Exploring the sustainability of a whole school music education initiative: A case study of situated teacher education.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    In recent years there has been an international move away from traditional ‘In-Service’ training events towards a more ‘situated’ model of professional development in the workplace. Wenger (2000) suggests that the social and relational context in which learning occurs- ‘relationships of collaboration’-are significant. Teacher education becomes an act of participating in a multi-faceted ‘social learning system’ within the authentic activity, context, and culture of the school. This paper shares findings from research undertaken on a whole school project designed to enhance the engagement of generalist teachers in effective musical practice.

    A case study undertaken in one English primary school, now in its third year, explores this approach. An external organisation which offered a structured approach to the development of teachers’ musical skills, knowledge and attitudes was engaged to lead the initiative. Research into this situated form of teacher education is being conducted by a music teacher educator at the local partnership university.
    The project has been successful in increasing the confidence and ability of all 12 involved teachers to engage in effective musical practice, and research aims to identify the key factors involved and to investigate the sustainability of the process. New teachers are joining the school. How can the school continue effective professional development now that the initial externally facilitated initiative has ended?
    Findings presented earlier (ISME, 2014) identified that the process of ‘Feedback in Action’ given by the programme advisory teacher working directly with teachers and pupils in the classroom was an important part of the process. This ‘dialogue in the moment’ enabled co-construction of a repertoire of musical and pedagogical interactions. Ongoing research is exploring whether the original teachers are able to use a combination of coaching skills, new musical understanding and being attuned to the needs of both new colleagues and children to work alongside new teachers. Can this approach support the building of a sustainable musical practice development process?
    New data collection consists of semi-structured interviews and focus groups with staff and pupils, together with observations of teachers working ‘in-situ’ in their class music lessons. The school music specialist (deputy head) is observed and interviewed about taking on the role of advisory mentor with teachers to foster the post programme sustainability of teachers’ musical thinking and practice. Audio-clips of musical engagement will illustrate the presentation.
    Wenger, E (2000) Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems Organization, 05/2000, Volume 7, Issue 2 PP 228-242 SAGE
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Society of Music Educators 32nd World Conference, Glasgow,UK
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2016


    • music education primary generalist teacher education situated learning in-school training sustainability


    Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the sustainability of a whole school music education initiative: A case study of situated teacher education.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this