Scholarly article on topic 'Analysis of Music Education Objectives in Learning Domains'

Analysis of Music Education Objectives in Learning Domains Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Barbara Sicherl Kafol, Olga Denac, Jerneja Žnidaršič, Konstanca Zalar

Abstract The purpose of the study was to find out the extent to which Slovenian general education teachers follow the principles of a balanced music objectives planning in the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains. The research sample involves 372 Slovenian student and current general education teachers who, working in pairs, prepared 186 lesson plans for music education. The research results showed that the majority of the musical objectives planned in this study, pertained to the psychomotor domain, followed by the cognitive objectives and by the least represented objectives of the affective domain.

Academic research paper on topic "Analysis of Music Education Objectives in Learning Domains"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 186 (2015) 95 - 104

5th World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership, WCLTA 2014

Analysis of Music Education Objectives in Learning Domains

Barbara Sicherl Kafola, Olga Denacb, Jerneja Znidarsicc, Konstanca Zalard*

aFaculty of Education, University of Ljubjana, Kardeljeva ploscad 16, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia

bFaculty of Education, University of Maribor, Koroska cesta 160, 2000, Maribor, Slovenia Faculty of Education, University of Ljubjana, Kardeljeva ploscad 16, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia dFaculty of Education, University of Ljubjana, Kardeljeva ploscad 16, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to find out the extent to which Slovenian general education teachers follow the principles of a balanced music objectives planning in the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains. The research sample involves 372 Slovenian student and current general education teachers who, working in pairs, prepared 186 lesson plans for music education. The research results showed that the majority of the musical objectives planned in this study, pertained to the psychomotor domain, followed by the cognitive objectives and by the least represented objectives of the affective domain. © 2015TheAuthors. PublishedbyElsevierLtd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center

Keywords: affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains; balanced music education planning; general education teachers.

1. Introduction

Music education concerns those aspects of an individual's development which (even) in modern society remain overlooked. Research findings confirm that learning in and through music stimulates self-confidence, emotional sensitivity, social skills, team work, relaxation, measures of intelligence, concentration, literacy, fine motor coordination (see review in Hallam, 2010), personal relationships (Portowitz et al., 2009), social skills (Hallam, 2001; Spychiger, 2001; Brand, 2008), self-esteem within a music context (Portowitz et al., 2009), reading ability and math ability (Scripp, 2003), creativity (Wolff, 1992; Greene, 1995; Hallam, 2010), spatial reasoning (Rauscher et al., 1997; Scripp, 2003), memory, self-expression (Scripp, 2003), critical thinking, problem solving (Eisner, 1985; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Stevenson and Deasy, 2005), etc. In spite of numerous research findings, which confirm

* Konstanca Zalar. Tel.: 0038631-390-388 E-mail address: Konstanca.Zalar@pefuni-lj.si

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.069

positive effects of music attendance on academic achievements, the research field is still open for identification of various factors which could influence non-musical benefits. But it is also clear that "no study had found that participation in music programs diminishes students' performance at school or their academic achievement" (Costa -Giomi 2004, p.141).

Although we agree that "it may be self-defeating to use non-musical benefits as an argument for music lessons" (Schellenberg, 2005, p.13), it is important to consider music programmes' potentials "for the teaching and learning of many skills and concepts beyond the arts themselves" (Elster, 2001, p.3). Therefore we conclude, similarly to other authors (Sharp et al., 2000; Taggart et al., 2004; Eurydice, 2009; Bamford, 2009), that music programmes should be given a greater importance in school curriculum, and also that "music and other arts instruction should be included in standard school curricula because of their intrinsic merits" (Schellenberg, 2005, p.13).

In this context the important question in music education is what knowledge and skills should be acquired and for what purpose? The answers touch upon the dimensions of holistic learning which occur in mutual connections between learning domains. In different learning situations, a pupil should develop abilities to experience, learn and express music, which has to happen as an integrated experience including the emotional-social, motor and cognitive nature of learning.

