Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ensemble educators, administrators, and evaluation: support, survival, and navigating change in a high-stakes environment
by Bernard, Cara Faith, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2015, 279; 3704455
Abstract (Summary)

This study examined the ways in which mid-career ensemble directors and administrators (some with musical and some without musical background) described the effect of implementing standardized teacher evaluations on their practices and perspectives. Participants described the application and critique of the evaluation tools, particularly the Danielson Framework for Teaching, on their process and pedagogy. There is little information on how in-service teachers—specifically ensemble directors—locate themselves in their practice and how they articulate their process and pedagogy. There is also little literature on mid-career teachers, both in identity formation and self-reflection. Mid-career ensemble educators who have an established professional identity may find imbalance in light of the new policies, and have to negotiate and manage the contemporary evaluation systems predominantly designed for English and Math. Further, if supervisors do not understand what learning and assessment processes look like in a middle or high school band, orchestra, or chorus setting, they might try to evaluate with criteria that apply to a social studies or chemistry class. Without critically reflecting on how these evaluations affect pedagogy and process, educators may fall into routines of trying to reach a particular benchmark, instead of imagining ways to engage with their students.

A phenomenological interview approach was used to solicit the participants’ voices and to allow their narratives to describe their lived experiences with teacher evaluation in ensembles. The participants’ personal and shared narratives help to better explain and navigate the changing waves of educational policy. Data collection involved interviews and document review of the contemporary evaluation systems, in particular, the Danielson Framework for Teaching. Data analysis uncovered themes of conflicting identities in the classroom, misaligned interpretations of student-centered learning, as well as discourses based on location and the privileges associated with place. Teachers negotiated their performer/conductor and educator selves; administrators negotiated their leader and educator selves.

This study found that the Danielson evaluative tool, when poorly implemented in an ensemble setting, is faulted and lacks content validity. Additionally, while ensembles function rather traditionally in public schools, embracing a more open rehearsal pedagogy with conductor as facilitator may help to assure more student-centered learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Abeles, Harold F., Allsup, Randall E.
Commitee: Brown, Daniel, Chatterji, Madhabi
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
Department: Arts and Humanities
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Music education, Teacher education
Keywords: Administrator evaluation, Ensemble evaluation, Music education policy, Music teacher evaluation, Music teacher professional development, Teacher identity
Publication Number: 3704455
ISBN: 978-1-321-76870-1
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