Human Resource Education: Does Listening to Music during Instruction Affect Jordanian Secondary Students' Academic Achievement?

Article excerpt

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify any differences in the academic achievement of 7th-grade students who listened to music during instruction (experimental group) and those who received traditional instruction (no music during instruction--control group). The Social Studies Test (SST) was administered pre- and post-test to measure differences between the two groups. Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) on the post-test results of the SST with the pretest scores as a covariate indicated significant differences at the .05 alpha level on academic achievement for the experimental group. However, differences in academic achievement were not found based on gender or the interaction between the method of instruction and gender. A number of theoretical and practical implications for the field of study are offered.

Keywords: Music education, social studies, vocational approaches, academic achievement, human resource education, and Jordan.

Introduction and Theoretical Framework

Efforts to improve the quality of education are increasing due to globalization, educational reforms, and new approaches to teaching and learning. Schools are now held accountable by a number of stakeholders, including students, parents, legislators, and private and public organizations (Tagg, 2003). These changes have resulted in requirements to offer instruction via new teaching methods. The question of effective learning has been a key focus of educators for decades (Krigbaum, 2004). Over the years, teachers have witnessed many negative behaviors in the classroom, including students' lack of interest in and motivation to learning, limited discussions and interactions between students and teachers, and poor academic performance (Crosswhite, 2005; Emory, 2004; Smith, 1997). These behaviors have led teachers to seek corrective solutions (Gohlinghorst & Wessel, 2001).

As one explanation of these phenomena, Hoerr (2002) contended that student learning requires the use of different approaches--traditional instruction alone does not help all students maximize their potential and interest in learning. The result sometimes is negative attitudes toward education (Governal, 1997). Perhaps the most often-used instructional technique is information delivery via lectures. It has been documented that lectures are not a perfect method because they place students in the position of being passive recipients of information and reduce their opportunity to be affective learners (Hallam & Price, 2002). Furthermore, this method does not take into account the variety of students' experiences, learning styles, and motivational needs that enable the creation of an environment that will provide every student with a rich and relaxing learning experience. Thus each year, many educators make hard choices as they seek educational improvements. Whether to invest in class-size reduction, teacher training, early childhood education, textbooks, or tests depends on their estimates of the effectiveness of these approaches (Schacter, 1999). Other researchers have focused on making alterations to class climate as a way to improve academic achievement. Some advocate listening to music during instruction as one way to ensure a relaxing experience during instruction (Braynt, Mariam, Kymberriey, & Vega, 2003; Hallam & Price, 2002).

For decades, music has played an important role in daily life. As a universal language, it offers an effective approach to enhancing students' classroom learning (Huang, 2004). According to Lounsbury (1992), music may help students learn more effectively by, for example, enhancing students' self-esteem and creativity (Eady & Wilson, 2004). Using music as a teaching tool has been shown to make learning easier, faster, and more enjoyable, enabling students to be more focused and alert during lectures. It has being concluded by many researchers that music should be an essential part of education (Breeze, 2000; Brogla, 2003; Olson, 2005). …