Ten year follow-up investigation of preservice generalist primary teachers' background and confidence in teaching music
Russell-Bowie, D. (2010). Ten year follow-up investigation of preservice generalist primary teachers' background and confidence in teaching music. Australian Journal of Music Education, 2, 76-86.
This study looked at pre-service students’ perceptions of their background in formal music education and their confidence in teaching music lessons, with the goal of understanding the role that background and confidence play in promoting music education by general classroom teachers. Researchers surveyed 138 pre-service generalist teachers in Australia in two university classes in 1998 and in 2008 and gathered data about the correlation between students’ perceived music background and their confidence teaching music.
Results indicated that pre-service teachers entering the course had little formal music education and lacked confidence in teaching music lessons, however about half of them felt positive about teaching music lessons. These results are compared with current and past research as well as with the findings from a previous study done by the same researchers, which found that students in the 1998 cohort had a stronger formal musical background than those in the recent study. Further research suggestions are considered along with suggestions for addressing these challenges in teacher education courses.
Through literature and examination of data from 1998 and 2008, researchers conclude that pre-service teachers’ prior music background is a significant factor in building their self-confidence in teaching music education. When pre-service teachers felt confident as students of a subject they were more apt to be comfortable teaching that subject. Because of this, the researchers studied the general music background of undergraduate and graduate study participants, learning that:
- Undergraduate respondents from the 1998 study generally had more formal music training and higher confidence teaching music than graduate respondents from the 2008 study.
- While graduate study participants had less formal music training and lower music confidence, they perceived themselves to have a good background in music and felt positive about teaching music at higher levels than expected.