NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ898048
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 29
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-1545-4517
Not Musical? Identity Perceptions of Generalist Primary School Teachers in Relation to Classroom Music Teaching in England
Stunell, Gillian
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v9 n2 p79-107 Sep 2010
In the author's years working as a music specialist in English primary schools she encountered confident, experienced, professional teachers who expressed anxiety about teaching music in the National Curriculum. A number of generalist teachers seemed to believe that they were not competent to teach music to their classes, since they perceived themselves as "non-musicians" or "not musical." Because of this, they said, they lacked confidence in music. Yet these same teachers felt able to teach other subjects where they did not perceive themselves to have strong, subject-specific identities. In order to probe teachers' discomfort more thoroughly, and to make a more rigorous investigation of the reasons for their anxiety about music, the author carried out case study research. Four generalist teachers, all of whom were confident professionals of around ten years' experience, participated. All four saw music as a weak area in their otherwise strong professional identity. The teachers saw their perceived lack of ability to teach music as a failure to match up to their image of what a good generalist primary teacher should be. Whilst lack of confidence in music presented a challenge, the research suggested that it was a challenge that teachers would be delighted to overcome. Although findings suggested that teachers would like more knowledge, skills and understanding of music, it appears that they believed that, in contrast to other subjects, they could not easily access these. To set the context for this discussion of English primary teachers' identity perceptions, this article begins with some description of the English primary school and its teachers, the English National Curriculum and how teachers are trained. A discussion of the issue of confidence is followed by a brief description of a research project which probed teachers' perceptions. The article considers two emergent aspects of these, first looking at teachers' initial perceptions of their musical identities and their roles in the music classroom, then discussing teachers' self-efficacy and control beliefs. In conclusion there is an outline of some difficulties faced by teachers as they work to strengthen their musical identities, and pointers are given to some possible ways forward. (Contains 5 notes.)
MayDay Group. Brandon University School of Music, 270 18th Street, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9, Canada. Tel: 204-571-8990; Fax: 204-727-7318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)