For this assignment I collaborated with Sarah Humphreys.
1. How do you interpret Allsup's points to consider (bottom of p. 107)? Put another way, what do these points mean to you and for your current or future teaching? Also, what norms/traditions, even ones that you value deeply, might need to be further inspected, evaluated, and adapted? Identify at least 2 norms/traditions and explain why they might need to be revisited.
I interpret Allsup’s points to mean that traditions and norms can be altered, or adjusted, according to technology, the kinds of students we have in our classrooms, and what is relevant at that specific time. This may also mean listening to our students, and allowing them to explore other avenues, than just what we we learn in class, and that they are interested in. I think one norm that might need to be revisited is what we study in music classes during K-12. We play and are taught how to read notes, and rhythms, and what chords are being played. While I believe it is important that we continue to teach those, I also think we can move towards allowing a more student-centered classroom. This might mean allowing students to plan lessons, geared toward genres or topics their curious about. This wouldn’t be getting rid of “norms”, It would just be altering curriculum so students get more out of class.
2. What is Allsup really getting at in this chapter when he writes things such as "a third meaning," "moving beyond the predetermined," and "opening a closed form"? What are the key suggestions that Allsup is making? What do these suggestions mean to you?
What I got from his “third meaning” was changing the traditions into a more open meaning. For example when he talks about “moving beyond the predetermined” he talks about moving away from performance towards more creative ways of creating music. For example, uses alternative instruments, maybe that you created, to write a piece to perform. Allsup wants music educators to expand upon the already existing classroom and make it more of a collaborative learning environment where students can have a say and an active role in what they are learning. This could mean keeping the “norms” like ensemble playing, but creating an open form by allowing students to have a say in the music they want to play. Getting students more involved is a key role in opening up the music classroom.
3. Review JMU's 8 Key Questions. Though Allsup did not have access to JMU's work on ethical reasoning, much of his work in this text directly connect to issues of ethics in music education. Identify at least 4 key questions and how Allsup might answer those questions based on this chapter (make specific reference to pages/locations).
4. Allsup also addresses the question of responsibility (page 131) when he compares music to an art and to a trade. He is addressing that it is our responsibility as music educators to preserve the beauty of music as an artform, rather than as a trade, because art is always changing and new whereas a trade is studied down to a science that tends to lack beauty. Allsup is calling music educators to action to take responsibility to change the way music is treated in a classroom.
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.