Exploring teaching strategies of Turkish primary teachers in music education
Contemporary literature suggests that there is a growing body of research in music education, however, research on the teaching processes and effective teaching strategies of primary teachers in teaching music is highly limited and highlights the need for qualitative research in the pedagogy of music. Thus, with reference to music as one of the foundation subjects of the Turkish primary curriculum, this study aims to investigate primary teachers' teaching strategies in Turkish primary classrooms. In the study the 'qualitative' research approach was adopted in order to fulfil the aims and objectives of the study. The study was carried out in two state primary schools in Turkey. A total of six primary school teachers with different educational backgrounds participated in the study. As one of the research instruments, a semi-structured interview schedule was prepared and participant teachers were interviewed regarding their perceptions about music education and experiences in the classrooms. As a second means of data collection, classroom observation was used as an instrument. Each teacher was observed during their music lessons for a period of two hours (two lessons). The analysis of the qualitative data suggests that there are ranges of factors influencing teachers' music teaching activities in negative ways in classrooms. Negative factors influencing the classroom were found to come from the students, curriculum, lack of teacher competencies, inadequate facilities and resources for music education, limited support from parents, and the negative effects of audiovisual media. Data obtained from classroom observations reveal that although teachers employ a range of teaching strategies in music lessons, there is limited variety in the type of strategies used. In all the music classes similar practices could be seen. The findings suggest that in the field of music education teachers need more support in improving their pedagogical skills in teaching music as well as their technical skills in the subject. It is suggested that due to the lack of confidence and competence of primary teachers, music specialist teachers should be assigned to the task of delivering music curriculum. In addition, it is recommended that education faculties should take a more active role in training teachers, and more in-service training activities should be provided for teacher development in music education.