Reading the song: diverse perspectives on music and literacy integration
Marrero, Eunice Franchesca
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This qualitative study was designed to ascertain the perceptions of music educators, curriculum specialists and principals regarding music and literacy integration in the music classroom. Six elementary music teachers from a diversity of school districts and representative of varied socio-economic school backgrounds were interviewed in-depth. Three school principals and three curriculum specialists were also interviewed with similar questions in order to enrich the understanding of their own perceptions of the inclusion of music and literacy integration in the music classroom. To ensure quality and validity of interview questions and that they accurately reflected the meaning and purpose of the research questions, only those questions that were positively rated by a pilot group were included in the interview protocol. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Using the computer software HyperRESEARCH, the interview data was inventoried, organized and coded. All participants reflected on the functionality of music education to further the development or reinforcement of literacy skills. In addition, participants mentioned a diversity of activities occurring in the music classroom that facilitate music and literacy integration such as reading music-related literature, performing speech pieces, song composition, and visually tracking iconic representations. Music teachers expressed that approaches such as Kodály, which emphasizes sound before symbol, and Orff, with an emphasis on speech and rhythmic activities, align with the integration of music and literacy. Most teachers reported feeling quite confident with this strategy. According to participants’ perceptions, schools lack specific music and literacy integration professional development. Additional research is certainly needed regarding the commonalities between music and literacy. Also, additional research regarding music and literacy integration professional development for educators should be performed in order to purposefully design and plan these opportunities. In addition to training, music teachers, classroom teachers and curriculum specialists should combine their areas of expertise in collaboration in order to research, plan and design effective music and literacy integration activities that they all can use in their respective classrooms. Not only they will be able to customize this strategy to their campus’ needs, but also this collaboration can potentially improve the climate of the school as everybody’s knowledge is appreciated and taken into consideration.
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