Transmission, replication and transformation in music education : case studies in practice in an Irish primary school context
This study investigates how generalist primary teachers conceive of music, how they make sense of a prescribed music curriculum and how they teach it in the course of their professional practice in an institutional setting. Following an overview of the study in chapter one, the literature review is presented. Chapter two describes the framing of music education in the Irish primary school context. In chapter three, factors influencing teacher practice are identified as official policy, the ethos of the school and teacher beliefs. In addition, and taking a multi-faceted view of knowledge, the relationship between formative experiences and practice is examined. It is argued that teacher knowledge cannot be separated from the context in which it is learned and used. A synthesis of key points is presented in chapter four. The design and methodology are outlined in chapter five. A qualitative approach was adopted where interview and observation methods were used to gain access to the orientation to practice and to the curriculum emphasis of five respondents. Data from the fieldwork were organised into categories from which, in the case of each respondent, an interpretative account of their practice was compiled and is presented in chapter six. Analysis of the data is presented in chapter seven. In the case of the five primary teachers, the study has confirmed that, whilst there are commonalities among the respondents regarding transmission of aspects of performance and music literacy, there are differences too. It is suggested that differences in teacher practice can be defined in terms of the values teachers attribute to music in their own lives and in the lives of their pupils. In chapter eight, conclusions and implications for further research are presented. Significantly, the study has provided a framework for research on practice in which commonalities and differences may be examined.