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Teachers' personal construct models of pupil individuality and their influence in the music classroom

Hewitt, Allan (2005) Teachers' personal construct models of pupil individuality and their influence in the music classroom. Music Education Research, 7 (3). pp. 305-330. ISSN 1461-3808

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Abstract

This paper reports on an investigation into the belief patterns of music teachers with regard to the nature and significance of factors of individual difference and in the context of secondary school classroom music teaching. Belief patterns were collected in the form of Personal Construct models, drawing on Kelly's Theory of Personal Constructs. The study explored both music teachers' Personal Construct models of pupil individuality and the reported significance of those models of pupil individuality for the participants' teaching approaches. The investigation of Personal Construct models concentrated on how each participant grouped the pupils they teach according to perceptions of individual difference. The belief patterns of participants were also compared. The study involved eight secondary school music teachers working in the west of Scotland. Participants' construct models were elicited using Repertory Grid technique, where pupils were the grid elements, and factors of individual difference, the constructs. The influence of models of individual difference on classroom practice was then investigated using semi-structured interviews. Three main findings from the study are discussed. First, there was considerable variation among participants in the choice of factors of individual difference believed to be significant for teaching in music, and therefore in their Personal Construct models. Second, there were notable similarities in how participants appeared to group sets of pupils within those models, even though the models themselves varied widely. Finally, Personal Construct models and specific belief patterns relating to individual differences appear to be important influences on the structure and nature of teaching in music.