Theses Doctoral

The Experiences of Elementary School Cooperating Music Teachers: a Phenomenological Case Study

Kim, Jieun

This study details how elementary school cooperating music teachers (CMTs) describe their mentoring experiences and the impact of these experiences on their teaching practices, as well as their personal and professional development. CMTs, as influential contributors to the development of student teachers (STs), have been documented to play significant roles in the student teaching process. However, there is little literature on how CMTs frame their own experiences, including the roles they play, strategies they have developed to mentor STs, and the identified challenges and rewards of their work. Therefore, I prioritized CMTs as the primary focus of this study to collect data specific to the details of their mentoring experiences. Ideally, other CMTs may relate their own experiences to CMTs highlighted in this study.

I employed a phenomenological interview approach to solicit three elementary school CMTs’ descriptions of their CMT experiences. Two key categories emerged from participants’ reports: their professional competencies and personal competencies. Conveying professional competencies was an important practice for CMTs in order to offer STs the most effective learning-to-teaching experiences. Participants demonstrated their expertise to guide professional growth in STs adequately and collaborated with STs to find most educative practices for both themselves and STs, as well as students. Their professional demeanor and performances were also embedded in all aspects of teaching to perform their CMT roles ethically and professionally. Further, as long-term CMTs, their knowledge of the profession and their proficiency as reflective practitioners defined their professional competencies. Participants’ wide range of personal competencies encompassed their feelings of high pressure, disappointment with their STs, and enjoyment of the rewarding nature of the CMT role. Their personal competencies were also linked to their continued performances as CMTs. Participants experienced a transformation from model classroom teachers to teacher–educators in their CMT roles, which was integral in developing their professional identities. They combined memories from their past and the meaning of their present experiences to create expectations for their future experiences. Their emerging professional identities are likely to expand in positive ways as they contemplate their future CMT experience.


  • thumnail for Kim_tc.columbia_0055E_11025.pdf Kim_tc.columbia_0055E_11025.pdf application/pdf 1000 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Custodero, Lori
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 13, 2020