I found this chapter by Allsup very relevant to my own education, and it also offered some insights of how I should think about my classroom and students when I begin teaching. When he’s talking in the beginning of the chapter about how every second of the day is mapped out by teachers, especially music teachers (pg.66) I looked back on my own education, and realized the only breaks I got during the 7 hours of instruction were 7 minutes in between classes and 30 minutes for lunch. I found myself dragging by the end of the day because I was mentally exhausted. The same went for band class we had 90 minutes every other day, and each second was spent with one group playing, or the whole group playing. The instructor was so focused on getting ready for the next concert or the next assessment that there was very little time to stop. Allsup introduces the concept of museums and laboratories with regard to education. I believe that a classroom can be both of these things if the instructor is willing to put in the time and the effort to learn about changing students and technologies you can apply them to what is already being taught, and what is considered the set curriculum. I think incorporating the laboratory into the precedent that has already been set can be good for students because they become more interested in learning. You can ask students the way they would prefer to learn the lesson, maybe a game or a song, reading from the textbook, that way they will be more engaged in their learning since they helped choose. I think there are several ways we can approach teaching and curriculum that allows us to instruct on what is required by the state while incorporating new technologies and strategies that engage learners that are changing and growing each year.
In the beginning of this chapter Allsup describes two concepts of education, the museum and the laboratory. He begins the chapter by criticizing how educators map out every second of the day for their students, but the plans are teacher oriented. Instead of thinking about what the students could benefit from, the teacher uses what they learned or what they’ve seen their own teachers do to create their instruction. This introduces the concept of the museum in education. Allsup describes the museum as a representation of how we hold on to traditions and the precedents of teachers before when we begin teaching in the classroom, as well as the same curriculum, books, and other materials that have already been used for 20 years. Instead of taking into account the changing times and demographics of those in our classrooms, we end up doing the same thing year after year, with little change, because it is comfortable for us. The museum is a way for us to record what people have created in the past. In contrast, a laboratory is described as a place where innovation and creation can take place. In a classroom this can mean that curriculum is changing every year to meet the needs of new students and technologies that emerge as times change. However, both of these concepts can be useful in the classroom. While it may be harder for the teacher they can still come up with ways of using new technologies and catering to new types of students, while still instructing students on important concepts, like singing, rhythm, solfege etc, that have already been a part of the curriculum for many years.
Allsup continues the second half of the chapter by expanding on the idea of the laboratory versus the museum. He discusses that the laboratory educational setting is not without the presence of the teacher, but rather a setting where there is a mutual desire between the teacher and students to engage in the learning process. This relationship is meant to be cohesive, so that the student gets as much out of the learning process as they can. Allsup disagrees that the complex nature of the laboratory should be condensed to a paragraph in a lesson plan format. He asserts that the dynamic is too complex and active to write down in such a brief and detached manner. Allsup also confronts the idea that students who have no experience with an open classroom such as the laboratory, feel that it is “unstructured” and does not prepare them to be the music educators they want to become. Allsup feels that this open style of learning is approached with a more student-centered focus than controlled learning, which he feel is more for the teacher than the student. This sets up the big question that Allsup is asking: How can a teacher design a lesson in a classroom that has a focused objective but still fosters open learning? Allsup also claims that words such as “structure” and “authentic” need re-evaluating because they can “indicate an insider versus outsider perspective.” Overall, Allsup determines that the laboratory setting fosters a more open learning environment and allows students to learn in a more personal way.
I will share reflective essays, and philosophical documents on this page.