Development and application of a framework for observing problem solving by teachers and students in music
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The development of problem solving capabilities is an essential part of intellectual independence, yet the nature of problem solving in music instruction has not been investigated systematically. The purposes of the current study were to describe the process of problem solving in the context of music learning and to elucidate the relationship between teacher behavior and learners' active participation in solving musical and technical problems. I analyzed approximately 43 hours of private and small-group lessons taught by five internationally-renowned artist-teachers in music. I also analyzed in greater detail 161 rehearsal frames (intervals of instructional time devoted to definable proximal goals) excerpted from recorded lessons by describing the behaviors of teachers and students that led to productive learning outcomes. The process of problem solving was found to comprise five components: establish goals, evaluate performance, conceive and consider options, generalize and apply principles, and decide and act. In assessing the extent of teachers' and students' involvement in problem-solving, I found that teachers promoted change-effecting behaviors in learners by instigating the pursuit of a goal, and then prompting learners to assume responsibility for one or more of the subsequent problem-solving components. In this way these teachers not only brought about change in learners' performance, but also structured ways for learners to practice bringing about change in their own performance.