The professional identity of independent piano teachers
Garmanian Jording, Garinee
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The purpose of this study was to examine selected aspects of American independent piano teachers’ demographics and attitudes toward their professional identity using Stryker’s (1980) structural identity theory as the theoretical framework. This theory, which deals with components of role commitment and role identity, was used as the framework for an examination of how certain defining events and experiences relate to perceived professional identities of independent piano teachers. Four research questions and related null hypotheses were investigated by means of a survey questionnaire adapted from previous studies on identity theory (Callero, 1985; Curry, 1993; Curry & Weaner, 1987; Jackson, 1981; Stryker & Serpe, 1982). The survey questionnaire was administered to 4,000 randomly selected piano teachers who were members of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) as of October 3, 2016, and located throughout the United States. A total of 421 returned surveys were deemed useable for the purpose of this study, for a response rate of 10.5%. I examined associations between certain defining events and experiences (e.g., certification status; level of education; leadership roles at local, state, and national levels; networking with other piano teachers; participation in state and national conferences), and the four dependent variables under examination. Findings revealed low to low moderate positive correlations between the defining events and experiences scale and all four dependent variables: (a) self in role (identity salience) (r = .242), (b) role commitment (r = .317), (c) time spent in role (r = .172), and (d) expressed satisfaction in role (r = .218). Significant differences were also found between the three independent variables (levels of certification status, levels of education, and years of teaching experience) and three of the four dependent variables under investigation (role commitment, time spent in role, and expressed satisfaction in role). Overall, the results of this study showed the applicability of identity theory to the study of identity among independent piano teachers. Findings from this study may potentially deepen insights relating to the piano teacher role. Additionally, findings may provide a better understanding of how certain defining events and experiences help shape piano teachers’ professional identity.