Towards Responsive Professional Development for Singapore Music Teachers. Phase 1: Mapping the Landscape

Project Number
OER 02/14 AA

Project Duration
July 2014 - March 2017

Status
Completed

Abstract
Recent research suggests that most music teachers in Singapore are not adequately prepared to teach the music school curriculum (Lum & Dairianathan, 2013). This constitutes a serious concern for the Ministry of Education (MOE) given that music is one of the key focus areas in pursuing the goal of holistic education. If music teachers lack basic musical knowledge and pedagogical skills, they will encounter difficulties in helping students achieve curricular objectives. To address this situation, several Professional Development (PD) initiatives have been put in place by different PD providers. This project seeks to contribute to their efforts to improve Singapore music education. We bring to the fore the notion of “responsive teacher professional development”. Our fundamental idea is that for PD to be effective and meaningful for teachers, it needs to be designed in response to their needs, motivations, prior knowledge and beliefs. We acknowledge that there are multiple aspects that need to be considered when designing PD, and that teachers might not been aware of all the alternatives available to foster their learning. However, based on our constructivist orientation, we think that teachers’ own “voices” should be taken as one of the principal starting points. This study focuses on Singapore primary music teachers (both qualified and non-qualified). We propose to obtain baseline data on teachers’ prior experiences within PD settings, instructional approaches, and needs and suggestions concerning further PD opportunities. We will begin investigating teachers’ perceptions, self-reported learning, epistemological beliefs, and levels of satisfaction in previously completed PD activities (seminars, workshops, courses and/or programs). This will be accomplished via a survey distributed to all music teachers. Subsequently, we will analyze the quality of teaching of a small subset of teachers while implementing a regular unit of instruction. Finally, through in-depth interviews, we will investigate teachers’ views regarding how PD could better help them in improving specific aspects of their teaching. The proposed study is part of a long-term research programme. The outcomes of this study, together with prior relevant literature, will be used in a subsequent phase as the basis for the design and implementation of responsive PD activities, in partnership with existing PD providers and schools. Our ultimate aim is to enhance music teacher PD at the local level, which will in turn inform future policy directions in Singapore. Our research will also contribute to PD theory and practice at the international level through publications and conference presentations. in-depth interviews, we will investigate teachers’ views regarding how PD could better help them in improving specific aspects of their teaching. The proposed study is part of a long-term research programme. The outcomes of this study, together with prior relevant literature, will be used in a subsequent phase as the basis for the design and implementation of responsive PD activities, in partnership with existing PD providers and schools. Our ultimate aim is to enhance music teacher PD at the local level, which will in turn inform future policy directions in Singapore. Our research will also contribute to PD theory and practice at the international level through publications and conference presentations.

Funding Source
NIE

Related Projects