UNDERGRADUATE MUSIC EDUCATION MAJOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH EXPERIENCES IN THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP MODEL
School reform, both for schools and universities in the United States, continues to be a leading agenda item in education. Successful restructuring in music teacher education will depend on the extent to which collaboration between school and university can integrate theory and practice in their own teaching situations. Townsend (2000) found that the value of significantly expanded early field experiences during teacher preparation, increased learning collegiality through cohort group learning experiences and benefitted the close alliance between school teachers and college faculty.
Conkling & Henry (2002) modeled partnerships after the Holmes Group (1990) Professional Development School (PDS) structure which served the best interests of pre-service music teachers. This model held promise because of its quadrant of learners, which includes teacher, professor, student, and child, in turn, fosters the PDS ideal of a democratic community of learning, research, and reform in which both parties are equally vested in the collaborative venture (Dixon and Ishler, 1992; Zeichner, 1992) and linked theory and practice (Henry, 2001). The implementation of the Professional Development Partnership (PDP) model, used in this study, presented an opportunity to examine differences in the traditional on-campus field experience course undergraduate music education majors completed as sophomores and the professional laboratory experience practicum course completed during their junior year.
The purpose of this study was to examine undergraduate music education major socialization and professional development through experiences in the university Professional Development Partnership (PDP) model. Participants (N = 11) were undergraduate music education majors at a private southern university enrolled in practicum in music education. Participants were interviewed to collect data regarding their thoughts, feelings, and emotions about teaching and learning, perception and temperament for teaching, the process of reflection on their own teaching in “actual” school settings, students’ identity and socialization as “music teacher” in the school setting, and their own resourcefulness to meet the needs of individual student learners in the classroom. Analysis of the data found common themes among subject responses, perceptions, and perspectives.
Results revealed that an immersion in the Professional Development Partnership (PDP) Laboratory School benefits participants in developing enhanced awareness of the responsibilities of teaching, role of the teacher, and that an immersion in the laboratory school experience yields benefits in mastering skills, competencies, and dispositions necessary to becoming a successful music teacher. While participants were most unsure of their mastery of lesson planning, implementing lessons, evaluation, and teacher-student relationships in the classroom, socialization through experiences in these settings appear to influence participants’ perception of their identity and role as music teacher.
Restructuring in music teacher education will depend on the extent to which collaboration between school and university can integrate theory and practice in their own teaching situations. Further refinement of the PDP model will cultivate more effective experiences that enable undergraduate music education majors to fulfill their potential as future music educators.