2. Music Education Objectives in Learning Domains

The objectives of music education in different areas of development can be classified according to various taxonomy models (Bloom, 1956; Krathwohl et al., 1964; Simpson, 1966; and many others, an overview of which is provided in: Anderson et al., 2001) which pursue education behaviour in progressive steps. All these models share the idea that "the taxonomy is perhaps best viewed as a conceptual framework that can be used within virtual and philosophical framework ... aiding the necessary transition from curriculum to instruction" (Anderson et al., 2001, p. 241). This chapter will refer to the taxonomies for cognitive domain according to revision of Bloom's taxonomy (Anderson et al. 2001) with categories: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create; affective domain according to Krathwohl et al. taxonomy (1964) with categories: Receiving, Responding, Valuing, Organization, Characterization; and psychomotor domain according to Kibler's et al. taxonomy (1970) with categories: Gross Body Movements, Finely Coordinated (manipulation and visual motor coordination), Non-Verbal (coomunicating feelings and attitude), Speech Behaviours. Classification of musical objectives in cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains enable detection of complex aspects of musical development which might be neglected or over-emphasised within musical education, and reminds us of the necessity to take into account higher objectives when planning the music education process. Music education, just as any other subjects, does not allow for partiality and disregard of individual learning domains. The interaction among the processes of emotive, motivational, cognitive and motor domains represents the very basis for a general as well as musical development.

Similarly to other authors (Harrow, 1972; Horne, 1980; Portowitz et al., 2009), we wish to point out the holistic aspect that needs to be taken into account despite separate representations of objectives according to taxonomies, as we must consider that an individual is not simply a sum of his or her parts (Dewey, 1972). In this sense, the development of musical values requires interaction between affective and cognitive domains, the development of singing and playing skills presupposes interaction between psychomotor and cognitive domains, the development of the sense of aesthetics requires interaction of affective, cognitive and psychomotor domains, etc. There is a relation of reciprocity among individual learning domains, as the level of interest, feelings, views and values in connection with music predetermines the level of musical activity of pupils, which influences the quality of their musical knowing and in return enhances and deepens their attitude towards music.

According to the current Slovenian Syllabus for music education in primary schools (2011), music education is based on teaching-objective and development-process models of planning with emphasises on the importance of teaching/learning process as well as its achievements. The teaching/learning process in music education should therefore equally consider the learning domains in the affective, psychomotor and cognitive area. The description of the music teaching concept itself for the lower classes (1st, 2nd, 3rd class with two 45 minute lessons per week) of primary school, points out the importance of emotional, motivational and social aspects of music teaching and learning. In upper classes (4th and 5th class with 1,5 music lessons per week and form 6th to 9th class with 1 music

lesson per week) of primary school, it also indicated the interaction among all learning domains, as well as gradual upgrading of musical experience into musical knowing.

In order to achieve these dimensions of musical teaching/learning, good planning and implementation of music education are necessary. These require the teacher's musical and didactic competence. Our thesis is that only a musically developed teacher who is willing to accept, learn and implement the professional and didactic particularities of the subject can successfully fulfil music education objectives. Research shows that the quality of teaching has a decisive impact on the quality of pupils' musical achievements (Hallam, 2001; Spychiger, 2001; Rauscher, 2008).

3. Research

Research on the competence of general education teachers of the arts shows that teachers lack self-confidence and artistic knowledge (Slosar, 1995; Holden and Button, 2006; Kertz-Welzel, 2008; Bamford, 2009; Taggart et al., 2004; Eurydice, 2009), which is reflected in the field of music in an unsatisfactory level of musical skills and in lower teacher confidence in music compared to other subjects (Holden and Button, 2006). In the Slovenian preschool and early primary-school period, music education does not pursue the objectives of holistic development in affective, psychomotor and cognitive learning domains (Denac, 2002). Problems point to a lack of musical and didactic knowledge, necessary to stimulate higher levels of music teaching and learning in all mentioned domains.

3.1. Research questions

Based on the problems described, the following research questions were formed:

• What is the extent of musical objectives planned in Slovenian lesson plans in the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains?

