Checking in – The blog so far

Post forty in our (re)learning to teach music series. This is week eight of the collaborative blogging and today we pause before starting chapter seven to check in with how the blogging has gone so far. 

Mike Morgan @MikeMMusicED

I think the blogging process has been a great CPD process. I have read and researched articles I would say I didn’t have “time” to do, but having a focus allows me to make time to set aside 30mins a day to read. As I am currently redrafting our year 7 curriculum, it has allowed me to evaluate my own thinking and challenge my own perception. Theories of knowledge and curriculum design is something I am evaluating over the last few weeks of the school year before September. The new school year will be a challenging time. It’s difficult to predict what that will look like. Will we have full school? Phased return? Will the pupils be able to share instruments or even sing as a group. While these practical elements are difficult to predict and plan, I know I will refer back to these theoretical elements and have this part planned ready for the return of our pupils.

Vaughan Fleischfresser @VFleischfresser

This reflective blogging process has been one I’ll never forget. It has been informative, it has been timely, and it has been cathartic. I’ve been reminded of the paramount importance of reflecting, and building in the time to do so, which potentially poses the greatest challenge of all for teachers – finding the time to reflect. This blogging has coincided with being furloughed, therefore providing me – despite having two children under four – with the time and space needed to reflect. At first it provided me with the professional focus and impetus that I needed. It consolidated my thinking and laid bare some areas where I need to invest even more time in ensuring my pupils develop a love and knowledge ‘of’ music. As the time has progressed, though, it has reminded me of why I became a teacher in the first place, and the deep love I have for music and for sharing this love with pupils. As I compose this, Blog 40, my writing is becoming tinged with a certain sense of sadness and loss, one which will continue until schools return in Scotland this coming August. So, when I do return in August, I’m considering how I can ensure I teach every lesson as if it could be the last for my pupils and me. Not every pupil continues to study music for their entire school journey, nor beyond it. Therefore, what am I going to leave them with. Hopefully, well not hopefully, I’m going to ensure they leave with a love and knowledge ‘of’ music. How I achieve that is up to my relationship with music, their relationship with music, my relationship with them, and their relationship with me. That is what’s of the utmost importance. When I do step back in the classroom, I’ll be considering how I best bring these vital relationships together to form the best possible musical relationship for each and every one of my pupils. This blogging will have played a major role in this relationship building.

David House @House_dg

Since starting this blogging process, and a huge thank you to Steven for initiating it, my thinking has perhaps not changed: rather I become more thoughtful and reflective via the need to meet daily deadlines. It has been excellent to read thoughts, reflections and ideas of so many colleagues – and to note new links to so many music, educational and music education people. It is a great example of what social media contact has to offer. Since joining Twitter five years ago I have been amazed at the wealth of wisdom and experience freely offered – much else can be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt – but the advice I was given, namely to get involved in order to stay up to date and in touch, was excellent [I’d now add this to a previous post about good advice]. I would say that my thinking has been challenged and with that in mind I am planning for September in a much more inclusive, open, online-savvy, sequential and experiential way.

Ewan McIntosh @ETMcINTOSH

I think that reading what other peoples thoughts on the various questions and activities posed to us has been very useful to show that I am still on the right track in regards to my thinking about musical teaching and learning and also how varied good and excellent practice can be within the music teaching profession. It has been interesting to re-read various things that I read over 15 years ago when training and how lots of the pedagogy in the various texts was looked down upon by the teacher training I took part in. It has been nice as a solo teacher in a department of 1 to see the views of other teachers and when schools fully reopen to all pupils and teaching gets back to normal in the future, I would like to spend more time discussing things with colleagues from other schools, as the process of reading their views has helped focused mine and see where easy changes can be made to both my teaching and also some schemes of work to improve the musical learning of my pupils.

Steven Berryman @steven_berryman

It was my day at Buckingham working with the trainees that got me thinking about how valuable the conversation about work in the classroom can be. The ISC blog allowed me to write a post about the process in May, and the post is here. I’m so grateful to my colleagues who have persisted with the journey; we’ve made it through six chapters when it was assumed by some it was an ambitious task to attempt to blog the Learning to Teach Music book. We’ve been increasingly selective with the tasks – to keep momentum and to avoid those tasks that were too grounded in the classroom when we’re mostly working remotely and can’t do what we’d want to do. The honesty and generosity with the sharing has been inspiring. Whilst our cohort has distilled to four/five regular contributors I hope we can look ahead to having some more rejoin or join as we continue to reflect on what we read. There is a space for conversations about classroom teaching that are instigated and maintained by classroom teachers. I hope we keep it up, and I hope there will be ways to engage more widely and consider how our blogging might lead to something of benefit to all. 

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