Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Education

Investigating the Importance of Team Teaching and Blended Learning in Tertiary Music Education

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Music Education

Investigating the Importance of Team Teaching and Blended Learning in Tertiary Music Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

The nature of teaching within the tertiary education system is gradually changing due to the provision of more advanced technology, the targeted use of on-line learning, student flexible learning expectations and the pressures of faculty budgets. In response to these priorities, two lecturers who teach in the music education specialism have initiated a research project to investigate and develop an innovative approach to teaching and learning in the pre-service teacher education setting. This paper will report on the first stage of this project which includes the relevant literature which underpins this study and the research methodology that will be used and why.

In order to define and develop an innovative approach to teaching and learning the following overall research questions and objectives were devised:

* What is the impact of team teaching on music education tertiary students?

* What is the impact of blended learning on music education tertiary students?

* How can team teaching and blended learning be combined to impact positively, the learning of pre-service teachers?

It is anticipated that some of the themes from the literature will begin to resolve some of these questions. Further, an additional question was considered for the purpose of stage one of this study:

* What is the most appropriate research methodology to investigate pedagogical practice in this context?

Team teaching is not a new concept in education, although it does go by various names in the literature, and in different guises; collaborative teaching, team work and even peer to peer learning. Blended learning however, is a relatively new concept that has emerged in response to the changing nature of teaching within the tertiary education system. This project brings together these two elements in an exploration of the impact of a team teaching approach in a blended learning environment. This study involves pre-service music specialist classes in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia. Before a method of investigation can be designed an overview of the literature themes that underpin this work and where this research in this field is currently placed is important. Due to the dual elements of the research, the literature review will address both team teaching and blended learning approaches.

The literature that underpins the study

Background

Team teaching, as a model for more effective learning, is by no means a new concept.

In the 1960s and 1970s North America embraced the concept of open classroom spaces (Gray, 1978), an approach in which teachers worked as a team in a large classroom with students from two or more year levels. England and Wales were implementing the same concept at this time (Freeman, 1969) and Australia followed this trend in the 1970s. Open plan classrooms with teams of teachers were implemented in some Australian schools during this period. As part of the debates about team teaching at this time, some predicted that this approach to teaching would become very popular. However, this teaching approach did not meet the expectations and optimism of the writers of these earlier eras (Geen, 1985). The sense that team teaching never reached the heights anticipated is borne out by it never establishing itself as a permanent or wide-spread approach in schools or universities. Instead it seems to have become an optional approach to teaching if the right circumstances and teaching spaces are there, and the teachers can see some value in implementing it. Collaborative approaches to teaching are certainly encouraged in Australia and internationally, such as that seen in Shanghai where "teachers ... systematically collaborate and conduct action research into approaches that lead to improvement" (DEECD, 2011, p. 20). However, team teaching is certainly not, and has not been, a compulsory inclusion in schools or universities. …

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