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Title:What preservice music teachers learn about diversity during student teaching
Author(s):Fiorentino, Matthew C.
Director of Research:Barrett, Janet R
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Barrett, Janet R
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dixson, Adrienne; Kruse, Adam; Silvers, Michael
Department / Program:Music
Discipline:Music Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Student Teaching
Abstract:Music teacher educators have been called to work toward diversity, an ambiguous term. Preparing teachers to work toward diversity and more importantly, equity, requires action in every aspect of teacher preparation. Because of its professional and personal significance, student teaching has been implicated as a site for change (Abramo & Campbell, 2016; Conway, 2002, 2012; Draves, 2013). To what extent are student teachers prepared to address issues related to diversity and equity? How do student teachers conceive of diversity during such a complex experience? How do they learn to respond to student diversity in equitable ways? Paine (1990) offers four possible orientations toward diversity: individualistic, categorical, contextual, and pedagogical. In this multiple case study (Thomas, 2016), I examined how four student teachers’ orientations toward diversity (Paine, 1990) changed during semester-long field experiences. I explored the ways that cooperating teachers, the edTPA—a standardized evaluation of the preparation to teach, and school placements influenced the participants. Data collection took place in Illinois during the fall of 2018 and included five observations and follow-up interviews with each participant as well as interviews with the cooperating teachers. The participants taught general music, string, and choral classes at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The student teachers discussed a variety of what they named as “typical” or even “stereotypical” categories of diversity; conversations with the participants about P-12 student diversity were dominated by discussions of age, grade level, and musical abilities. The student teachers mostly viewed diversity as individualistic, randomly occurring, though personally significant (Paine, 1990). These views were associated with normative responses to difference including issues of classroom management and lesson planning in which the student teachers focused mostly on the unsubstantiated category of learning styles diversity. Furthermore, the participants were surprised when P-12 students discussed race or sexuality. Notably, one student teacher did articulate diversity as socially constructed and significant. With mentorship during her first placement, this student teacher built relationships with her P-12 students that helped her respond to their diverse needs and strengths. Broadly, the student teacher learned about the salience of social forces such as race and racism directly from her students and through reflection with the cooperating teacher. These experiences led the student teacher to construct more complex understandings of diversity and to develop equity-oriented pedagogical practices. However, during her second placement, the importance of these practices waned as completing the edTPA overshadowed her contextual orientation toward student diversity. Meeting the learning needs of diverse students in inequitable schooling contexts (Banks et al., 2004; Cochran-Smith, 2004) requires discussing diversity, privilege, and oppression explicitly. Implications from this study include a need for preservice educators to be challenged by supervisors and mentors to apply, test, and revise their conceptions of student diversity during the complex, formative, and capstone experience of student teaching. In the final chapter, I describe how music teacher educators can make student teaching a site of action toward equity and justice.
Issue Date:2020-05-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Matthew C. Fiorentino
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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