• Are there any differences between Slovenian student teachers and current general education teachers with respect to the extent of musical objectives planned in the prevailing learning domains of affective, psychomotor and cognitive development?

2.2. Methodology

In our study we used the descriptive method of empirical pedagogical research.

The research was carried out in 2010 at the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana. It involves a sample of 372 student teachers and current general education teachers who, working in pairs, prepared 186 lesson plans for music education.

Data were collected by analysing 186 lesson plans for music education in the first four classes of Slovenian primary school (pupils aged between 6 and 9). 120 lesson plans (64.5 %) were prepared by student teachers (fulltime students of primary education) and 66 (35.5 %) by current general education teachers (part-time students of primary education).

Table 1. Number (f) in percentage (f %) of analysed lesson plans prepared by student teachers or current teachers

T f f %

ST 120 64.5 %

CT 66 35.5 %

Total 186 100 %

Legend: T - teacher, ST - student teacher, CT - current teacher

For data processing, frequency distribution of variables (f, f %) were used along with some descriptive statistics (arithmetic mean, standard deviation). For the comparison of arithmetic means of two groups the Independent-Samples Test/t-test for Equality of Means was used.

4. Research Results and Interpretation

In accordance with research questions results are presented in two subchapters. 3.1. The representation of musical objectives in the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains

Of the total 2142 musical objectives analysed in 186 lesson plans, 523 (24%) were planned in the affective domain, 889 (42%) in the psychomotor domain and 730 (34%) in the cognitive domain.

Table 2. Number (f) in percentage (f %) share of musical objectives according to appurtenance to the prevailing affective, psychomotor and

cognitive domains.

LD f f%

AF 523 24%

PM 889 42%

COG 730 34%

Total 2142 100%

Legend: LD - learning domain, AF - affective domain, PM - psychomotor domain, COG - cognitive domain Further on, we examined the number of objectives by individual domains teachers planned per each lesson plan.

Table 3. Average number of musical objectives by the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains planned per lesson plan.

LD n Mean Standard deviation

AF 186 2.81 0.78

PM 186 4.75 1.15

COG 186 3.92 1.43

Total 186 11.48 2.11

Legend: LD - learning domain, AF - affective domain, PM - psychomotor domain, COG - cognitive domain

On average, teachers planned 11.48 objectives per lesson plan. This relatively high number of objectives results from the fact that the objectives are very complex and can often be attributed to taxonomic categories of more than one learning domain. For example, the objective "pupil gives an aesthetic evaluation of a song sung" can be attributed to both, the affective and the cognitive domain, because evaluation requires learning response at the emotional and motivational as well as at the cognitive level. Complex dimension of musical objectives could be illustrated also by the objective "pupil listens carefully to a music piece" as attentiveness includes the emotional and motivational as well as cognitive level of response. Often the objectives also include several achievements planned, e.g.: the objective "pupil listens carefully to faster and slower sounds and expresses them through movement" involves the affective and cognitive domains (listen carefully), as well as the affective and psychomotor domains (express through movement); the musical objective "pupil expresses the comprehension of pitch by motion" includes the affective and psychomotor domains (expressing by motion) as well as cognitive domain (comprehension of pitch). Due to the complex dimension of musical objectives as well as overlapping of learning domains one objective could be attributed to more than one learning domain. In our study that was also the reason for higher number of musical objectives per lesson plan.

