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Action Research 2009


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Action Research 2009

  1. 1. Students’ Engagement in Choral Activities<br />Action Research project<br />Dr. Adriana Janse van Rensburg<br />
  2. 2. “ Action research involves teachers identifying a school-based topic or problem to study, collecting and analyzing information to solve or understand a teaching problem or helping teachers understand aspects of their practice. Action research is educative, focuses on teachers and schools, focuses on problems of practice, and aims at improving practice.” (Gay & Airasian, 2003, p.262).<br />Action Research<br />
  3. 3. Description of the problem<br />Aim of the study<br />Study domain and time frame<br />Background <br />Methodology<br />Findings<br />Discussion<br />Conclusion<br />Format<br />
  4. 4. When are middle school students most engaged in the choral lesson? <br />How can the choral lesson components be designed to maximize student engagement and thereby, student learning? <br />Are there guidelines the choral teacher could use as he/she prepares the curriculum or plans a lesson? <br />Description of the problem<br />
  5. 5. Main Objective<br />The main objective of this study is to describe the nature and extent of student engagement in a variety of choral lesson activities.<br />Aim of the study<br />
  6. 6. whether and to what extent the engagement in choral lesson activities are determined by the activity level (single or multi-dimensional) and/or task complexity.<br />establishing the quality of the engagement, i.e. the success and quality of the task performed which could indicate peak experience, or “flow” (Csiksentmihalyi, 1990) for the student. <br />implications for developing choral lesson plans and designing choral activities that could direct teaching and learning for the middle school student.<br />Secondary aims<br />
  7. 7. Students in 7th grade<br />The participation and engagement of a single 7th grade class in choral activities as presented in a series of 10 consecutive choral lessons within a single middle school<br />The observation of the selected class over the time period of one month at alternate day intervals totaling the 10 lessons of approximately 45 to 50 minutes per lesson<br />Study domain<br />
  8. 8. General observations on the choral lesson and typical activities within the lesson were made. The nature of these activities are examined and discussed with respect to their activity level, complexity level and cognitive/kinesthetic demand.<br />Methodology<br />
  9. 9. A measuring tool, The Choral Typology, was developed that identified selected tasks across the spectrum of choral lesson activities, viz. listening, aural, theory, sight reading, learning new repertoire, rehearsing known repertoire. Two or more activities were selected to represent the category. The activities were presented to the class and the teacher observed student engagement by counting students as they engaged, or attempted to engage, in the activity. The data was recorded, documented and graphed. <br />
  10. 10. Type A Activities<br />Teacher directed<br />Single-dimensional<br />Mainly visual and aural mode <br />Type B Activities<br />Student directed<br />Multi-dimensional<br />Visual, aural, kinesthetic, interpersonal <br />Choral Typology<br />
  11. 11. Choral activities delineation<br />y-axis<br /> Warm-ups<br /> vocalizations<br /> theory<br /> aural<br />x-axis<br />Type A activities Type B activities<br /> sight reading<br /> learning new repertoire<br /> rehearsing known repertoire<br /> <br />
  12. 12. Type A and Type B activitiese.g. Warm-ups<br />TYPE A<br />TYPE B<br /> Solfege scale: Students standing, singing solfege scale.<br />Triads: singing d,m,s.<br />Solfege scale: students singing solfege scale including arm movements demonstrating pitch or Curwen hand signs.<br />Triads: students in a circle, singing activity includes big ball=doh, medium sized ball = me and small ball = soh. Passing the ball, group and individual d,m,s responses.<br />
  13. 13.  <br /> <br />
  14. 14. Percentage of students participating<br />
  15. 15. FINDINGS<br />The findings across the x-axis indicate that Type B activities (learner centered/multi-dimensional) showed overall better student engagement than Type A activities (teacher directed/single-dimensional). <br />The respective gains (percentage-wise) of B over A are: <br /><ul><li>16% in warm-ups,
  16. 16. 9% in aural,
  17. 17. 9% in theory,
  18. 18. 17% in sight-reading,
  19. 19. 18% in learning new repertoire,
  20. 20. and 11% in rehearsing known repertoire. </li></ul>The most dominant categories reflecting the greatest gains are new repertoire and sight reading. The overall student engagement of this chorus following Type A activities only averages 82% (average student presence N=17.5). In contrast, the overall student engagement for this chorus following a Type B activities only lesson averages 95%, an overall improvement of 13%. <br />
  21. 21. X-axis comparison<br />
  22. 22. The findings across the y-axis indicate the greatest student engagement in <br /><ul><li>learning new repertoire (97%)
  23. 23. theory (97%),
  24. 24. aural (95%)
  25. 25. singing known repertoire (95%)
  26. 26. sight-reading (94%)
  27. 27. And warm-ups (93%), all of the Type B variety. </li></ul>The least favorite activities were warm-ups of the Type A variety (77%) and sight-reading Type A (77%). <br />The lowest scores for any activity on any given day was warm-ups Type A (62%) student engagement, followed by sight-reading Type A (68% and again at 69%) student engagement. <br />
  28. 28. Y-axis comparison<br />
  29. 29. Maximum participation occurred in tongue-twister or catchy words type warm-ups, e.g. Peter Piper and “the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips”. Also, warm-ups that involve some form of playfulness involving peers e.g. singing Hey you, who me, yes you while pointing to someone, then to self and then pointing randomly at three friends. <br />Notable was that students would sing the solfege scale (N=19) at 78.9% engagement, but the same scale with Curwen hand signs added resulted in 94.7% participation.<br />Discussion<br />THEORY<br />WARM - UPS<br />Activities that involved a competitive factor garnered much enthusiasm and maximum participation. Red team vs. Blue team games involved speed drills on note values, packing out rhythms with rhythm cards, etc. Much enthusiasm to perform Speech Chorus songs using words as opposed to rhythmic notation exercises on time names (ta, ti-ti). Rhythmic patterns that involved a sound effect on a rest e.g. “s” on the quarter rest, whisper “top hat” on the half rest or “z-z-z” on the whole rest, was enthusiastically received with 100% participation on a straightforward rhythm pattern.<br />
  30. 30. One of the most significant contributions this research project can make is in the area of lesson plan design and, <br />selection of instructional activities to the middle school choral teacher. <br />Future lesson activity design should include creative, interesting, challenging, multi-dimensional activities that result in greater student engagement.<br />Conclusion <br />
  31. 31. Specific indicators to include: quicker tempi, catchy/tongue-twister type words, elements of play (fun hand signs, pointing), peer involvement, effects (such as novel sound effects, unexpected sounds, body percussion) with the voice, manipulatives (cards, paddles, balls), competition, speed, imagery, and a generally fast paced lesson. <br />Activities that include kinesthetic involvement and the imagination should be included in future lessons as they resulted in more student engagement. Warm-ups with hand or arm movement, imagery (puppet on a string, rotate your listening “antennae”) are particularly successful. Use of image and metaphor are perceived as a form of fun, or a pretend game. <br />
  32. 32. This action research project has shown that preparation and implementation of challenging, interesting and creative musical experiences can significantly increase student engagement. In designing future lessons it should also be kept in mind that engaging students in thinking and analyzing is equally as important as singing.<br />
  33. 33. Learners vary and learning styles vary. Future lessons should include activities of the multi-dimensional type to engage ALL students.<br />The music is the ultimate product, but performing it with understanding is the ultimate goal, therefore a wide-spectrum, multi-dimensional activity level should be observed in lessons as it provides “understanding” opportunity for the maximum number of students.<br />
  34. 34.<br /><br />