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My Manifesto

Who Am I? Who do I want to be? From what locations do you speak from?
These are the questions that James had hit us at the start of the semester.

Throughout teaching piano in these past few years, I have realised and grown to be attached to teaching. There were ups and downs, but overall I strongly believe that there is a satisfaction for me when I see my students achieving, challenged and learning. The most important factor that continues to spark my passion for teaching is seeing the happiness that appear on the students’ faces. Furthermore, their smiles when they are enjoying learning and sharing a similar excitement with me during the lessons continuously push my passion for teaching.
One of the beliefs I’ve always had as a teacher is to build a positive relationship between my students. I want to create a learning environment where students can look upon me to guide their journey both as a teacher and as a very close friend. And most of all, I really want my students to create a domino effect where they realise the positive impacts of teachers, and gives these positive impacts back to others.

In the future, when I am teaching in front of thirty kids instead of a single kid, I can already see a million different points for me to improve myself. Lets start off with challenging myself and my students.

Challenging myself is always my biggest weakness. Everytime when I set myself a new challenge, I always find an excuse to let loose on the challenge because I am too nice to myself. In the future, I want to be able to challenge myself as well as challenge my students.
The start of my challenge is actually teaching in a classroom setting. When I had started the degree, I didn’t really feel like teaching in front of multiple students was possible for me. “Teaching one student was hard enough, how can I teach thirty students at once?!” is what I clearly remember saying at the start of the semester. Now after a whole year, I am more than excited to teach in a classroom environment. I really want to be able to utilize all the theories that we have discussed in lectures and tutorials. Informal learning, collaborative learning, Kodaly approach, Orff approach. All of these theories and approaches that I can utilize in a classroom, and I really want to utilize them!
I think the biggest difference is the amount of knowledge that I have gained throughout the semeter. I was able to build more confidence and am feeling more safe and confidence in standing in front of a class.

Similarly, students are usually always scared to step an inch outside of their comfort zone. Therefore, I want to be able to create situations where I challenge my students, and they are able to gain a positive feedback in the process of overcoming the challenge. There are plenty of challenges that kids and teenagers face already, so I definitely don’t want to push my luck on their attitudes, but I do want to create some challenges in my music classrooms such as: forcing them to use musical softwares and getting them to step outside of their comfort zones – composition or performance.

So I guess to return back to the original question, Who do I want to be? Well, I want to be a teacher that is able to challenge myself to use different repertoire, experiment with different activities, and realising different obstacles to overcome along my teaching journey. I want to also be a teacher that is able to create challenges for my students, and assisting my students to overcome these challenges.

Another issue I can see myself facing is adaptation. There will be plenty of things to adapt to such as workload, stress, different environment and many more. In the classroom, I will need to adapt to teaching multiple students at once, adapt to different classroom environments, different students in each classroom, behaviour management, the list just goes on and on.
But with all new things, adapting to challenges and overcoming them (hint to the above point) is just a part of the learning process. You won’t be able to learn if you dont overcome challenges, and you wont be able to overcome challenges if you dont put yourself to adapt to them. Entering a new and unfamiliar environment will for-sure be stressful and challenging – but gathering new experiences and adapting to different experiences is the best way to grow and overcome challenges.

Another very important part in adaptation is adapting to modern day. We should utilize modern day methods and technology to teach modern day born students because that allows students to be connected and engaged in their work (Barab, Gresalfi, Pettyjohn, & Solomou, 2012). This is one of the things that many music teachers tend to fall short on. Students tend to feel unengaged in music education because it not relatable and irrelevant to their own lives (Goble, 2009). Such example can be the current online teaching and social distancing situation. Music teachers must adapt to these circumstances and overcome the challenges.
We are in the modern era, students are also part of the modern era – therefore we should utilize more modern day software and technology to implement into our lessons to allow students to feel that music education can be relevant to their lives.

Drawing back to the question, Who do I want to be? I want to be a teacher that is able to adapt to different situations, gathering experience from these situations and adapting my teaching pedagogy with these experiences. I also want to be able to adapt to the modern day technology and apply my teaching method into the modern day world because I want students to feel that music education can most definitely be relevant to their lives.

Lastly, an improvement I want to see myself is to implement more student voice into my teaching. Currently, I have already been implementing student voice into my piano lessons. But I want to let these choices be more controlled. I want to have implement student voice into my teaching with reasoning and purpose, not because im simply a ‘nice’ teacher.
Welcoming student’s own music can be incredibly inclusive and creates a democractic classroom culture. However, there will be drawbacks such as cultural conflict, arguments in values and ideologies in a classroom. Therefore, I will need to implement student voice very carefully. Kallio (2017) talks about four musical features that teachers should consider when welcoming student’s own music. These are: Lyrics, Imagery, Musical mood and emotional effect. These four features are very important to consider when implementing an activity that gathers student’s own music.
Personally, I think that it is incredibly hard to implement an activity that allows students to choose their own music. However, I also believe that there are always possible ways to implement ideas.

So, returning back to the question, Who do I want to be? I want to become a teacher that is able to implement student voice with purpose and positive effect. As a teacher, I want to be able to allow students to choose their own repertoire to study, I also want to create assessments that allow students to have a wide range of repertoire to choose from. I also want to implement student voice without extra conflict, and to consider the four main musical features written in Kallio’s (2017) research.

Online training

Finally, I welcome the end of my manifesto. It has taken longer than I had expected to write this manifesto, probably because I have taken more care in my thoughts and ideas. I guess this is one of the many challenges that I will be facing, and also will be adapting. I want to end with a performance that James had sent during one of the lectures

This piece really stood out to me because of its uniqueness. Like this piece, my understanding of music education is constantly evolving. There have been multiple, but similar pathways from the beginning till now. The layers of information will be constantly applying to my current knowledge, and I will face negative experiences along the way. However, I want to pull through and build knowledge through these experiences to refine my concepts and ideas as a teacher.

Barab, S., Gresalfi, M., Pettyjohn, P., & Solomou, M. (2012). Game-Based Curricula, Personal Engagement, and the Modern Prometheus Design Project. In C. Steinkuehler, K. Squire & S. Barab (Eds.), Games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) (1st ed., pp. 306–325). New York, US: Cambridge University Press.

Gay, G., & Kirkland, K. (2003). Developing Cultural Critical Consciousness and Self-Reflection in Preservice Teacher Education. Theory Into Practice, 42(3), 181-187.

Goble, J. S. (2009) Pragmatism, music’s import, and music teachers as change agents. In T. A. Regelski & J. T. Gates (Eds), Music Education for Changing Times: Guiding Visions for Practice (pp. 73–84). New York: Springer.

Kallio, A. (2017). Popular “problems”: Deviantization and teachers’ curation of popular music. International Journal Of Music Education35(3), 319-332. doi: 10.1177/0255761417725262


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