We tried to classify the objectives according to the prevailing component of learning development, however, it turned out that they often simply cannot be attributed to a single taxonomic category, as the learning domains tend to overlap and condition each other (Horne, 1980). The analysis of objectives showed that the majority of the music education objectives teachers planned, pertained to the psychomotor domain of development (4.75 per class plan), followed by the cognitive domain (3.92 objectives per class plan) and the affective domain (2.81 per class plan). These results show a positive switch to active approaches to music teaching: given the high share of objectives pertaining to the psychomotor domain we can conclude that Slovenian general education teachers are aware of how important active acquisition of a learning experience through motor response to sound is, so they consciously plan active musical experience for children, thus enabling them to develop their musical thinking, as "musical thinking is evidenced in musical action" (Juntunen and Westerlund, 2001, p. 206). Music teaching and learning requires a holistic learning response, including in the physical-motor area. Gardner (1983, p. 123) says that "music is best thought of as an extended gesture - a kind of movement or direction that is carried out, at least implicitly, with the body, as young children certainly relate music and body movement naturally" (ibid). This speaks in favour of a methodical approach, combining "voice, hand and body", which is also supported by studies (Oblak, 1987; Denac, 2002) which confirmed the frequent motor response, especially in young children, to music, particularly one with a distinctive rhythm as well as their improvement in fine motor skills, locomotor performance, and performance accuracy (see review in Hallam, 2010). That is why several music education approaches (Orff, Dalcroz, Kodaly, etc.) use gesture as a form of musical thinking. Elliott (1995, p. 103) also points out that "if the body is in the mind, then it makes perfect sense . that the kinds of moving involved in music making . are essential to improving musical understanding."

The results also show that the least attention is dedicated to the affective learning domain, which proves that Slovenian general education teachers are not adequately aware of the importance of emotional and social learning factors. In music education, affective objectives significantly determine the processes of performing, listening and creating which, as "the primary goals of every music teaching-learning situation, are to enable students to achieve self-growth, self-knowledge and musical enjoyment" (Elliott, 2003, p. 54).

It is also necessary to consider that pupils can express and recognise various basic emotions like happiness, sadness, anger and fear in music on the base of music parameters such as melody, tempo, timbre, rhythm, dynamic, harmony etc. (Adachi and Trehub, 1998, 2000, 2004; Morton and Trehub, 2007; Hailstone et al., 2009) and their combinations (Juslin et al., 2006). Research shows (Spychiger, 2001; Hallam, 2001; Sicherl - Kafol, 2001; Denac, 2002; Brand, 2008; Portowitz et al., 2009; Hallam, 2010) that musical activity enhances pupils' interest, mutual cooperation, acceptance of peers, responsibility for success, self-criticism, positive feelings, self-confidence and the ability to feel the interpretation, which are all factors important for the internalisation of musical values and musical meanings. Research findings (Schellenberg et al., 2007) also confirm that exposure to different types of music effects changes in emotional state (intensity of the felt emotion) and mood (positive or negative emotion). Therefore,

the development of musical dispositions depends considerably on the pupils' interest in musical activity and on a stimulating learning environment which includes the family atmosphere and the social and economic circumstances.

It can be concluded that the processes of experiencing music are the basic starting point for music teaching/learning and that appropriate teaching methods and a positive learning atmosphere are necessary to encourage pupils' positive attitude towards music.

The results of musical objectives in the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains also show that the proportion of the objectives for the cognitive domain was higher (3.92 per class plan) than the proportion of the objectives for the affective domain (2.81 per class plan). We believe this is so, because the objectives in the cognitive domain are easier to plan and make operational, on the basis of the cognitive taxonomy (Anderson et al., 2001), and also easier to observe and check. So it is not surprising that so far cognitive objectives have received most attention by both theory and practice. However, there is a threat that only cognitive achievements of music lessons are pursuit, while the other learning domains tend to be neglected. A research by Denac (2010) indicates a similar situation. It shows that even in Slovenian pre-school music education planning the objectives of the cognitive domain prevail.

3.2. Difference Between Student Teachers and Current General Education Teachers in Terms of the Representation of Musical Objectives in the Prevailing Affective, Psychomotor and Cognitive Domains

Table 4 shows the arithmetic means and standard deviations between student teachers and current general education teachers in the presence of objectives planned in the prevailing affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains.

Table 4: Average number of musical objectives per lesson plan for student teachers and current teachers in the prevailing affective,

psychomotor and cognitive domains.

