Theses Doctoral

Music Teacher Education and Gert Biesta’s Three Educational Domains: Qualification, Socialization, and Subjectification

Jordan, Robert Curtis

This dissertation is about an approach to music teacher education that attempts to prepare pre-service music teachers to find employment while also preparing them to improve the realities of school teaching and learning for themselves and their students. Approaches to music teacher education in the United States have moved from broad one-size-fits-all approaches to specialized approaches that track music education majors into vocal, instrumental, and general music specialties. And at some universities, music teacher educators have considered what it might mean to prepare music education students for state licensure policies that favor all-encompassing licenses, (i.e., P–12 Music, and a marketplace that increasingly seeks broadly qualified teachers).

To learn more about the latter approach, East Coast University’s music teacher education program was identified through purposeful selection for examination via intrinsic case study. Through snowball sampling, five faculty members were selected for teaching observations and interviews. In addition, focus groups of student and alumni (self-selected through volunteer sampling) helped develop my understanding and description of the case, and identification of a resultant, overarching theme. The research was focused through Biesta’s three domains of educational purpose beginning with the formation of research questions in each Biestian domain: qualification, socialization, and subjectification.

The overarching theme presented in this dissertation involves a dualistic approach to music teacher education: East Coast University prepares music teachers with the skills to win and keep the job and to be change agents capable of improving their educational landscapes. As a result of my research and lengthy field engagement, I believe the preparation ECU music education students receive can be expressed as the tension between broad preparation and a personal orientation. It’s not a universal preparation; rather, it’s the ability to move flexibly across large educational domains, and at the same time, develop a kind of personal orientation that is connected to the particular. This connection is the particularness of who they are as teachers, their own biographies—the lives that they’ve lived, and the specifics of how they’ve lived those lives. In fact, that’s the beginning of a justice-based approach—to know oneself and to be able to work strategically within the particulars of a community.

Throughout this intrinsic case study, my own pre-service and in-service teaching stories are interwoven with the participants’ stories in ways that are intended to address my positionality, contextualize the theoretical framework, and examine more deeply emergent research understandings. Recommendations are made for future research and practice, and a final personal reflection considers my still evolving approach to music teacher education and how it was influenced by this study.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Allsup, Randall Everett
Parkes, Kelly A.
Ed.D.C.T., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 22, 2022