Motivating Children with Behaviour Challenges in Music


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Cathy Lee's Portfolio
MUSC 582D Winter 2011

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Motivating Children with Behaviour Challenges in Music

  1. 1. Motivating childrenwith behaviour challenges in Music A Portfolio CATHER INE LEE MUS C 582D - Win te r 2011
  2. 2. Challenging BehavioursIt’s the first day of school and I am feeling excited, nervous, and ready to welcome my firstkindergarten class of the new school year into the music room. I survey the classroom and see it’s asprepared as it can be: the Word Wall is ready for the musical terminology that we’ll be learning togetherthis year, the instruments are organized neatly in their designated storing area, and the ClassroomHelper cards are posted on the whiteboard waiting for the names of today’s student volunteers.Coloured plastic dots outline a circle on the classroom floor to show the students where they are to sit.A “Golden Tree of Praise” display is also seen on the far wall, waiting for students to help the tree growgolden leaves with their positive behaviours. [Bell rings!] Here comes my first class of 25kindergarteners!Those were my thoughts during my first days of school as the early years music teacher. Classroom and lessonpreparedness were items that I had control over and could prep ahead of time. However, in any given class ateacher will find students from different family backgrounds, learning styles, attitudes towards music and/or school,English language skills and exceptionalities. One of the difficult parts of teaching, therefore, is to be able torecognize, understand, and accommodate the learning needs of every individual student.One of the greatest challenges for me to is to know how to accommodate students with difficult behaviours whichconsequently results with the disruption of the lessons. The students who consistently threw temper tantrums whenthey don’t get their way, the students who react aggressively towards their peers and/or teacher when they areupset, and the students who frequently rolled and/or ran around the classroom during the lesson -- I’ve had themall! What can I do in my teaching to help students who have a negative outlook at music lessons, or school ingeneral, to improve their behaviours? Or students who are immature and have yet to develop skills of respect,patience, and self-control? When support from the administration and parents is sometimes sparse, how can musiceducators encourage, motivate, and accommodate these students to view school under a more positive light? How can I intrinsically motivate young students with challenging behaviours to participate in activities s/he doesn’t like or do well in?
  3. 3. Musical UnderstandingMusical understanding is described by Zenker as, “[to] hear things that others who have notachieved the same level of understanding, do not.” (46)  Simply put, musical understanding isnot merely playing music and memorizing facts. Music educators have a role in guidingstudents in connecting their intuitive apparatus (their impression of what is “normal” based onmusic they grew up with) towards reflective apparatus (a sophisticated and thoughtfulunderstanding of music and ability to verbalize their thoughts). (37) How can music educatorshelp students cross the bridge from intuitive to reflective thinking? By continuously engagingstudents in a variety of musical thinking activities (such as listening, performing and creating),and guiding students towards making the connections between the activities and their personalexperiences, students will have a greater chance of undergoing many “upshots” or what I thinkof as “ah ha!” moments for deeper musical understanding.Therefore: Music educators discovering the musical understanding of students with challengingbehaviours may shed light on why the students are reacting negatively in music and how tomeet their musical understanding needs. What is the musical understanding and learningneeds of young children?
  4. 4. Facts"To be effective, an educational experience must be meaningful to a learner. Students need to perceive learning experiences as meaningful to their lives.” - Wiggins• Students respond well to using technology in class. This can open the door by making music more accessible in a way that they are perhaps more familiar with.• Children like to move around. Link more movement into lessons (whether it’s dance, corners activities or spectrum activities, so the movement might be motivation/create interest itself).• Young children like to play, try to make learning opportunities into games.