LD Group n Mean Standard deviation

AF ST 120 2.68 0.78

CT 66 3.05 0.73

PM ST 120 4.72 1.08

CT 66 4.79 1.27

COG ST 120 3.42 1.25

CT 66 4.85 1.26

Total ST 120 10.82 1.93

CT 66 12.68 1.91

Legend: LD - learning domain, AF - affective domain, PM - psychomotor domain, COG - cognitive domain, ST - student teacher, CT - current teacher

The analysis of the average share of musical objectives pertaining to the prevailing domains shows certain differences between student teachers and current general education teachers in all three learning domains in favour of current general education teachers. On the whole, current general education teachers planed more objectives (12.68 per lesson plan) than student teachers (10.82 per lesson plan). Current general education teachers also pay more attention to the principles of balanced objective planning, especially as regards the cognitive (4.85 objectives per lesson plan) and psychomotor (4.79 objectives per lesson plan) and to a lesser extent also the affective domain (3.05 objectives per lesson plan). With student teachers, on the other hand, the numbers of objectives planned vary

more considerably among the learning domains (affective: 2.68 objectives per lesson plan, psychomotor: 4.72 objectives per lesson plan and cognitive: 3.42 objectives per lesson plan).

Based on these results we presume that Slovenian current general education teachers, who have more experience in the teaching practice, are more aware of the importance of the balanced planning of objectives of different learning domains, which is a significant factor of a quality music education in the context of holistic approach.

Table 5. Difference between student teachers and current teachers in terms of the amount of objectives by individual learning domains.

LD t df sig. Mean difference Std. Error Difference

AF -3.101 184 0.002 -0.362 0.117

PM -0.356 184 0.723 -0.063 0.177

COG -7.447 184 0.000 -1.432 0.192

Total -6.314 184 0.000 -1.857 0.294

Legend: LD - learning domain, AF - affective domain, PM - psychomotor domain, COG - cognitive domain

Based on the value of the t-coefficient and the level of its statistical importance it is possible to determine which variables are the ones where statistically significant differences occur between the results of student teachers and those of current general education teachers. The analysis of those results shows that there are statistically significant differences in favour of current general education teachers in planning cognitive objectives (t = -7.447, sig. = 0.000). Statistically significant differences can also be noticed in the planning of affective objectives (t = -3.101, sig. = 0.002) and in the planning of all objectives together (t = -6.314, sig. = 0.000). The results of arithmetic means already showed that there were no statistically significant differences between student and current general education teachers in planning objectives in the psychomotor domain, which was also confirmed indirectly by the t-test (t = -0.356, sig. = 0.723).

We can conclude that Slovenian current general education teachers better respect the principles of a balanced musical objectives planning as they give more weight to cognitive and affective objectives as well as objectives planning in all learning domains together than student teachers. On the other hand, we found no statistically significant difference between both study groups in planning of psychomotor objectives so we can summarize that both, student teachers and current general education teachers in this study population are aware of the importance of active acquisition of music learning experience through motor response. In this sense they follow the principle of "curricullum-as-practicum" and the fact that "our musical knowledge is in our actions: our musical thinking and knowing are in our musical doing and making" (Elliott, 1995, p. 56).

The comparison of both study groups indicate the influence of teaching practice which gives advantage to current general education teachers who have more didactic knowledge due to years of music teaching. If we consider that the relationship between teaching methods and learning objectives is reciprocal (Marentic Pozarnik, 2000; Hus, Kordigel Abersek, 2011) then we can conclude that current general education teachers have more experiences in realization of learning objectives in all learning domains by using different teaching methods. On the other hand, student teachers showed the impact of their study programme which highlights teaching methods for enactive musical teaching and learning. The results in both groups in this study indicate the need for higher awareness of affective objectives in music teaching.

5. Conclusion

Planning and implementation of music education require realisation of musical objectives in interaction of the affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains. The main focus is on holistic development, even though we use distinct terms for various domains in order to better understand the complex dimensions of musical learning. In line

with the holistic approach we plan musical objectives according to the prevailing learning domains, while keeping in mind that they exist together in the intertwined network (Portowitz et al., 2009) of individual's feelings, thinking and actions and they cannot be separated.

