Friday, 2 December 2011

Patchy Music Teaching

Apparently the concern is that music teaching is very patchy - hence the National Music Plan.  However, as far as I am concerned they have missed the point - I think music teaching is patchy because the training is poor.  There is no basic teacher training for independent peris and although there are plenty of courses run by various music boards, they are extremely expensive.  As for the PGCE for music - well personally I thought it was a joke. 

I learned more from observing other teachers than I did from the PGCE and mostly it was how not to do things!  One observation experience while I was on the PGCE was an absolute travesty of teaching.  15 post graduate students were sitting observing 2, yes 2, post 16 students.  These 2 guys were studying popular music.  The teacher asked them a question to which it became clear very quickly that they did not know the answer - of course they knew that all 15 post grads were sitting there with the answer in their heads.  Instead of stepping in very quickly and saving their embarrassment, the teacher left the question hanging.  One of the students even told the teacher she was embarrassing them which she poo-pooed.  I wanted the floor to open up and swallow us all.
Firstly there should never havebeen 15 post grads observing 2 college students and the teacher should have realised very quickly that they didn't know the answer and help them out.  I understand that one of those lads actually left the course a couple of weeks later.

I was also told after about 3 weeks at a school on teaching experience that after half-term I was to teach Yr 9s advertisements - I was given no resources, no ideas on how to approach it, in fact I was left completely on my own.  As far as I can make out most of the time schools use PGCE students as dogsbodies with very little support or assistance.  I was left at the last minute to cover a lesson because a music teacher was ill - I had no warning, I had nothing with me, no lesson plan was given to me to work from and so I had to ad lib the entire lesson - with Year 9s!!  Luckily I was a mature student with probably more confidence than someone of 21 or 22 which is what the normal age would have been.  I think part of the problem with the schools as far as music is concerned is that music is an 'only' subject:  "It's only music" ergo it isn't important.

All the resources I used when I was teaching secondary I created myself or got from the internet- I did not get anything from the PGCE or from my teaching experience posts.

Basically if the government don't want 'patchy' music teaching they need to look at how they train their teachers and make some funding available for peris to take some courses.