Morris’ post-doctoral paper ‘Sounds in the Cloud: Cloud computing and the digital music community‘, written in 2008, is remarkable prescient. At an early stage in the development of the cloud, it explores the technological and cultural implications of cloud-based music, how the cloud itself is leading to the commodification of music (and not in a good way), and how our relationship to music is changing as a result. Through the adoption of various metaphors and an analysis of [then] current trends, Morris is pretty scathing. Firstly, he argues, the cloud fundamentally changes our relationship to music itself:
[Music] is now part of a network of technologies and blended into a multi-mediated computing experience. Phones come with music, as do Web sites, video games and new cars. CDs are routinely given away in newspapers and magazines as promotions (Straw, 2009). Social networking sites, search engines, and other such technologies use online digital music as a draw for their services. Rather than a commodity of its own, music is integrated into so many diverse services that it becomes difficult to talk about music as a specific experience at all. Music appears to be ubiquitous: it is both everywhere and nowhere. [my emphasis] Continue reading →
Nicky Morgan will unveil plans today to create a new ‘College of Teaching’, similar to medical bodies such as the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons. The College, once established, will provide training programmes, conduct educational research and set professional standards for teachers.
Morgan will announce that taxpayers’ money will be used to help fund the start up costs of the new organisation although it is still unclear whether membership of it will be voluntary or compulsory, and whether or not it will adopt a subscription model to help fund its own existence.
Those of us with longer memories, will recall that one of the first things that Michael Gove did was to abolish the General Teaching Council for England (which adopted a subscription based approach on a compulsory basis for all teachers in England) and subsume its powers directly within an Executive Agency at the Department for Education. It seems unlikely that any such powers will flow back to this new College of Teaching leaving its exact status somewhat ambiguous at the present time. However, if reports in today’s Telegraph are to be believed, it does seem clear that the college will be independent of Government yet an important new component of Morgan’s drive to ‘raise the standards of teaching’.
One interesting area might be around the professional standards for teachers. If the new College of Teaching sets those standards, will it be empowered to enforce them (like the previous GTCE)? Will it also be responsible for the transition arrangements for students who have undertaken initial teacher education as they progress into their NQT year (something that has completely neglected by central Government over the last four years).
It seems that Morgan is keen to establish the college at some point during 2015.
Putting it politely, Michael Gove didn’t have a fanbase in the teaching profession. Just as we’ve seen with the NHS, this government has gone further than any other towards dismantling the pillars of education and it’s going to be hard to repair the damage caused by crazy proposals, lack of consultation and low morale. I just hope shows like this help dispel myths about schools today and start informed conversations about the future – not based on someone’s experience 30 years ago.
Says it all, doesn’t it? For more from her interview with the Observer, click here.
I’m delighted to work with many talented teachers in schools and colleges across the United Kingdom and beyond. It is great to see their work recognised and rewarded. At MMU, we were able to honour the lifetime achievements of our colleague Geoff Reed through an honorary doctorate. It was so well deserved.
On that theme, the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence is now accepting nominations for next year’s ceremony on 12th March. The categories include:
Best Musical Initiative Award, sponsored by the Royal Marines Band Service
Best Print Resource Award, sponsored by Rhinegold Publishing Ltd
Best Digital/Technological Resource Award
Best SEN Resource Award
Excellence in Primary/Early Years Music Award
Best School Music Department Award, sponsored by the MMA
Best Classical Music Education Initiative Award, sponsored by Classic FM
Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Black Cat Music and MusicPracticeRooms.com
The 2015 awards will also see the inclusion of two new categories – Musicians’ Union Inspiration Award, sponsored by the MU and Best Music Education Product Award. A Music Teacher Magazine Editor’s Award will also be chosen by Thomas Lydon, editor of Music Teacher.
The awards were created to celebrate excellence in the UK’s music education sector. For more details visit the Music Education Expo site. Get voting!
This post is about a new primary school music curriculum that I’ve been involved in supporting. It has been written by primary teachers in Cheshire East and produced by the Love Music Trust, the music education hub in Cheshire East. My company, UCan.tv, has helped in the preparation of the online content.
