Theses Doctoral

(Open Market + Deregulation) ÷ Competition = Innovation + Excellence: The Experiences of Music Teachers in the Age of Neoliberal Reform

Nicholson, George

A music teacher’s place of work—the school, the geographical focus of this dissertation—is always in a state of reform and thus what constitutes quality work within this space is also in constant flux. Contemporary schooling exists in and as a marketplace shaped by neoliberal policies, with goods managed by a cacophony of entities from governmental programs to private organizations. These policies are not only a structural change, but also a method of forming and reforming teachers. Necessarily—inevitably— policy changes what learning looks like, how it is accomplished, and who the music teacher is. The purpose of this study is to explore the lived experiences of music teachers who work and interact within the phenomenon of contemporary neoliberal-influenced schools. I examine how music teachers operate and think, maneuver and resist, choose and refuse, submit and comply within the forces that define the conditions of contemporary schools. This topic was examined through a phenomenological case study of a private non- profit organization that manages music teachers in public school settings. Data came from the lived experiences of 8 music teachers, which were elicited through interviews and observations, as well as participant-researcher journals and document collection. Analysis indicated that the phenomenon of contemporary schooling is unique in the ways that teachers enter into the new space, the ways in which work towards or in opposition to performance expectations, and the ways in which they find support in working through perceived contradictions. Implications reveal the ways that education policies shape teacher identity and quality teaching and learning.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Allsup, Randall Everett
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 29, 2020