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Title:Music Education in Early Childhood Teacher Education: The Impact of a Music Methods Course on Pre-service Teachers' Perceived Confidence and Competence to Teach Music
Author(s):Vannatta-Hall, Jennifer E.
Director of Research:McPherson, Gary E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Thibeault, Matthew D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McPherson, Gary E.; Grant, Joe W.; Harwood, Eve E.
Department / Program:Music
Discipline:Music Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Music education
Early childhood
Teacher education
Pre-service training
Music training for generalists
Abstract:This study investigated the impact of a music methods course on pre-service early childhood teachers’ confidence and competence to teach music. Specifically, this investigation sought to determine if there was a significant change in participants’ perceived self-efficacy to teach music following the completion of a 15-week music methods course. This study illuminated environmental and intrapersonal influences on confidence and competence to teach music by examining the sources of self-efficacy (i.e., mastery experience, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological and affective states) within the context of a university music methods course for 41 early childhood pre-service teachers in which the researcher was also the course instructor. This study implemented an exploratory quantitative design, embedded within a teacher research paradigm. Priority was placed on quantitative collection and analysis, and a small narrative component was used to elaborate the quantitative results. Teacher research was employed as an enabling method in the creation, application and review of teaching a music methods course to early childhood pre-service teachers. Data collection instruments were developed and adapted from previous self-efficacy research to reflect the distinctive features of an early childhood music teacher education setting. Both the Music Background Survey and the Music Teaching Self-Efficacy Questionnaire obtained primarily quantitative data, while opened-ended comments, student reflections, and focus group interviews elicited narrative data. Changes in self-efficacy perception were revealed according to each source of self-efficacy. Results revealed a significant overall increase in student self-efficacy scores over time. The most influential source of self-efficacy beliefs was enactive mastery experience, exemplified by prior music experiences as well as independent teaching experiences throughout the semester. Vicarious experiences included observations of both a music specialist and peers teaching music. Verbal persuasion included feedback from both the course instructor and the children the students taught for their practicum. Finally, physiological and affective states were exemplified by participants’ music anxiety, and to a lesser degree, stress and fatigue. This research enhances the small base of music teaching self-efficacy research by building upon previous studies through an approach that focused on the sources of self-efficacy. Findings of this research suggest that it is possible to boost pre-service early childhood teachers’ confidence and competence to teach music over a single semester of study. In this sense, the results of the study demonstrate how important it is for pre-service generalists to develop the will (i.e., self-efficacy) and the skill (i.e., competence) to teach music if they are to develop the competencies needed to provide adequate music opportunities for their future students. Enhancing self-efficacy is the first step in helping generalists to develop the right blend of skills, knowledge and understandings necessary to teach music.
Issue Date:2010-08-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Jennifer Vannatta-Hall
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-08-20
Date Deposited:2010-08

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