Music teachers’ action research and the development of Big K knowledge

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Abstract

Although action research is widely acknowledged to have benefits in terms of improving practice and professional development (Zeichner, 2002) its ability to generate new knowledge, and hence its status as research, is debatable (Lytle & Cochran-Smith, 1998). Indeed, there are questions as to whether it can be called ‘proper’ research (Clayton & O’Brien et al., 2008). This article draws on the Southampton Music Action Research Project, 2007-08, to examine how seven Secondary school music teachers undertook practitioner research projects in England, and what knowledge their projects generated. It finds that this knowledge included experiential, presentational, propositional and practical knowing (Heron & Reason, 1997; 2009). Although such knowledge is positioned as ‘Little K’ knowledge (Garvey & Williamson, 2002) the reception accorded to it by other teachers suggests that knowledge, generated by teachers’ action research, might sometimes have potential to be accepted as ‘Big K’ knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-175
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

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music teacher
action research
research project
experiential knowledge
secondary school teacher
teacher
music
ability
knowledge
Music Teacher
Research Projects

Keywords

  • action research
  • teacher research
  • practitioner research
  • music
  • Big K Knowledge

Cite this

@article{7a4c33ece42a47f0b044e326221b2a0b,
title = "Music teachers’ action research and the development of Big K knowledge",
abstract = "Although action research is widely acknowledged to have benefits in terms of improving practice and professional development (Zeichner, 2002) its ability to generate new knowledge, and hence its status as research, is debatable (Lytle & Cochran-Smith, 1998). Indeed, there are questions as to whether it can be called ‘proper’ research (Clayton & O’Brien et al., 2008). This article draws on the Southampton Music Action Research Project, 2007-08, to examine how seven Secondary school music teachers undertook practitioner research projects in England, and what knowledge their projects generated. It finds that this knowledge included experiential, presentational, propositional and practical knowing (Heron & Reason, 1997; 2009). Although such knowledge is positioned as ‘Little K’ knowledge (Garvey & Williamson, 2002) the reception accorded to it by other teachers suggests that knowledge, generated by teachers’ action research, might sometimes have potential to be accepted as ‘Big K’ knowledge.",
keywords = "action research, teacher research, practitioner research, music, Big K Knowledge",
author = "Tim Cain",
note = "Bartlett, S. & Burton, D. (2006). Practitioner research or descriptions of classroom practice? A discussion of teachers investigating their classrooms, Educational Action Research, 14(3), 395-405. Black, C. (1998). ‘Improving group dynamics and student motivation in a Grade 9 music class’, The Ontario Action Researcher, 1 (1), www.nipissingu.ca/oar/archive-Vol1.htm. accessed 23/01/07. Bogdan, R. & Biklen, S. K. (1992). Qualitative Research For Education. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Cain, T. (2008). The characteristics of action research in music education, British Journal of Music Education, 25(3), 283–313. Cain, T., Holmes, M., Larrett, A. & Mattock, J. (2007). Literature-informed, one-turn action research: three examples and a commentary, British Educational Research Journal, 33 (1), 91–106. Cain, T. (2009). Practitioner research in music education. Retrieved 17 September 2009 from www.practitionerresearchinmusiceducation.com. Cassell, C. & Johnson, P. (2006). Action research: explaining the diversity, Human Relations, 59(6), 783-814. Clayton, S. & O'Brien, M., with Burton, D., Campbell, A., Qualter, A., Varga-Atkins, T. (2008). I know its not “proper” research, but: how professionals understandings of research can frustrate its potential for CPD, Educational Action Research, 16(1), 73-84. Dadds, M. (2008). Empathetic validity in practitioner research, Educational Action Research, 16(2), 279-290. DCSF/Hantsweb (2008). KS3 Music a professional development programme. Retrieved 05 November 2008 from www3.hants.gov.uk/music. Foster, P. (1999). ‘Never mind the quality, feel the impact’: a methodological assessment of teacher research sponsored by the teacher training agency, British Journal of Educational Studies, 47(4), 380-398. Furlong, J. & Salisbury, J. (2005). Best practice research scholarships: An evaluation, Research Papers in Education, 20(1),45-83. Garvey, B. & Williamson, B. (2002). Beyond Knowledge Management: Dialogue, Creativity and the Corporate Curriculum. Harlow: Prentice Hall. Harris, R. (2000). ‘An action research project to improve the quality of A Level history writing’, Prospero, 6, 65–69. Heron, J., & Reason, P. (1997). A Participatory Inquiry Paradigm. Qualitative Inquiry, 3(3), 274-294. Heron, J., & Reason, P. (2009). Extending epistemology within a cooperative inquiry, in: P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds) The Sage handbook of action research: participative inquiry and practice. London: Sage. Infed (2009). The encyclopaedia of informal education. Retrieved 17 September 2009 from www.infed.org. Lytle, S. L. & Cochran-Smith, M. (1998). Teacher research: the question that persists, Leadership in Education, 1(1), 19-36. McMahon, T. (1999) Is reflective practice synonymous with action research? Educational Action Research, 7(1), 163 – 169. McNiff, J. (2002). Action research for professional development: concise advice for new action researchers, 3rd Edition. Retrieved 05 November 2008 from www.jeanmcniff.com/booklet1.html. Oldfather, P. & West, J. (1994). Qualitative research as jazz, Educational Researcher, 23(8), 22-26. Reid, L. A. (1986). Ways of understanding and education. London: University of London Institute of Education/Heinemann. Rosen, C. (2002). Piano notes: the hidden world of the pianist. London: Penguin. Strand, K. (2009). A narrative analysis of action research on teaching composition, Music Education Research, 11(3), 349-363. Swanwick, K. (1994). Musical Knowledge: Intuition, Analysis and Music Education. London: Routledge. Wasiak, E. B. (2005). litaohkanao’pi – The Meeting Place Project: an alternative approach to young people’s concerts, International Journal of Music Education, 23 (1), 73–88. Whitehead, J. (1999). Educative Relations in a New Era, Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 7(1), 73-90. Zeichner, K. M. (1995). Beyond the Divide of Teacher Research and Academic Research, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 1(2), 153-172. Zeichner, Kenneth M. (2002). Teacher research as professional development P-12 educators in the USA, Educational Action Research, 11(2), 301-326.",
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Music teachers’ action research and the development of Big K knowledge. / Cain, Tim.

In: International Journal of Music Education, Vol. 28, No. 2, 05.2010, p. 159-175.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Cain, Tim

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AB - Although action research is widely acknowledged to have benefits in terms of improving practice and professional development (Zeichner, 2002) its ability to generate new knowledge, and hence its status as research, is debatable (Lytle & Cochran-Smith, 1998). Indeed, there are questions as to whether it can be called ‘proper’ research (Clayton & O’Brien et al., 2008). This article draws on the Southampton Music Action Research Project, 2007-08, to examine how seven Secondary school music teachers undertook practitioner research projects in England, and what knowledge their projects generated. It finds that this knowledge included experiential, presentational, propositional and practical knowing (Heron & Reason, 1997; 2009). Although such knowledge is positioned as ‘Little K’ knowledge (Garvey & Williamson, 2002) the reception accorded to it by other teachers suggests that knowledge, generated by teachers’ action research, might sometimes have potential to be accepted as ‘Big K’ knowledge.

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