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  • Confirmation of Candidature - Candidate : Emma Dron

Confirmation of Candidature - Candidate : Emma Dron

Towards a Social Imagination in Music Education: An Action Research Case Study Exploring Educating School Musicians as Social Changemakers Within an Aesthetic Educational Framework.
01 SEP 2023
9.00 AM - 10.30 AM
Online via Zoom

At a time in human history, when we stand in the wake of a global pandemic, political unrest, climate change and the rapidly evolving challenges associated with artificial intelligence, educators are increasingly being called upon to adapt their practices to support the complex environments in which they and their students are situated. Despite the Arts being considered core to the development of "creative, confident, compassionate and resilient individuals" (ACARA), there are national and international reports of declining numbers of students engaging in arts subjects (Aróstegui, 2016; Ng & Hartwig, 2011), and schools are reportedly reducing time allocated to the study of the arts (Kerby et al, 2021). This reduction is compounded by concerns that even in instances where arts subjects are being delivered, the broad aims and objectives of arts curricula such as, supporting the development of individuals who can "think and reflect critically, celebrate and challenge ideas, people and events, and work towards making a difference in sustaining and reimagining their own and their communities' futures",  (ACARA), are not being translated into action in the classroom (Chapman et al, 2019). Inspired by the big ideas articulated in the Arts rationale of the Australian Curriculum, this study aims to explore the development of a pedagogical framework for use in a music classroom, informed by the principles of aesthetic education to assist in the teaching of music for change making and the fostering of a social imagination.

Australian Arts educator and researcher, Robyn Ewing suggests that for the "big ideas" evident in the arts curriculum to become fully realised, teachers must themselves, become aesthetic educators, "who can help children make meaningful links with their minds, bodies and emotions" (Ewing, 2010). However, subsequent studies focusing on music education have highlighted a tendency for music teachers to prioritise more teacher centred, skills-based approaches to music instruction (Allsup, 2016), while other academic disciplines have moved towards student-centered approaches to learning as best practice (Coates, 2020).

Using Participatory Action Research (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2000), this study aims to address the challenge of a transactional approach to music education being forced upon teachers. It aims to offer a new way to - improve student engagement in music, building teacher capacity for aesthetic education-based approaches, and providing a model for teaching towards the fostering of a social imagination.  In the proposed study, a composition project between a middle school music class and a local Children's Hospital will be developed to explore the rich possibilities in meeting the curriculum objectives and providing the students with a unique, real-world experience of the role and power of music beyond the classroom.

For more information, please email the Graduate Research School or phone 0746 311088.