Music Teacher Education
My goal as a music teacher educator is to prepare preservice teachers for success in P–12 schools through inquiry-based, learner-centered experiences built on strong foundations of content area knowledge. I invite students to integrate new information with prior knowledge to construct their own, unique understandings as they problem solve in a variety of musical contexts.
I prioritize the ongoing examination of my practice through anti-racist lenses and the use of inclusive, culturally responsive approaches. In an effort to keep my practice fresh and responsive, I ask students enrolled in my courses to complete an anonymous five-question formative feedback tool each week called the Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ). Also, for those students who are reluctant to ask questions in front of me and their peers during class, I provide an opportunity to post anonymous questions and comments via a web-based text channel during each class session. By responding honestly and openly to formative student feedback via the CIQ and anonymous text channel, I work toward being more critically reflective, responsive, and accountable to students while demonstrating how they can do the same in their own classrooms.
While building positive relationships with students, I learn about their needs and expectations. I then design learning experiences that explore their questions. I try to honor students’ backgrounds and cultures through the thoughtful selection of materials, guest speakers, teaching partners, and authentic project-based learning opportunities. Selected class meetings are reserved to explore topics, materials, and resources suggested by students. Not all students have the same familiarity and comfort with democratic classroom methodologies like these, so I take care to meet all students where they are in terms of their preferred learning and engagement styles.
During my own secondary teaching career, I developed a democratic and culturally responsive approach to ensemble-based pedagogy that provided middle and high school students with increased ownership when choosing repertoire and making interpretive choices. By sharing this innovative approach with preservice teachers, I ask initial certification students to consider alternative teaching methods that emancipate the learner, increase student engagement, and make space for willing students to share their life experiences and cultural backgrounds. I invite preservice teachers to collaborate and share resources while developing their own understandings of social justice, inquiry, and critical reflection toward a vision for the future of music education.