Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Towards Professionalism in Music: Self-Assessed Learning Strategies of Conservatory Music Students

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Towards Professionalism in Music: Self-Assessed Learning Strategies of Conservatory Music Students

Article excerpt


The dominance of behaviourism in human learning resulted in a total dependence on the external events as determinants of the processes and information transformation that take place in a learner. Much of this observation dealt with the extent to which a learner could avail him/herself of mnemonics (e.g. Bower, 1970; Paivio, 1969, 1971; Wood, 1967). These tasks were associated with laboratory research tasks. Interest was also focused on ecologically valid tasks (Weinstein, Zimmerman, & Palmer, 1988).

The changes to constructivism and humanistic approaches have raised learning strategies for discussion. The change affected the ways in which learning strategies are conceptualised, the methods used to evaluate their acquisition and use, and procedures used to teach them (Dweck, 1999; William & Thompson, 2008).

In music students' education learning strategies are needed e.g. in the context of practice where students might have a chance to participate in "authentic activity" with the support of skilful experts (Lebler, 2008; Brown et al., 1989). Professionals who support novices in this endeavour act as coaches and help students construct images of what skilful practice might be (Schön, 1987; Virkkula, 2016a). They make their knowledge and thinking visible to the learners (Heaton & Lampert, 1993). Social interactions between the students and their teachers and mentors are vital for the students' learning, because it is through these interactions that the students obtain access to the experienced teachers' thinking and ways of knowing (Wenger, 1998). Recent research reports (Nissilä & Virkkula, 2015; Virkkula & Nissilä, 2014) reveal that the professional/ mentor was expected to give advice and to control learning. The professional's task in relation to students was intended to be an encouraging supervisor, a facilitator of learning, and a partner.

Learning Strategies

When attempting to understand different ways of learning, it is important to differentiate between cognitive, affective, and conative constructs and, further, appropriate strategies and levels of effort.

Psychology has traditionally identified and studied three components of mind: cognition, affect, and conation (Huitt, 1996; Tallon, 1997). Cognition is generally associated with the question of 'what'. It refers to the processes of knowing and understanding: encoding, storing, processing, and retrieving information.

Affect asks the question 'How do I feel about this knowledge or information?' It refers to the emotional interpretation of perceptions, information or knowledge. It is generally associated with one's positive or negative attachment to people, objects and ideas.

Conation is associated with the issue of "why". It refers to the connection of knowledge and affect to behaviour and is the personal, intentional, deliberate, goal-oriented, or striving component of motivation, the anticipatory aspect of behaviour (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998; Emmons, 1986). It is closely associated with the concept of volition, defined as willpower, or the freedom to make choices about what to do (Kane, 1985; Mischel, 1996). It is critical if an individual intends to engage successfully in self-direction and self-regulation (Barrel, 1995).

Critical thinking, again, is purposeful, self-regulatory judgement that results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation and interference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgement is based. It affirms that every system is perfectly designed to get the expected results (Facione & Gittens, 2011; Nissilä, 2010).

Self-regulation of learning usually refers to cognition and effort through cognitive, metacognitive, and resource management strategies (Ruohotie, 2000). Learners' conceptions show connection to the outcomes of their learning. …

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