Perceptions of informal learning in music education: the influence of power versus the utopia of freedom.


Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


At this seminar, I will present some of the findings of my PhD research which explored perceptions of informal learning (IL) in secondary school music lessons, based upon Green’s (2008) model. Implementation of an IL approach within the classroom can sometimes be seen as a potential risk for teachers due to its frequent misalignment with policy and wider school ecology. The literature has also raised many other tensions and issues, which could threaten the future success and sustainability of IL in schools if not further understood.

The research was structured into a two-phased design: interviews with key figures relating to Musical Futures (an education initiative which advocates an IL approach); and four secondary school case studies where teachers were involved as co-researchers. Teachers were invited to: propose an additional research priority of interest; and select research methods of suitability for student data generation.

Four key themes were identified through thematic analysis about how IL was perceived. This presentation will focus upon one of these themes: the influence of power versus the utopia of freedom. This theme captures both the variety of powerful forces at play (both in favour of and against IL), and their antidote: freedom (which requires trust). The findings of this study will enable a more nuanced understanding of either the potential sustainability or demise of IL in schools.

GREEN, L., 2008. Music, informal learning and the school: a new classroom pedagogy. Ashgate: Aldershot.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventPGR Seminar Series, Faculty of Education - Edge Hill University, ORMSKIRK, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sep 201828 Jun 2019


SeminarPGR Seminar Series, Faculty of Education
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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