  5. 5. ACTION PLANThroughout this course I’ve been introduced to Critical Thinkingmany vital and useful educational ideas. EachModule encouraged me to explore and delve intovarious aspects to music education, and what I saw Constructivismwas that every idea were all connected. On theright are the links to ideas that have not only Technologyhelped me shape an action plan that will address mydriving question, but have also directed me towardsbecoming a more thoughtful and “music Movement in Musiceducationally” aware educator. You browse thelinks individually, or go through each slide byclicking “play”! Motivation through Play “Fish is Fish” Classroom Environment New Change = Learning Centres Philosophy
  6. 6. Critical Thinking Thinking critically is to resolve or bring clarity to an issue, by using qualities that characterize ones thinking such as: open-mindedness and inclination to deliberate, processing and utilizing previous knowledge in a thoughtful way, searching and considering alternative points of views, analyzing or predicting, empathizing with the emotions of others, and awareness of relevant criteria for judgement in order to produce a critique or assessment of an idea or action.When teaching, infusing critical thinking into our lessons increases stimulation, engagement with material, foster reflective giving students a greater depth of understanding. Return to Action Plan
  7. 7. CONSTRUCTIVISM “A successful education is one that enables learners to think in multiple ways, in ways that are meaningful and personal, generating ownership and fostering growth.” - WigginsWiggins’ philosophy of music education sounds very similar to the constructivist ideas of Dewey and cognitive ideas of Piaget - leaders inprogressive education. Her following points about an ideal educational experience stood out to me, which I’ve compared to the ideas of thecognitive and constructivist learning theories:- Students need to feel a sense of ownership of what happens in the classroom. This point identifies with the constructivist idea that learning should be learner-centred, where learners play a role in decision making.- They need to believe that their personal ideas are valued in the educational setting. In Alfie Kohn’s “The Schools Our Children Deserve”, he says that Dewey was interested in democracy as a way of living, not just as a form of government. He applied this idea into education where teachers respond to the needs and interests of students, and content is derived from student interest. (Kohn 4)- They need to be able to find a connection between the work that is done in class to their lives outside of class. Like the constructivist theory, learning is influenced by prior knowledge, experience, attitudes and social interactions. The interrelationships between the experiences construct meaning.- All people are capable of thinking in many ways. Teachers need to provide activities that allow students to use their different ways of thinking. This resembles Piaget’s theory that children think qualitatively different from adults, and that a child’s thinking progresses through distinct stages.- We can be engaged in musical thinking through three key activities: listening, performing, and creating. All of these activities encourage interpretation and making meaning of the music. Dewey was a proponent of education being active and not passive. Since knowledge that is true in the present may not be true in the future, teachers need to equip the students with problem-solving strategies to find meaningful knowledge in all stages of their lives. (Parkway et al 86)- Children’s idea of music is holistic in nature. We “construct” a reality to understand the experiences we encounter, rather than just acquiring knowledge. (Kohn 5)I agree wholeheartedly with Wiggins’ philosophy on music education because it embraces the ideas of movement, engaging activities and learner-centeredness, all of which supports the readings we’ve encountered in “Musical Understanding.” This causes me to reflect and question: Are myactivities engaging students in musical thinking? Return to Action Plan
  8. 8. Technology in the ClassroomThe immediate feedback that technology brings is appealing for students who are working on developing their skills of instrumentplaying and/or hearing what they have written. Here are a few useful music education related websites that can enhance the learningexperience in current music classrooms:Name: Maestro ProtegéResource type: Interactive Game/WebsiteLink: Audience: Grades 4-8. I would recommended this to the junior and intermediate grades because of the speed of thegame, its focus on conducting orchestral instruments, and its links to information and videos about conducting.Purpose: To give students the opportunity to conduct a virtual orchestra by cueing the entrance of instrument sections for chosen score.*******Name: Arts Alive - MusicResource type: Interactive Games/Informational WebsiteLink: Audience: Grades K-8. The wide range of resources on this website can please students from K to 8. Resources includegames, links to information about instruments and composers, suggested compositional activities and music scores.Purpose: To offer an interactive website that invites students to “Learn all about orchestral music, the NAC orchestra, its musicians andfriends, great composers, conductors, and much more!”