Standard #1: Learner Development
A teacher in any discipline must understand how his students learn and develop. Furthermore, a teacher must know how to plan and process to help students learn and retain knowledge effectively. For a music teacher, this includes careful preparation and detailed procedures that fit within the zone of proximal development (ZPD) for his students.
Although many of my Music Education courses at BSU have taught me about how students learn and develop, my courses at the teacher’s college have prepared me specifically for understanding cognitive development. In EDPS 390 we learned about various teaching strategies, philosophies, and theories. Vygotsky’s work is especially pertinent for teachers. A master teacher should understand the ZPD of a student and how he can use scaffolding to help the student achieve mastery within the Zone of Actual Development.
While observing at Frankton Jr./Sr. High School for MUSE 350, my cooperating teacher taught me a great deal about appropriate ways to create a process that connects what students know to new information. For example, if I were to introduce a new piece that focused on articulations I would first have my students write in the counts and note any accidentals, next we would work on the counting as a class while using the slides and fingerings on our instruments, and then we would play the piece in small sections and eventually work towards the entire piece. This way, students can learn the entire piece or concept in more manageable chunks.
‘Learner Development’ is about having an understanding of the habits and tendencies of students and how they change as they grow. Though it may seem obvious to some that older students learn and act differently from younger students, specific knowledge about child psychology, skill development, and information retention and the like are required for an educator to reach his students effectively.
I have very little experience in this principle as of yet, but what I've learned so far through MUSED 100, 150, and EDMUL 205 has been invaluable towards my growth in this principle. Ball State University has several courses offered in the Teachers College which are geared specifically towards introducing fundamental concepts about human development; additionally, the School of Music does a fine job connecting these concepts with music education by offering a wide array of courses. I am confident I will be well prepared in applying this principle after taking said courses.
Educational Psychology courses such as EDPSY 350 will be valuable assets while studying at BSU. While my MUSED courses do a good job pertaining to my specific field of study, more focused courses on child psychology will be helpful as well. However, I believe that learning is done best through hands on experience; therefore, I hope to gain invaluable knowledge in this area through observing and analyzing students' behavior in the classroom. Attending clinics and presentations on child psychology and the way students retain information as they grow will also help me in this principle.