An examination of the integration of traditional core content areas in a kindergarten music classroom : a music specialist’s rationale, understandings, and perceptions

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2011-05

Authors

Andrews, Stephanie Kuna

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Abstract

The purpose of this research study was to examine the instructional strategies, rationale, understandings, and perceptions of an elementary music specialist, Michelle Roberts, regarding the integration of traditional core content areas (TCCAs) in the kindergarten music classroom. This study sought to scrutinize the characteristics and details of Michelle’s teaching through Elliot Eisner’s notions of educational connoisseurship and criticism and through his conceptualization of educational research and practice as art. A number of early childhood educators and researchers have stressed the importance and pedagogical efficacy of using interdisciplinary, holistic instructional approaches with young children. Such approaches have the potential to create space for a humanizing education in the early childhood classroom.

This qualitative research study was conducted at a public elementary school in a large, urban district in Texas, between September 18, 2009 and January 26, 2010. The participant was Michelle Roberts, an elementary music specialist with nearly 25 years of teaching experience. Data sources included classroom observations, examination of instructional artifacts, and semi-structured interviews.

Following analysis of the data, three conclusions concerning the music specialist’s rationale, understandings, and perceptions regarding the integration of traditional core content areas and kindergarten music instruction were drawn. First, Michelle’s rationale, understandings, and perceptions regarding the integration of the TCCAs and kindergarten music instruction were grounded in her wealth of teacher knowledge and skills and in her beliefs regarding teaching. Second, Michelle’s rationale for the integration of the TCCAs and kindergarten music instruction was that it allowed her to educate her students in the most fitting manner possible and that it made learning “solid” or “a complete picture” for the students. Third, Michelle’s perceptions and understandings regarding the integration of the TCCAs and kindergarten music instruction were grounded in three beliefs: (a) the integration of the TCCAs and music instruction is beneficial for young children; (b) it is important to maintain the integrity of the discipline of music when integrating instruction in the TCCAs and kindergarten music instruction; and (c) music cannot be taught in isolation from other content areas.

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