*******Name: PodomaticResource type: Podcast creatorLink: Audience: Grades 3-12. This easy to use podcast creator site allows students of all ages to experience creating podcastsof their recorded performances to share with others - for free! It would be a great project for music educators to work with their students.Purpose: To offer a site where podcasting is free and easily accessible. This site allows users to “create, mix, host, search, share andpodcatch podcasts and mp3s.” (Deitz 2005) Corey Deitz says that “PodOmatic provides ready-made music “beds”, or templates, for userswho do not have the required audio functionality readily available or have limited experience with audio creation software. These bedsfacilitate podcast creation for even the very beginners. Podcasters can mix audio directly on the podOmatic Web site – no downloading ofaudio files is required, and there is no charge to do so.” (Deitz 2005) Return to Action Plan
  9. 9. Movement in Music “T his pleasure which we derive from associating movement with music can perhaps account for the many styles of music, in all cultures, that have as their main purpose the opportunity for kinesthetic response. The close relationship between music, emotion, and the release of physical energy can perhaps begin to explain the appeal of the kinesthetic response for young people.” (Dura 131) Its true how our emotional responses to a piece of music varies according to the genre of music, the listeners age and the listeners cultural background. For instance, when I was teaching in Chile, I was often asked to teach kindergarten children songs that were “a little more Disney.” This led me to reflect and take my musical understanding, and their musical understanding, into consideration: Music in Latin America tends to have stronger and catchier rhythms -- perhaps they cannot relate to North American children folk songs and therefore find it “boring”; these young children are very active and expressive and may relate better to active and expressive music; I need to find songs that were more interesting for the teachers and children; and, how can I make the song choice more appealing and understandable for them? My solution? Diversify my song repertoire; use gestures to go along with songs; use games; vary activities between movement, instruments, and dance! This quote resonates with me because it brings us all back to Zenkers point about how we need to acknowledge the different "musical understandings" out there. Our task is to expand on their personal experiences by providing diverse and creative activities which will lead students towards achieving greater musical understanding. Play is “our innate mode of learning. From this magical behaviour spring the pleasures of learning, through exploration, experiment, discovery and analysis.” (Sullivan 180) Game types may include: Skill-building, instructive, integrative, investigative, performance, improvisation, composition. These variety of games ensure that students are involved in different ways of being engaged in the creative process. Wiggins agrees by saying, “[a] successful education is one that enables learners to think in multiple ways, in ways that are meaningful and personal, generating ownership and fostering growth.” (79) MORE!
  10. 10. Motivation through PlayExpectancy-Value Theory is defined as having three-parts: “[V]alues may be summarized as how theindividual feels about an object, competence may be summarized as how good the individual thinks they are at interacting with theobject, and expectancies as how much better they think they can become.” (Lowe 91) Understanding the expectancy, competence,and values of students will help educators better understand their attitudes, and motivation, towards music.Sullivan says, “The use of ‘play’ within teaching practice entails shifts in class management. Play encourages students tobe independent, to experiment and take risks; this requires an environment of safety and support.” (181) Games in the classroomrequires more than just clear instructions though; from my experience with young children, I have to agree with Sullivan that veryclear expectations about respect needs to be set ahead of the games in order to prevent negative attitudes (such as boasting whenone wins, or complaining because when they lose) from obscuring the main point of the game. The aim of the games is for children togain musical understanding in an explorative, fun, and engaging way. In the words of Sullivan, “This shift from a practice of disciplineand conformity to authority, to one of a self-governing respect for each individual and a code of practice for group responsibility,engenders an environment of trust and safety which is vital if creativity is to flourish.” (181)Lowe defines motivation as, “a drive or desires, [which] is manifest largely in action and behaviour. Action and behaviour isguided, biased and influenced by attitudes; attitudes therefore are central to the motivation equation.” (89)Lowe proposes that when designing tasks for increase of creativity in the classroom, the activities should: allow for reflection and self-appraisal, involve creative exploration, be authentic, is not limited to composing but also listening and performance. Lowe says,“[The] creative process is enjoyable for the creator ... it is a deeply personal process of exploration.” (92) Return to Action Plan
