The middle school music exploratory experience in School District #61




Gerrits, Pamela

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The purpose of this study was to explore educators’ perceptions of middle school music exploratory classes in School District #61. The study utilized semi-structured interviews with 6 teachers and 3 administrators in a multiple case study. Participants were asked their perceptions of the original intent, current reality, benefits, and challenges of exploratory courses. The study found that there are middle school students in the district not being offered music exploratory courses due to student enrolment and principal selection of exploratory offerings. The curriculum and assessment are determined and developed by the individual teachers. A variety of topics are being taught including world music, ukulele, guitar, song-writing, and popular music. Teachers favour the use of current technology. Challenges included reluctant students, classroom management, a lack of planning time, and the number of report cards completed. Findings showed that music exploratory courses are effective in middle schools, engaging students in a relaxed teaching atmosphere, with individual and interdependent learning, creativity, and ‘hands-on’ learning. It is recommended that a resource pool be created with curriculum and assessment tools, that further dialogue occurs on assessment and the course goals, and that the music exploratory program be expanded across School District #61.



music education, music, exploratory, music exploratory, sd #61, school district #61, semi-structured interviews, multi case analysis, multiple case analysis, exploratory courses, curriculum, assessment, topics