Major, Angela Elizabeth
Children as reflective practitioners: an action research project about talk as appraising in school music lessons.
The Open University.
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The purpose of this study is to define, observe and evaluate appraising of children’s own compositions in music lessons in one Secondary Comprehensive School with children aged 11 to 16 years where the researcher is also a teacher of music in the school. Through an action research framework, teaching strategies are adapted progressively to improve the learning situation that allows pupils to appraise most effectively and purposefully. The findings demonstrate different levels of talk in children about their composing work that represent their developing skills of critical thinking and analysis. From these a typology of levels of appraising is drawn up. The findings suggest that as children engage and empathise with their music compositions affectively, they appear to be able to talk more confidently about their work. The study considers whether, as children make sense of their work, they are able to understand more than their talk reveals. The need for musical vocabulary, the role of the teacher in nurturing appraising of composing work in the classroom and the role of conceptual understanding are other issues which are considered. It is suggested in the findings that as pupils develop their appraising skills to higher levels of performance, they also become effective, reflective practitioners. The research sees both the teacher researcher and the pupils engaging in appraising as reflective practitioners.
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