A study of Key Stage 3 music teachers’ pedagogic beliefs in the context of a new curriculum for Wales
This study conceptualises the pedagogic beliefs of music teachers (n=75) working with 11-14 year-olds (the age range within which music is a compulsory subject) in mainstream secondary schools in Wales. It uses a mixed-methods, qualitative-dominant approach, with data gained from in-depth interview and online survey. The resulting model sheds light on music teachers’ views of learning as a complex, cyclic process in which the aim is to allow pupils artistic agency, but in which the reality can be muddied by contradiction: what one teacher described as ‘the illusion of choice’. Teachers’ desired outcomes for the learning process are defined as ‘pedagogic’ or ‘pragmatic’, and these desired outcomes challenge prevailing opinions in the literature about a potential culture of elitism in the music classroom. However, in the context of increased uncertainties stemming from the introduction of a new curriculum, music teachers in Wales need to take care not to fall back on ‘soft’ justifications for the existence of the subject based on being ‘good for’ pupils or generating transferable creative dispositions.