Doctor of Philosophy
The purpose of this study was to identify factors which impede or facilitate teacher initiated changes to practice, and the ways in which these factors were strategically navigated by secondary school music educators employing methods associated with popular music education [PME] and/or informal music pedagogy [IMP]. The research was framed using a theoretical framework informed by Bourdieu’s (2000) concept of ‘hysteresis’ and Schmidt’s (2020) concept of ‘policy knowhow’. This served to highlight the dialectic relationship between the beliefs, values, agency and dispositions of individuals, and the presence of complex policy networks across macro, meso, and micro levels.
The research utilised a multiple case study design grounded in the qualitative research paradigm to explore the experiences, behaviours, and dispositions of music educators who previously employed formal pedagogical methods, and now consistently use methods associated with PME/IMP in their practice. Three Australian schools in the state of Victoria served as cases, with seven music educators (n=7), and two principals (n=2) serving as research participants (N=9). Data were collected via semi-structured interviews with participants, the observation of the classroom practices of music teachers, the creation of researcher journals/memos, the analysis of school documents, and arts based methods. Data were coded using Hatch’s (2002) inductive coding methods, and analysed using Yin’s (2014) theoretical replication strategy.
The study identified seven factors which served as barriers and/or facilitators to the introduction and consistent use of methods associated with PME/IMP; 1) experiencing hysteresis; 2) access to appropriate gear in appropriate spaces; 3) timetabling and school growth; 4) finding and compiling appropriate repertoire; 5) curriculum content; 6) school history; and 7) student engagement. Participants noted that they employed strategies Schmidt (2020a) associates with policy knowhow to navigate, act upon, make use of, and/or mitigate the impact of these barriers/facilitators to change. Findings suggest that holding a knowledge of the aims, goals and ideologies of stakeholders/administration, an understanding of the key processes necessary to prompt change in their schools, and dispositions towards policy entrepreneurship aided participants in actively fostering changes in their school which facilitated their use of methods associated with PME/IMP.
In response to these findings, a collection of web based resources which aim to assist other educators in navigating identified change, and develop their policy knowhow was created. These resources can be found at INERTIAeducation (link also in Appendix A).
Summary for Lay Audience
This study explored factors which both aid and impede a teacher's perceived ability to instate changes to their own practice, and to the school as a whole. It specifically explored factors which may have served as barriers and/or facilitators to the use of methods associated with popular musicianship within the classrooms of music teachers. The study aimed to identify what these factors might be, and the ways teachers use strategies to navigate them. In this sense, the ways in which teachers overcame the presence of factors which impede change, and made use of the presence of factors which help to facilitate change was of focus. This serves to help the academic field to better understand how teachers can develop the skills, knowledges and dispositions which help them perceive themselves as people able to prompt change, and help them to actively do so.
The study used a multiple case study design, in which I entered three Victorian high schools to collect data about the experiences, practices, and histories of seven music teachers. These teachers agreed to take part in interviews exploring their experiences in prompting changes to their practices, create drawings in response to specific questions, and have their classroom practice observed. The principals of two of these schools also agreed to be participants. They took part in an interview exploring how change is prompted in their schools, and created drawings in response to specific questions. These data were then collected and analysed for information about barriers/facilitators to change, and the ways in which teachers overcame/made use of them.
The study identified seven factors which aided or impeded teachers who wanted to use methods associated with popular music in their classrooms, they were; 1) feeling comfortable/uncomfortable when teaching using particular approaches; 2) having access to appropriate gear in appropriate spaces; 3) the speed with which the school’s population was growing, and the ways this informed when and where music classes were timetabled; 4) the ability to find and keep a record of popular music repertoire which is appropriate to be used in secondary school settings; 5) the content of the curriculum which Victorian teachers must follow; 6) the history and traditions of the school; and 7) the ways students responded to methods used in the music classroom.
The study also found that there were particular skills and knowledges that teachers used to foster changes to their own practice, and the school as a whole. They included; knowing what the aims, goals and ideals of principals, leadership team members, parents and students were; knowing the processes used to prompt change in their specific schools (including who to approach with proposals for change, and using existing processes related to budget requests), and seeing change as possible despite barriers to change being present.
In response to these findings, a collection of web-based resources aiming to help other educators to navigate these barriers/facilitators to change were created. They can be found at INERTIAeducation (link also in Appendix A).
Simpson, Rhiannon, "Changing Minds And Changing Practice: Barriers And Facilitators To The Use Of Methods Associated With Popular Musicianship, And Strategies Music Teachers Use To Navigate Them" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9890.
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