  11. 11. FISH IS FISH“F ish Is Fish (Lionni, 1970) describes a fish who is keenly interestedin learning about what happens on land, but the fish cannot explore land because it can only breathe in water. It befriends a tadpole who growsinto a frog and eventually goes out onto the land. The frog returns to the pond a few weeks later and reports on what he has seen. The frog describes all kinds of things like birds, cows, and people. The book shows pictures of the fish’s representations of each of these descriptions: each is a fish-like form that is slightly adapted to accommodate the frog’s descriptions— people are imagined to be fish who walk on their tailfins, birds are fish with wings, cows are fish with udders. This tale illustrates both the creative opportunities and dangers inherent in the fact that people construct new knowledge based on their current knowledge.” - Bransford et al. This story demonstrates that concepts that are explained by ateacher (like the frog in the story) are sometimes “understood” by the students (like the fish). However, in reality, and often unknown by the teacher nor the student, the concept is in fact misunderstood by the student due to the fact that the student may have taken the new knowledge and try to fit it into their prior knowledge. The story of “Fish is Fish” reminds us how we must remember to always take the students’ experiences intoaccount, and consider ways to find out how to prevent, or correct, possible misconceptions created by the students. Return to Action Plan
  12. 12. Classroom EnvironmentT he guidelines on classroom design in “How People Learn” offerssuggestions to answering my driving question: how to best motivateelementary students who display inappropriate behaviours in theclassroom. The following points were particularly relevant for myteaching for it shows that there may be many reasons why studentsmisbehave. Some considerations for me to keep in mind include:- Schools and classrooms must be learner-centered. Not only do teachers need to discover what knowledge, skills and attitudes that students bring into the classroom, but also their preconceptions. For example, if students believe that intelligence is a fixed entity, they may become focused on looking good and performing well, consequently become easily discouraged when the tasks become difficult and making them feel uncomfortable when they make mistakes.- Ongoing formative assessments to help teachers and students monitor their progress in learning, from knowing where their learning currently is, where they need to go, and how to get there.- Knowledge-centered - When teaching new concepts, considerations need to be made on what is being taught, why it is being taught, and what competence looks like.- Community-centered - Creating an environment where opportunities for mistakes allow for students to go through the process of taking feedback and revising their strategies to achieving understanding. Making connections to their outside world. Build a community of learners within the classroom, feel comfortable to question, explore, and discover together. Return to Action Plan
  13. 13. Change - Learning Centres Students can move from one center to the next with flow (little C hange is constantly happening around us. What makes it traffic). The music classroom has access to a few new technology equipments difficult for us to adapt to change is because we are naturally creatures of habit. We tend to establish routines, create that will be ideally, and effectively, used in activity centers. We will expectations, and strive to maintain control in what we do. have two computers, a few iTouchs (for composition activities), These days, it is more even more difficult for us to adapt to access to an interactive whiteboard, Orff instruments and other change because the nature of change itself is changing - from percussion instruments. A map of the centers will be made available contiguous change to concurrent change. Consequently, this for the students to follow. Instructions for activities and completed means we have less time to adapt to change. We adapt and work will be placed in binders that are found at each center. assimilate to change slowly. Change, or temporary loss of However, there are a few things to consider. The interactive control, can be difficult to cope. whiteboard is shared with the junior and intermediate division. In addition, this is the first time that activity centers are being implemented into the music classroom, therefore I will need toThe solution? We need to learn how to manage and embrace change. observe the speed at which the students move through each centerHow? By learning and understanding the nature of change, why (e.g. Will some centers take less time than others to complete? Willchange is difficult and how individuals react to change. As leaders, every student constantly have a station to work at, or will there be awe need to give attention to the human side of change in addition to wait time for a particularly more time consuming activity?). Somethe process of side of change. The best way to prepare ourselves for students who need clear directions may be confused with thechange is to pursue learning in order to continually reinvent