Reflecting on two years at Teachers College

| May 9, 2011

In one week from tomorrow my education at Teachers College will come to an end; it is hard to believe that it as already been two years.

I came to teachers college with a BA in music from a very traditional music program. My undergraduate education focused on performing, learning theory, ear training, history etc. Grades were assigned based on performance, and exams. From day one the focus was on the product; how you got an A did not seem to matter as long as that’s what you received.

When I entered Teachers College the first class I attended was Creativity and Problem Solving in Music Education; I had no idea what to expect. I was surprised when the first assignment was to create a composition using three pitch classes. How was I supposed to make something sound good using C, D# and G?. I completed the  assignment and remember being amazed at the variety in the compositions of my classmates; there were only three pitch classes, but the possibilities seemed endless. Throughout the year there was a theme of constructivism and an emphasis on the importance of the process of education vs the product. We saw different forms of assessment that can be used in music education ranging from using rubrics to recording our students performances.

This past year, while student teaching, I have had the opportunity to observe and use a variety of teaching strategies. Each of my cooperating teachers had very different ideas of how to assess their students and how to manage their classrooms. Throughout the year I noticed that I was forming my own philosophy of music education and was beginning to get a clearer picture of what I would like my music classroom to look like. It amazes me how after two years at Teachers College I am at a completely different place than when I began. I never saw myself as a someone who enjoyed experimenting with creativity, but I come away seeing the enormous benefits of using creative strategies. For most of my life I have experienced teachers dictating everything that occurs in the classroom. I now believe that we need to give students a say in their education and be willing to alter the way we teach; realizing that our students are individuals and what works best when teaching one student may not be effective in teaching another.