Written by By Sam Clements, Birmingham City University HELS PhD Student and Senior Lecturer at London South Bank University. (also read My experiments with Adapted Repertory Grid (ARG) Technique for more info)
This academic year (my first year as a ‘proper’ PhD student!) I have been carrying out my main data collection (using the ‘evolved method’ developed through the control group pilot study) with a group of nested case study participants. Adopting a nested approach to my selection of six case study participants by selecting individual participants who are at different stages in their training and experience will provide the opportunity for a more comprehensive analysis of the data than if they were all at the same stage.
The virtual worlds activity using CC3 gaming software and associated adapted repertory grids are now completed for all participants and my electronic ‘perception survey’ for the wider teaching community is underway. The purpose of this survey is to infer from my nested case study participants to a larger population. Hammersley (1992) argues that such comparisons with a larger population may allow us to establish some of the representativeness of our single cases. In addition, non-participatory observations of classroom music teaching will be carried out with the nested case study participants. The focus of each observed lesson will be Music Teaching Phenomena (MTP) agreed in advance by the participant and myself, the observer. Observation notes will only describe evidence of teaching and children’s learning in relation to the identified MTP. All findings and constructive feedback will be verbally shared with the participant at the time, and subsequently discussed in the form of ongoing blog via a participant Wiki. Observation notes will be coded and analysed using grounded theory.
The schedule for observations will be event driven as I will be bound by the school timetable and the frequency of opportunities to teach music will vary by participant. In addition I am expecting my first baby at the start of May so we shall see how I manage my research schedule with or (hopefully) without too much interruption!
Addressing my Final Research Aim
The final part of my research will utilise the idea of teaching through learning, which means that the lens will be on the participant as a learner as opposed to the university or CPD tutor as a teacher of the learner. This variation on the ‘usual’ lens falls within Folkestad’s summary (1998) of a general relocation of focus from teaching to learning. The focus on the learner necessitates a revision of teaching methods, from ‘How to Teach’ (with the ‘results’ of teaching witnessed from the teacher’s point of view), to ‘How to Learn’, and ‘What to Learn’, so for example in this study how different Music Teaching Phenomena (MTP) are perceived, experienced and expressed in activities by the learner (nested case study participant).
Participants’ planned individualised learning will be informed by the grounded theory, co constructed by the researcher and participant, and will be supported by the participant Wiki.