This book highlights the importance of visions for intercultural music-teacher education in a time of increasing social complexity. This complexity spans a wide range of diversity dynamics related to various traditions of knowledge formation, multiple forms of cultural and artistic participation, feelings of national and ethnic belonging, and political instabilities which render possible shifting conditions for experiencing trust/distrust and societal unity/polarization. We argue that in music teacher education it is necessary to reflect on these intimate connections between music, education, and society and make our field an arena for dealing with substantial social change. In educating future music teachers to become change agents who can, if needed, challenge music education traditions, hierarchies, practices and structures, the professional ethos and standards need to be transformed so as to make teachers better equipped to handle the changing conditions created by new and emerging forms of diversity. Visions for Intercultural Music Teacher Education presents contributions that deal with these challenges in a variety of ways, through the perspectives of music teacher educators located around the world.
- Music education
- Change agent
- Teacher education
- Music, society and education
- Social complexity
This book highlights the importance of visions of alternative futures in music teacher education in a time of increasing societal complexity. This complexity is related to various dynamics of diversity, when international, national and institutional policies are set to promote innovative knowledge formation and counter prejudice; increase cultural and creative artistic opportunities for diverse peoples in societies constructed along the lines of ethnicity and nationality; reduce inequalities and stimulate change in national educational systems; and create feelings of trust and belonging instead of a polarization between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (see e.g. Zapata-Barrero 2015). Foregrounding the intimate connections between music, society and education, this book suggests ways that music teacher education might be an arena for the reflexive contestation of traditions and taken-for-granted hierarchies, practices and structures. Thus, music teacher education also holds the potential to initiate new beginnings and life-long processes of learning. The suggestion that teachers have the power to not only include, but also exclude ideas, knowledge, agencies, communities and worldviews is nothing new. Yet, academic reflexivity has not necessarily been engaged to its full potential in envisioning and testing alternative ways of educating future teachers. Change has been hindered by the burden of past practices, including established curricula and rooted traditions that prevent music teacher education programs from being reimagined and reconstructed from the perspective of today’s – and tomorrow’s – world. This landscape serves as the starting point for Visions for Intercultural Music Teacher Education, and the seed from which the visions presented in this book grow.
However, whilst our societal realities have become more diverse and complex, and increasingly varied demographic conditions “have led to students from all over the world being in a single classroom” (Townsend and Bates 2007, 3), paradoxically, national curricula and teaching methods have a tendency to reduce the complexity of human existence into simpler and more manageable understandings. In music education this conscious narrowing down of options through focusing on certain musical repertoires and established Methods was witnessed on a large scale in the Western era of nation building and its mass-education schooling project (Allsup and Westerlund 2012), during which music was put into the service of political aims for the purpose of creating ‘imagined communities’ (Anderson 1991) and shared values between groups of people (Hebert and Kertz-Welzel 2012). This tendency is evident in national curricula that still in many ways function as manifestos and sites of how ‘us’ and ‘them’ are constructed (Benedict and Schmidt 2012, 104) and that have also shaped our understanding of multicultural music education (Westerlund and Karlsen 2017). In today’s societies, ethical dilemmas of diversity may be seen as ‘solved’ by multicultural politics of identity (Volk 1998), according to which one’s identity and musical preferences are defined by categorizing people and their musics based on their geographical and ethnic background. However, as sociologists increasingly argue, such simple categorizations are no longer relevant and even potentially fallacious (Bauman 2010; Castells 2010; Cantle 2012; Vertovec 2007; Zapata-Barrero 2015). Rather, there is a growing need in our societies, including education, to resist polarization and create arenas for all to learn to live with difference (Bauman 2010). Similarly, music education cannot be planned by assuming that individuals’ musical identities follow the ‘logic’ of geographical or ethno-cultural origin (Westerlund and Karlsen 2017; Karlsen and Westerlund 2015; Karlsen 2017). There is a new need to consider how to “create shared futures for people in increasingly diversifying societies” (Westerlund 2017, 12), yet, by having learnt from the mistakes of the past homogenizing nationalist music education.
Recent literature uses interculturalism to articulate this new need for dialogues that can emerge “between the diverse cultural logics that attend different cultural territories” (Biddle and Knights 2007, 5–6). Instead of seeing culture as something solid or fixed, various authors highlight that culture is constantly undergoing “co-constructions, negotiations, questionings (…) manipulations and instabilities” (Dervin and Machart 2015, 3). Such stances have consequences for both how we think about individuals’ cultural belonging and what intercultural exchange and education might be about. In general, the literature on multiculturalism that highlights geographical and ethno-cultural origins and roots as a presupposition for cultural belonging has focused on integration “of migrant and post-migrant groups, typically termed ‘ethnic minorities’” (Meer et al. 2016, 5). The intercultural stance, for its part, “refers to support for cross-cultural dialogue” (2016, 5) and emphasizes the concept of continual and multifaceted identification, through which identity can be viewed as a process rather than static or fixed. Within these frames, identity instabilities and co-constructions are emphasized, and the fluidity of cultures brought to the fore. Consequently, intercultural encounters, including those in educational settings, do not take place between fixed entities. Rather, they take place relationally, emphasizing “the processes and interactions which unite and define the individuals and the groups in relation to each other” (Abdallah-Pretceille 2006, 476). Through such an understanding, culture is not the means for determination, but rather plays a role in the “instrumental functioning” (Abdallah-Pretceille 2006, 480) of the individual or the group. Thus, intercultural education is not only about “spotting good practice in one area and helping to implement it in another” (Coulby 2006, 246), but rather, requires a complete reconceptualization of the practices of schools and universities and their obligation to participate in global discourses and discussions. Moreover, many of the chapters in this book can be read within the contexts of critical interculturality. Martin et al. (2017) acknowledge that critical intercultural education and the work put down by the people involved in it – student teachers, teacher educators and administrators alike – require commitment on several levels, among other things “a commitment to discomfort, a commitment to questioning oneself and one’s identity, a commitment to engagement with difficult truths and alternative histories, a commitment to developing ethical relations with the Other (…) [and] a commitment to critical and hyper self-reflexivity” (2017, 252–253).
