THE PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES OF OʻAHU ELEMENTARY MUSIC EDUCATORS: WHERE WE ARE AND WHERE WE COULD BE

Date
2023
Authors
Lippert, Amanda
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Simpson Steele, Jamie
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Educational Administration
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Music education does not look the same in Hawaiʻi as in other states or parts of the world. This study paints a picture of the range of elementary music teacher positions in Oʻahu schools and identifies the current needs of music educators. How are Oʻahu elementary music teachers prepared to fulfill their professional roles and responsibilities? What kinds of supports do Oʻahu elementary music teachers experience? What kinds of challenges do Oʻahu elementary music teachers experience? What is the role of culture in Oʻahu elementary music classrooms? This research project was an exploratory, collective case study, informed by Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism and Dewey’s theory of experience. I conducted semi-structured interviews with 18 participants who teach elementary school on the island of Oʻahu, including public schools, charter schools, and independent schools. I also consulted public documents such as census data and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education and demographic information to provide historical context. The following themes arose from the interviews: Preparation and Teaching Responsibilities, Supports, Challenges, and Culture. Findings indicate elementary music educators’ preparation, roles, expectations, priorities, and structures vary according to the context within which they teach. This study confirms that some elementary music schools employ full-time music educators, and some have part-time ones. The range of student populations served by my participants in full-time jobs was 46–880, indicating a significant range in school structures and teaching duties. While there were similar overarching structures in the DOE employees’ job positions, the charter school and independent school participants were in most cases extreme outliers to those structures. In addition, this study provides insight into which professional development types would be most effective and beneficial to music educators.
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Educational administration, Culture in Music Education, Educator Challenges, Educator Preparation, Educator Supports, Elementary Music Educators
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186 pages
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