Volume 17 Number 12 May 16, 2016

Music in Beginning Teacher Classrooms: A Mismatch Between Policy, Philosophy, and Practice

Linda Webb
University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Citation: Webb, L. (2016). Music in beginning teacher classrooms: A mismatch between policy, philosophy, and practice. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(12). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v17n12/.


This paper identifies a range of positions and perspectives that impacted on New Zealand beginning primary (elementary) generalist teacher’s preparedness to teach music in relation to: government policy, curriculum and Graduating Teacher Standards requirements; and teacher educators’ and school principals’ expectations of them. The complex web of interdependency and tension that existed between the research participants highlighted a mismatch between policy, philosophy and practice. Preparedness to teach music was significantly influenced by teachers’ previous musical experiences; access to pedagogical knowledge and skill advancement during their training; guidance and modelling in schools. Notionally, access to music education for every child was valued, but this was often marginalised by government priorities around National Standards reporting in literacy and numeracy. Findings have the potential to advocate for a realistic professional learning, development and resourcing framework that matches every child’s right in New Zealand, to music as part of a broad education.

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