Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week 2: How should people be taught music?

       In our second week of history & philosophy of education, we covered several areas of metacognition, and touched on different elements of the who, what, where, when and why of music education. We split into groups to define the Core Philosophical Points of View (Functional, Aesthetic, Praxial, Sociological, and Cognitive). More small group work was done in relating the previous readings of Plato and Aristotle to the Housewright Declaration. My favorite quote from the declaration is the opening line that states; "Whenever and wherever humans have existed music has existed also". My small group had the topic of "when?" in relation to the early European Philosophers as well as the Housewright Declaration. The consensus was that all people should have a sound, balanced music education all the way through their academic career, to establish the basis for a lifetime of learning, hearing, and appreciating music.

      A large part of this week's discussion revolved around technology in the classroom; the biggest argument being for/against the usage of laptops in our own History & Philosophy class. This debate split the room roughly 2:1 in opposition. One student brought up the convenience of being able to type up notes and then immediately/easily transfer everything to their blog. Some students complained that they write much slower than they type, and it would be more efficient to type things up on their laptops. In general, I believe the whole debate was a waste of class time, and showed the immaturity of many of the undergraduate students. Clearly for some it was just a ploy to be able to use Facebook and email during class. Speaking as a student on the other side of the laptop screens, it is tragically apparent how short our generation's attention span is, and how much time students waste in class not paying attention. These students have been babied throughout their undergraduate career, and I honestly feel bad for them when they try to get a job in education and the reality check that will undoubtedly hit them.
    My reason for exasperation over the laptop usage was simply because it was set out in the classroom rules from Day 1 by the teacher. As future educators (possibly), these kids need to see that a teacher should not have to bend the rules to appease the needs of the students.
     We also discussed how humans have gotten along up until this point without needing to type everything or be connected to the internet at all times. Someone brought up the fact the many schools no longer require kids to learn cursive! This led to a much more relative discussion on what should be taught in schools and how it relates to music education.

    All of these discussions (vaguely) concerned how musical education should be taught. The Housewright Declaration summed it up, saying that the concepts must be preserved through time, while being kept relevant to new technology. I believe it is our duty as teachers to present material in the most up-to-date media format as is necessary and efficient. However, if students can get the same work done by using an old-fashioned pencil and paper, then by all means they should. Technology is an extremely useful tool, but it should never be a crutch. 

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