29 SES 07, Alternative pedagogies in music education
Creativity experts urge educators to cultivate an exploratory mindset and nurture a creative disposition in students (Sims, 2011). A major obstacle in this process is the predominant view of creativity as powered by the intellect (Vass et al, 2014). To challenge this view, our conceptualization derives from cross-disciplinary connections, bringing together theorising and empirical work in education, musicology, music-based therapy, cognitive science and creativity studies.
Importantly, we draw on Vygotsky’s (2004) account of the interrelationship between emotion and cognition in resourcing imagination and creativity, and his emphasis on lived experience (perezhivanie) in sense making and knowledge building. Our work also resonates with contemporary scientific inquiry into the embodied and affective dimensions of psychological functioning. The central premise of the embodied approach is that bodily and emotional experiences determine our capacity for reason (Damasio, 1994); our physical interactions with our environment condition the way we understand this environment (Lakoff & Johnson, 1999). This wealth of academic literature points towards the fundamental role of embodied experience in sense-making, knowing and relating (Anttila, 2007).
Inspired by the embodiment literature, yet still working from within a socio-cultural conceptual grounding, our aim is to extend the neo-Vygotskian notion of co-construction (or dialogic teaching/learning) to incorporate collective being and becoming. Hence our focus on experience-centred approaches, which show increasing popularity in environmental education (e.g. Payne, 2010) arts-based education (Anttila, 2007) design studies (Wright, Wallace & McCarthy, 2008) or therapy (e.g. Meekums, 2002; Merenyi, 2004).
Experience-centered pedagogies combine the intellectual, affective and embodied dimensions of psychological functioning. They engage students’ intellect, senses and emotions without placing arbitrary boundaries around these or forcing them into a hierarchy. Thus, we believe, experiential pedagogies create educational contexts which facilitate complex, creative, dynamic forms of learning and teaching. We regard experience-centered pedagogies as ideal platforms to facilitate a creative, probing mindset through building on the synthesis of intelligence, affect and body-mind.
Aims and objectives
Our research capitalizes on recent reforms to the Hungarian national curriculum, which promote the inclusion of alternative pedagogies in primary music education. In response to these reforms, the Liszt Academy of Music has implemented a new elective unit for their music-teacher education programme. This unit introduces students to the Kokas pedagogy: an experiential extension of the Kodaly method facilitating deep musical understanding through spontaneous, musically inspired movement.
Our study focuses on the experiences trainee music-teachers report on when introduced to the Kokas pedagogy during their HE programme. We explore students’ sense making of the ‘otherness’ of the pedagogy as documented in their reflective essays. (How do they make sense of their own experiences of the Kokas pedagogy? How do they construct their own position with regards to the pedagogy? How do they explain and communicate their acceptance, internalization or rejection of the pedagogy? What does all this tell us about the potentials and barriers of this pedagogy in music teacher education?)
In particular, we looked at how students make sense of the challenges and dilemmas they identified. We examined students’ reflective construction of the positive dimensions of their experiences, and analysed students’ construction of their own responses to these negative and positive dimensions. In doing so, our aim was to capture the choreography of students’ verbalized account of their experiences of the Kokas pedagogy, their active meaning making of the transformative journey ’into’ to the pedagogy or the ultimate rejection of it. This enabled us to chart commonalities and idiosyncrasies in the students’ experiences, especially those linked to perceived barriers and strategies to overcome these.
Anttila, E. (2007). Mind the Body. Unearthing the Affiliation Between the Conscious Body and the Reflective Mind. In L. Rouhiainen (Ed.). Ways of Knowing in Dance and Art. Helsinki: Theatre Academy. Barnes, D. and Todd, F. (1995). Communication and Learning Revisited. New York: Heinemann. Damasio, A.R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotions, reason, and the human brain. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Deszpot, G. (2009). Zenei átváltozás. Kokas Klára komplex művészeti programja, mint pedagógia és terápia. Parlando 51(6), pp. 5-11. Kokas, K. (1999). Joy Through the Magic of Music. Budapest: Alfa Kiadó és Nyomda. Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books. Meekums, B. (2002). Dance Movement Therapy. A Creative Psychotherapeutic Approach. London: Sage Publications. Merenyi, M. (2004). Mozgás- és táncterápia. Áttekintő Tanulmány. Pszichoterápia. XIII: 1. Payne, P.G. (2010). Remarkable-tracking, experiential education of the ecological imagination, Environmental Education Research [E], vol 16, issue 3 & 4, Routledge, United Kingdom, pp. 295-310. Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction (Third edition). London: Sage. Sims, P. (2011) Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries. London: Random House Business Books. Vass, E., Littleton, K., Jones, A. & Miell, D. (2014). The affectively constituted dimensions of creative interthinking. International Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 66, 63-77. Vygotsky, L.S. (2004). Imagination and Creativity in Childhood. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology. Vol. 42(1). pp. 7-97. Wright, P., Wallace, J., and McCarthy, J. 2008. Aesthetics and experience-centered design. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 15, 4, Article 18 (November 2008), 21 pages. DOI 10.1145/1460355.1460360 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1460355.1460360
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