Volume 21 Number 20 July 28, 2020

“Music Is Special”: Specialist Music Teachers Navigating Professional Identity within a Process of Arts Curriculum Reform

Rachael Dwyer
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Citation: Dwyer, R. (2020). “Music is special”: Music teachers navigating professional identity within a process of arts curriculum reform. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 21(20). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.26209/ijea21n20.


Processes of curriculum reform are often a period of upheaval for teachers and schools. As values and priorities change and new knowledge and skills are required, teachers find themselves occupying new positions upon the school landscape. In the case of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts, some of the concerns emerging from recent reforms include insufficient class time to cover the new content, inadequate support and resources for planning, and challenges stemming from five distinct arts subjects being grouped into a single curriculum, without a shared experience as “the arts”. This paper explores the impacts of this particular curriculum reform on three music teachers’ work, specifically the ways in which they position themselves and their work as music teachers in relation to the arts curriculum. Their stories highlight the importance of professional networks and relationships in developing new curriculum knowledge, and point to possibilities for developing shared understandings as teachers of the arts.

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