical skills and creative ideas ‘thorough collaborative discussion and planning with students.’ It should let teachers express their own personal likes and dislikes with regards to music and allow them to develop their own musicianship through teaching.

An effective music curriculum for young people should help develop their understanding of the unique language of music. It should also encourage creativity through an emphasis on practical work, allowing young people to develop their skills, allow time for expressing and justifying opinions, along with giving constructive feedback to one another. ‘Young people should be involved in collaborative discussion over curriculum planning.’ It should provoke thoughtful responses to the differences that exist between styles and over time, and look at how they are being combined today.

Steven Berryman @steven_berryman

An effective music curriculum for teachers enables teachers to make the best use of their expertise, musical enthusiasms and interests to create coherent, purposeful and progressive learning for all young people across all years. There is flexibility and space; room for creativity and opportunity to respond and react to work as it develops. All learners are involved; the choices made in the curriculum represent the community of pupils well, and all feel welcome in the classroom and feel represented in the music explored. 

An effective music curriculum for young people provides space for their interests and backgrounds to be acknowledged, whilst providing rich and engaging content that enables all learners to develop a range of musical skills including singing, playing/performing, creating and purposeful listening. Young people will feel they are discovering the unknown, and will feel inspired by the connections the curriculum makes with their lives outside of school and the lives of others past and present. 

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