The following is a brief summary of the study
“A Model Program for Preparation of Mentors of Preservice Music Educators”
© 2012, National Association for Music Education.
Study Authors: Constance L. McKoy, Rebecca B. MacLeod, D. Brett Nolker, and Jennifer S. Walter, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The authors investigated the impact of a professional development workshop designed to prepare cooperating teachers as mentors for music student teachers in the 21st century. They also sought to provide cooperating teachers with content and skill development in the areas of culturally responsive teaching, and assessment.
They investigated: (1) the extent of cooperating teachers’ comfort level with mentorship, (2) the extent of cooperating teachers’ comfort level with assessment, and (3) the extent of cooperating teachers’ comfort level with regard to culturally responsive teaching. The study addressed the following components of the 2007 MENC [now NAfME] Strategic Plan:
- Identify and disseminate model and innovative practices for preservice music teacher education.
- Identify and disseminate model and innovative practices for the professional development of beginning and experienced teachers.
- Prepare professional development materials, workshops, and other strategies to support beginning and experienced teachers.
Method and Analysis
Participants were 18 cooperating teachers who supervise UNCG music student teachers and who accepted an invitation to participate in 30 hours of workshop training. The in-service workshop provided instruction about mentorship of student teachers, assessment strategies, and culturally responsive teaching. Each workshop participant created an outline for a unit plan and assessment plan (Teacher Work Product) that incorporated culturally responsive teaching strategies for a class of their choice that was to be implemented in Fall of 2011. A survey consisting of rated questions and open-ended questions was given to participants at the beginning and end of the workshop. Mean scores from the pre- and posttest were compared and responses to open-ended questions were examined for emerging themes.
- Ninety-four percent (94%) of the participants said the workshop changed some of their ideas about mentoring. Participants indicated they had increased their understanding of the phases of teacher development, how to recognize characteristics in student teachers that indicate these phases, and how to adjust mentoring accordingly.
- The largest gain in understanding within the area of mentorship was with regard to the new teaching portfolio, a state requirement.
- Eighty-nine percent (89%) of the participants said the workshop changed some of their ideas about assessment.
- The majority of participants were less comfortable about assessment after the workshop than before. Participants had misperceptions about how they used assessment in their classes. They did less formal group and informal group and individual assessments than they originally thought.
- Participants had an increased awareness of the various ways that students could be assessed, and saw assessment as a tool to design instruction to meet the needs of individual students.
- Eighty-nine percent (89%) of the participants said the workshop changed their understanding of culturally responsive teaching and the majority felt more informed about this topic. Most participants indicated an increased awareness that culture involves more than race, and that culturally responsive teaching in music and multicultural music education are not the same.
- Our profession should continue its focus on assessment of music learning, as it is more vital now than ever before. Music teachers need tools that will help them obtain data-driven evidence of student achievement in music.
- After several years of focusing on expanding the content of the music curriculum to include music of other cultures, our profession needs to provide more information to teachers on culturally responsive pedagogy, which focuses on how students’ culturally-based experiences inform how they construct knowledge.
—Ella Wilcox, July 20, 2012, © National Association for Music Education (www.nafme.org)