our movement of students and multiple activities happening concurrently.selves. “Change may be constant and stressful, but it can also beenergizing, entertaining and a great source of productivity and Solution: I can speak with the other teachers and agree on when theinnovation.” (Caudron) interactive whiteboard can be made available in the music room. In terms of the timing for each station, I can go through each activity toA change that I would like to take on in my own classroom is to ensure that students will have the tools to complete them within theimplement activity centers in the music classroom. similar amount of time. For students who work quickly and to prevent line ups for a particular center, I can include “Challenge”Students are able to learn from the activities either individually or activities at each center for those who have completed theirthrough collaboration with their peers at each center. Students will be assignments and wish to delve further into that centers topic. Toable to demonstrate the creative process in their interaction with, help keep each student on task and organized, I will give eachand their completed product at, each center. Activities will be student a map with all the centers diagramed and check boxes forengaging and offer students a variety of ways to experience music. students to keep track of which activities they have completed andThe set-up of the centers will be clearly identifiable in the classroom. where to go next. Return to Action Plan
  14. 14. Philosophy of musical learning“... [H]umans strive, not only to survive in the world, but also to make sense of it.” - Dura Reflecting upon my philosophy of musical learning atthis point in the course, I have discovered that the topics of technology and multicultural education in the music classroom strengthens and supports the creative andcritical thinking aspects of musical understanding. Wiggins says that “[a] successful education is one that enables learners to think in multiple ways, in ways that aremeaningful and personal, generating ownership and fostering growth.” (Wiggins 79) With that in mind, a successful music education for immigrant children from non-Western musical upbringings requires these children to also experience ownership and meaningful music lessons in their new country. To reach this “multiculturalendeavor”, Campbell says that music educators need “to seek ways to match program offerings to student needs, to understand differentiated learning modalities, todevelop social transaction skills, and to gain as teachers the cultural competence to communicate music—any music—to young people of various culturalbackgrounds.” (Campbell)A solution to this challenge is to incorporate the careful use of technology in the music classroom. Technology can encourage learners to think creatively and critically,encourage students to take ownership of their learning, and to provide immigrant children with musical situations they can relate to. Through thoughtful selection andevaluation of technological resources available, careful consideration of certain negative consequences that could result from the use of technology (i.e. reliance oncomputers may decrease development of musical judgements abilities), and a fine balance between technological activities and “live performance” activities (such asinstrument playing, singing and movement) music educators can open up opportunities for students of varying cultures to dialogue, share their music, compose creatively,and experience further “upshots” for greater musical understanding. We must also consider the prior knowledges, attitudes, and musical understandings of our students inorder to know how to best motivate them through our choice of lesson activities.As I had said once before in this course: as a music educator, I am encouraged to further deepen my own understanding of how to teach for musical understanding in aconstructivist and learner-centered manner by incorporating both creative and critical thinking in the activities. Whether our students become future musicians, musicteachers, administrators, or music consumers, musical understanding will, moreover, teach these future leaders how to discuss their appreciation for music. Return to Action Plan
  15. 15. Bransford, John D et al. 2000. How People Learn. Washington: National Academy of Sciences.Campbell, Patricia Shehan. “Music Education in a Time of Cultural Transformation.” Music Educators Journal. 89, no. 1 (September 2002): 27-33.Caudron, Shari. 1999. “Take Charge of Change.” Business Finance. <>Dura, M. T. 2002. “Movement and Music: The Kinesthetic Dimension of the Music Listening Experience” Musical Understanding. Toronto: CMEA.Lowe, Geoffrey. 2002. “Creativity and Motivation.” Creativity and Music Education. Toronto: CMEA.“PodOmatic Brings Podcast Creation and More to the Masses.” <>Shand, Patricia M. 2002. “Creating Music in the Classroom.” Creativity and Music Education. Toronto: CMEA.Sullivan, Timothy. 2002. “Creativity in Action.” Creativity and Music Education. Toronto: CMEA.Wiggins, Jackie. 2002. “Creative Process as Meaningful Music Thinking.” Creativity and Music Education. Toronto: CMEA.Zenker, Renate. 2002. “The Dynamic and Complex Nature of Musical Understanding.” Musical Understanding. Toronto: CMEA.All photos were taken by Catherine Lee :)