The Love Music Trust Primary Music Curriculum contains 6 units of work for each year of Key Stages 1 and 2. It has been written specifically for the generalist primary teacher to help them address the requirements of the new National Curriculum. There is also a collection of Early Years resources (these will be increasing over the coming weeks). The Love Music Trust have made two of the units available free of charge.
Further details about the curriculum can be found here.
I’ve really enjoyed working on this curriculum over the last few months. I’ve learnt a lot from working with the other staff on the project and I’m very happy to recommend this to you.
Please could you do all you can to raise awareness about this new resource with your primary schools in any way that you can. Thank you very much.
Over the years I have enjoyed conducting a range of research projects into various aspects of education. Some of these have been funded through the EU or various research councils, but I think the most enjoyable have been those where I have just followed a particular interest that has emerged from my work as a musician and teacher. Many of these small-scale pieces of research have used the methodology of case study. My interest in case study began during my PhD, when I conducted case studies within my teaching (see Dunwich Revisited and Reflecting Others for examples).
On our PGCE course, our students have to undertake a range of assignments. One of these (we call it the Curriculum Development Assignment) is just about to be started. In the assignment, as the name suggests, students have to research a particular area of their subject’s curriculum, devise a unit of work, teach it and analyse the consequences for their teaching and their students’ learning during their second, substantive, teaching placement.
Do to this effectively, we encourage students to utilise a simple research methodology like case study to structure their work. I say simple, but I’ve found case study to be a very engaging and at times complex research methodology. But at its simplest, it is easy to explain and to begin using. Tomorrow, I get to work with our fantastic group of PGCE students on our two music PGCE courses, and the Schools Direct course too, and help them prepare for this assignment.
Using two metaphors drawn from Magritte’s work (including The Field Glass shown at the beginning of this post) and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, we will explore how case study can be used within a simple case study project like those that I did for my PhD and for those like the students will be conducting over the next few months. If you want to find out more about what we are going to consider, you can download my notes for this session here.
Is there a crisis in our schools surrounding the teaching of music in a one-to-one instrumental setting? I’m not sure that there is, but there is an interesting discussion here from a distinguished panel including MMU’s Professor Heather Piper. I’d skip to around eight minutes in to avoid a long, boring and rambling introduction from the chair:
It is shocking to see an advertisement like this. But it is no joke. South Leeds Academy are advertising for two unqualified maths teachers.
With pay starting at £16,856 for the ‘unqualified teacher’ pay spine, you might wonder what qualifications you need to get this job. What do you think? A degree in mathematics? At least an A level perhaps? Well, you would be wrong. The person specification (that you can download from here just in case they withdraw it at any point) indicates that all you need is 4 GCSE’s A* to C equivalent (including English and Maths). Phew! Thank goodness. At least they require a teacher of Maths in their school to have a C grade at GCSE. To quote from p.9 of their recruitment pack:
The ideal candidates will possess a minimum of 4 GCSE’s (Grades A*- C) including English and Mathematics or equivalent. Experience of working in a similar role would be desirable.
It is at this point that words begin to fail me (well, not quiet). I have been writing about the consequences of Gove’s reforms in this area for many years on this blog. At times, I have received a lot of flack from the establishment about being alarmist or too cynical.
If I was a parent of children attending this school I would be angry, in fact very angry. I would be asking what value the school places on my child’s education when such shockingly low standards are applied to the selection of teachers at their school.
I’d like to make a more general point to any parents reading this blog. Are you happy about Gove’s reforms in this area? Would you be happy with unqualified teachers, with a little as 4 GCSEs by way of qualifications, teaching your children?
Please alert me to any further advertisements like this that you see in your local area. Let’s name and shame some of these schools and get them to reconsider their choices. For me, I’m writing to the head teacher of this school this morning about this matter. I would urge you to do the same for your local schools if, or when, they start doing the same.
You can read further details about this specific case here. Thanks Secret Teacher for your highlighting of this example.