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Title: An investigation into the nature and quality of children's experiences of group composing in the secondary classroom based on the concept of flow
Author: Preston, Catherine Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 8313
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2010
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In music lessons in UK schools pupils are encouraged to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in activities that are designed to integrate three broad areas; performance, composing and listening. Lessons are structured to include group work which has become the norm in many secondary classrooms. Collaborative musical participation generally involves pupils working together unsupervised for extended periods and gives them a high level of responsibility and autonomy to achieve the set objectives. Although many pupils have developed the musical skills, they are not always given enough guidance in how to apply them in collaborative contexts. At the same time, very little empirical research investigates the effectiveness of group work. This thesis investigates pupils' experiences of group composing applying the concept of flow. Flow, also termed optimal experience, is 'a subjective state that people report when they are completely involved in something to the point of losing track of time and of being unaware of everything else but the activity itself (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde and Whalen, 1997, pg 14). Investigating flow provides insights into the quality of experience. In the music classroom, investigating flow can provide insights into the situated nature of pupils' experiences of collaborative work. The empirical context for the research is two secondary schools in the North-West of England. A mixed-methods research design provided insights into self-reports of flow experience using the Experience Sampling Method and also involved qualitative analysis of group talk. The findings reveal how more pupils experienced flow when the main activity was group composing and that those in flow influenced the quality of talk in the group. Overall, this study contributes to increased understandings of how pupils experience music lessons and in particular, how the quality of their experience in group work can be improved by recognising and understanding the importance of 'speaking though music'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral