Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Why music teachers remain in the profession: Conversations with career music educators
by Siebert, Johanna J., Ph.D., University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, 2008, 147; 3295324
Abstract (Summary)

Ever-increasing attrition statistics cite unsatisfactory work conditions and lack of administrative support as reasons for leaving the field of music education, yet more music teachers remain in the profession than those who leave. In this qualitative study I investigated what enables the development and support of career music educators.

Research questions probed why music teachers remain in their field and what support systems and work conditions are conducive to their retention. Qualitative research protocols for focus group interviews were utilized to answer these questions. Subjects with teaching experience ranging from 5 to 23 years were organized into categories of school level teaching assignments and levels of experience for interactive conversations with other music teachers. In these focus groups, 15 participants discussed their personal experiences and reasons for continued work in music education. Field notes and audiotapes of the groups' interviews were transcribed and analyzed to provide insights into individual reasons for career longevity. These data were then interpreted to answer the posed research questions.

Responses from the focus group interviews revealed that career music educators find adequate music supplies and materials, a viable music curriculum, and realistic teaching schedules to be supportive conditions in their work. They also consider administrative support of their autonomous efforts to be crucial to their job satisfaction. Increasing numbers of positive experiences may also help to account for growing levels of career fulfillment.

Career music educators require appropriate professional development to increase their levels of competence; participation in such workshops also allows them to connect with other music teachers to build and share a sense of authentic self. Music colleagues are essential to career music educators, and they help to make each others' work meaningful and uplifting.

The participants in this study share the attributes of autonomous actions, inter-relatedness, and competence in their developing careers. The synthesis of these characteristics produces self-determination in individuals, which is in accordance with Deci and Ryan's theory of self-determination (1985). Results of the study suggest that career music educators develop and remain in the profession because of their self-determined and intrinsically motivated behaviors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fox, Donna Brink
School: University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Music education, Teacher education
Keywords: Administrative support, Career music educators, Music teachers, Professional development, Retention, Self-determination theory, Teacher retention
Publication Number: 3295324
ISBN: 978-0-549-39880-6
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