I’m part of several professional teaching groups on Facebook, and they’ve been so helpful in exposing me to a variety of methods, activities, and resources that I have integrated into my classroom. When it’s hard to get out and observe colleagues, doing some research within these groups is another great option for finding new ideas and techniques (although observation gives you particular exposure that words and explanations cannot).
Also posted on these groups are numerous articles about our field. Thanks to the “save” feature Facebook introduced, I’ve collected and read so many articles even in the past few months. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites here for your reference!
Stop “Defending” Music Education, by Peter Greene.
Why I love it: He articulates how music is inherently valuable, not simply because it can help with test scores, an oft-used defense of music education.
Great quote: “Music does not need to make excuses for itself.” Agree!
Why I love it: He argues that schools create a dearth of desire by their lack of proper support structures for music, such as appropriate scheduling and beginning the Band program earlier than 5th grade.
Great quote: “Our communities must declare that creativity is as the heart of education. Local school systems can have an open dialogue about how all students are born creative… Learning to be creative is not an extra-curricular or a “special” activity; education for creativity is about the whole curriculum, not just part of it.”
Why I love it: He reminded me that the arts, but performance in particular, are more than just reading what’s on the page.
Great quote: “Our education system is obsessed with preparing students for something that happens later in their lives; often overlooking our children’s needs and opportunities today… A broad curriculum rich in the arts increases the chance of our children experiencing an enriched life today in order for them to think creatively about life tomorrow.”
“The Difference Between Praise and Feedback,” by Anya Kamenetz
Why I love it: For a long time I’ve thought that the words we use around young people can have profound effects, perhaps greater that we realize. (Think about how often our default conversation starter with girls is a comment on their outfit, their hair… how they look. What do you think that instills in a young, impressionable mind? [Side note: fantastic article about that here.]) Teachers need to use appropriate praise and feedback to encourage a growth mindset, which encourages children to value effort and strategy over what they perceive as innate talent (fixed mindset).
Great quote: “… [R]einforcing effort contributes to children’s beliefs that they can get better at things if they try, the vaunted ‘growth mindset.’ But praising traits feeds the belief that talent is fixed, which makes kids less willing to take on new challenges that might expose them as less naturally able.”
Why I love it: It’s a great article to share with parents or post on a teacher website- it’s not finger-wagging, it’s encouraging. Parents can’t help their kids with music if they don’t know how to help. This strengthens the relationships between school/teacher, student, and family.
Great quote: “A successful musical life is developed one day at a time with small successes.” (Replace ‘musical’ with whatever you want- it still works!)
What are some of your favorite articles? Feel free to comment with some of your own!