Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum Studies (PhD)
Assessment in the arts
The purpose of my inquiry is to learn more about how young children learn to play the piano through examining my own teaching practices. By using autoethnography (Adams, Jones, & Ellis, 2014; Bartleet & Ellis, 2009; Bochner & Ellis, 2016; Chang, 2008; Ellis, 2004, 2009; Ellis & Bochner, 2000; Jones, Adams, & Ellis, 2013; Reed-Danahay, 1997; Richardson, 2000) – as a creative non-fictional form of storytelling – my intent is (1) to illustrate a number of new, emerging perspectives and practices in piano pedagogy for young children through creative non-fiction stories; (2) to learn more about how my lived experiences of be(com)ing a piano teacher-researcher inform that practice; and (3) to determine the importance and value of piano teachers’ autoethnographies in the development of a piano pedagogy for young beginner learners and piano teacher education.Throughout the dissertation, I also include a series of photographs and videos to convey my students’ unique, individual ways of learning to play the piano. The mixed forms of visual, musical, and textual data capture how we have been exploring music and piano playing with one another. They are my metaphorical fragments of my life stories – of teaching, writing, and researching – concerning what it means to be with young children when exploring music and piano playing. Supplementary materials available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/64423
This dissertation is an a/r/tographic inquiry in which I explore how songs and stories about songwriting can serve as a means for theorizing new ways of conducting research in music education. I a/r/tographically braid music, lyrics, scholarship and research, autoethnography, and other creative analytical practices to demonstrate how songs and memories can be used as interpretive texts for understanding artistic identity and the nature of being a musician. Through a collaged and multi-modal method of inquiry, I show how music and its renderings, i.e., recordings, lyrics, videos, memories, and lived shared expressions (e.g., performance) can hold and uncover new ‘knowings’ about music making, the self, and society. Using a bricolaged métissage approach, I explore how and why the ethnographic study of autobiographical material and artistic renderings through (and about) song can broaden understandings of the lived experiences of musicians, music learners, and teachers. Supported by Pinar’s re-conceptualist theory of currere, hermeneutic epistemologies, and praxial approaches to music education, this dissertation exemplifies performative autoethnography as research through music-making. I ultimately arrive at two interwoven outcomes: 1) song may function simultaneously as the method, results, and interpretation of research; and 2) the lived experiences and ‘musicings’ of musicians may be considered as a form of artful scholarship. Digital audio and video files of six original songs are attached to this dissertation not only as data in support of the research, but also as a representation and report of findings through storied/scholarly renderings in lyric, prose, image, and music. Supplementary video material is available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/51863
This thesis is an exploration of the contributions of contemporary theories in film and literacy with the purpose of understanding how those theories inform an arts-based researcher in education. Additionally, further insights are drawn from cognitive, social, and neurosciences with the purpose of broadening the scope of understanding that stretches across multiple disciplines wherein film and literacy education is found. By engaging in a wide exploration across multiple fields of knowledge, this thesis shows the extent to which the general belief of the incommensurability between the arts, philosophy, cognitive, social and neurosciences has impacted negatively on education. It is believed, however, that knowledge gained through the study of contemporary theories in film and literacy, which is founded upon the philosophical, psychological, and sociological, may achieve greater clarity and insight when framed within the scope of advanced studies in neurosciences. With the interweaving of autobiographical accounts, explorations in the theoretical and experimental lead to a renewed understanding of film, arts, and literacy pedagogy. Finally, it is believed that understanding the convergence of the brain’s cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor functions and the primacy of movement, is pivotal to understanding the complex issues of brain-body-mind that range from consciousness to learning.
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education has been globally recognized by educators and researchers as the most exceptional example of quality early education (Gardner, 1999; Kantrowitz & Wingert, 1991). However, within this approach there is a strong emphasis on the visual arts that in turn has diminished opportunities for children to participate in music activities. Andress (1998) was the first to expose the lack of music in this approach, and her concern was echoed by Matthews (2000), O’Hagin (2007), Vuckovic & Nyland (2010), and Smith (2011). As a result of this void, the present investigation explores the philosophies and practices of the Reggio Emilia approach within a kindergarten to grade seven elementary school music program. Specifically, I examine the role of the child, the role of the teacher, the environment as a third teacher, multiple forms of knowing, the role of documentation, and the Atelier.I use an autoethnographic approach to implement, reflect, and document this experience. I not only discover that Reggio Emilia can be successful within a music classroom setting, but argue that these philosophies and practices are of great importance to understanding new ways in which music educators can benefit from this approach beyond the scope of traditional programs and approaches to music with children. By adapting this approach to a music setting in grades higher than the early childhood years, my research extends the current Reggio literature. I not only present my struggles during this experience, but also explain how to supersede challenges and draw from the strengths of this approach that were exposed within the scope of my music program.
AbstractThis study explored how music could be used as a language of expression forunderstanding multiplication for grade three children. Using a/r/tography as a researchmethodology, a class of grade three students, their teacher, and I worked together on a coemergentinquiry project to create musical compositions that conveyed meanings aboutmultiplication to the listener.The design of this a/r/tographic inquiry involves the components of the cyclicalInquiry Process used by the International Baccalaureate program, as well as the ReggioEmilia’s approach, known as Progettazione, which involves emergent, child centered projectwork.Through my research I offer credence to the area of interdisciplinary studies at theearly childhood level. Such studies support the development of new notions and forms ofmusic instruction—created by and for children—that advance both music and relatedlearning. As is evident in my account, I demonstrated how music (1) can be taught in and ofitself, (2) can be thought of as a medium (i.e., a “language,” as in the Reggio definition) forthe expression of concepts in multiplication, (3) is instrumental in fostering knowledge ofboth musical and mathematical concepts, and (4) when linked with mathematics, can showlearning transfer and access related learning between the two disciplines. This studycontributes to on-going scholarly conversations concerning the present structure and role ofthe music teacher (and other “specialists”) in our schools.