It is difficult to generalise, given the limited research sample in this study. Nevertheless, we can sum up that Slovenian general education teachers are aware of the importance of activity-based music education planning. The research results showed that the majority of the musical objectives planned in this study, pertained to the psychomotor domain, followed by the cognitive objectives and by the least represented objectives of the affective domain. We also found out that current general education teachers dedicate more attention to the musical objectives of the cognitive and affective domains than student teachers, but as far as the psychomotor domain is concerned, there are no significant differences between these two groups. The above facts indicate that Slovenian current general education teachers respect the principles of balanced objective planning to a greater extent than student teachers, which indicates positive effects of professional experience that teachers gain from years of music teaching practice.

The fact that the smallest number of objectives planned pertained to the affective domain shows that general education teachers in this study are not aware enough of the importance of emotional and social learning factors. If we agree that "the reason behind this might be either the fact that we do not think about this learning domain clearly enough, or that we lack an effective model on which to base these objectives" (Horne, 1980, p. 189), or "perhap s communication of emotions involves tacit knowledge that is difficult to convey from teachers to student" (Juslin et al., 2006, p.79), than we can conclude that teachers in this study are either not aware enough of curriculum demands which emphasise the process of experiencing music as the basic starting point of music teaching/learning, or they lack professional knowledge. Implementation into teaching practice of objectives in affective domain indicated in the Slovenian Syllabus for music education (2011, p.5), such as: "encouraging experiencing and expressing music through musical activities, arousing curiosity and developing interest in and active approach to music, involvement in various forms of musical activities, development of a positive attitude towards national and world musical heritage, development of sensitivity and tolerance towards different musical cultures", requires teacher's musical and didactic competence. It can be concluded that realization of musical objectives, especially those in the affective learning domain, calls for the use of appropriate teaching strategies and other didactic elements as well as positive learning atmosphere to encourage pupils' positive attitude towards music.

In this context we should not forget that music teachers are "always perceived as role models and in this sense they co-shape children's motivation for music education and music in general" (Rotar Pance, 1999, p. 39). Therefore, the key factors of successful teaching and fulfilment of the planned learning objectives also include the teacher's interest in music education and their motivation for teaching it. Music teachers have to be good musicians, curious, open to new ideas, critical and reflective towards their own development and towards the development of their pupils. Only in this way a teacher can grow as an expert and continuously deepen their expert knowledge and interest, as well as sensitivity for aesthetic values. This brings us to the conclusion that only a personally and professionally competent teacher can fulfil the planned teaching/learning objectives and translate them into practice.

Last but not least, the research results also proved that the musical objectives of the affective area can be planned and identified. It is necessary to emphasise that the objectives in the affective domain are equally important as the objectives of other learning domains. Even though the emotional-social domain is not easily measurable, this does not mean that it should be avoided. Furthermore, the importance of musical objectives related to the affective learning domain is based on the influence that music training has on recognising and expressing emotions in music, as "it is consistent with evidence that accuracy at identifying emotions in music can improve with expertise" (Hailstone et al., 2009, p. 2149). If we also consider a study by Horne (1980), which indicate that teachers and parents are aware of the role of the affective and social learning factors and even attribute them a greater importance than to the cognitive objectives, then teachers should raise the quality of their music teaching in this area.

The problems of higher levels of music teaching/learning in this study population are connected with the fact that general education teachers' didactic knowledge, which is necessary to stimulate balanced learning development, is insufficient. Successful music education planning should devote more attention to the balanced music objective planning in all learning domains. In comparison to the psychomotor and cognitive domain there exists no similar awareness for affective musical outcomes so it is necessary to promote the emotional and social aspects of musical learning.

The findings of this study underline the need for a quality training system, including permanent professional training, for general education teachers in Slovenia aimed at raising their awareness of emotional and social nature of learning in terms of developing their competences for balanced music education planning.

The results of this study opened up possibilities for further research, that could examine whether the musical objectives of affective, psychomotor and cognitive learning domains are mutually connected and to what extent their possible interaction could influence a balanced learning development.

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