As music teacher education programs within universities, colleges or conservatoires are based on a categorization of subjects and their contents and the following strict division of expert labor, the multicultural music-education or world-music course would typically be considered sufficient to take care of the ‘diversity aspect’ in music teacher education. In this book, however, we acknowledge a wider need for change in music teacher education programs that exceeds the ‘additive approach’ (Banks 2010) of world music courses. Indeed, learning to become a music teacher follows the same logic as students’ learning in school in the sense that our learning takes place in and through the social learning environments and our “relational networks” (Fuller 2007, 19) when participating in socio-cultural communities that potentially transform our social positioning and self-understanding (Wenger 1998). Equally, as students in schools learn through their experiences that entwine the past, present and anticipated future, so do student music teachers learn through their understandings of who they are, what they are able to do, and who they are becoming (Westerlund et al. 2017, 293). This book envisions a music teacher program in which all courses and subjects engage students with questioning existing visions and co-constructing new visions with people.
This book contributes to the emerging field of research on music teacher education (e.g. Aróstegui 2011; Danielsen and Johansen 2012; Kaschub and Smith 2014; Conkling 2015; Westerlund 2017), and to the intensifying debate on how music education practices should navigate between preservation and change (see e.g. Lind and McKoy 2016). The tensions arising from these two aims of music education create a pedagogical paradox (Kivelä 2004) that every music teacher and music teacher educator has to face. This paradox entails the transmission and sustainability of culture on the one hand, socializing the next generation of musicians and educators into the profession, its educational practices and wider society; on the other hand, educators also need to prepare students to live and work in an uncertain social and cultural future by encouraging and equipping students to embrace and even initiate change. It is the underlying premise of this book that music education and music teacher education can play a significant role in both of these important aims. Consequently, music teachers may be seen as more than the guardians and mediators of tradition and ‘best practice’ – they become change agents working as part of dynamic and organic cultural traditions. As change agents, music teachers are positioned as critical cultural workers (Freire 1998), concerned with the conscientization and empowerment of future teachers to critically understand and be able to change their own cultural conditions (McLaren 1998). This can be connected to the development of forms of education where “cultural consciousness” (Jabbar and Mirza 2017, 35) plays a significant role, among both teachers and students. As a professional stance, we argue that such educational reform can be most effectively developed within the realm of teacher education (e.g. Darling-Hammond 2005).
Moreover, music teacher education programs ought to be seen as mobilizing networks (e.g. Davidson and David Goldberg 2010) that envision futures and initiate collaboration. Despite the opportunities for interaction and professional networking presented by social media and online environments, there is a new need for inter-institutional and transnational collaboration in teacher education in which the participants are challenged to step outside of their comfort zones in the co-creation of new knowledge. Such collaboration, where meeting and working together is at the heart of education, recognizes that music teacher education is contextual to local places and cultures. But it is through such collaboration and learning from one another, within and beyond institutional borders and through mobilizing networks, that teacher education can also be developed (Darling-Hammond and Lieberman 2012). Such mobilizing-network programs will be able to develop various levels of consciousness of their own taken-for-granted boundaries.
It has been argued that on the institutional level, teacher education programs that are built on coherent visions have proved to have “greater impact on the initial conceptions and practices of prospective teachers than those that remain a collection of relatively disconnected courses” (Darling-Hammond et al. 2005 392). Indeed, visions are important for developing good teaching practice, on both individual and collective levels. As such, teachers’ visions as well as visions for teacher education, lately, have been explored by many educational scholars around the globe (e.g. Hammerness 2006; see also Conkling 2015; Ankney 2015; Ferm Thorgersen et al. 2016; Miettinen et al. 2018). Hammerness writes,
while teachers’ vision serves as a productive guide for future practice, it also provides a means of reflecting on past activities and experiences in the classroom. Like a mirror, teachers compare daily practice to their vision and recognize successes as well as identifying areas for improvement. In that sense, teachers’ vision looks back and sees forward, encompassing past efforts in order to move closer to future aims. (2006, 3)
A vision is therefore “as much about how we understand our past and present as it is about developing images of what could lie ahead” (Hammerness 2006, 3). As previous research has mainly focused on teacher educators’ or teacher education programs’ visions as they are – both as a means of looking forward to what teachers want to do and back to what they have been doing – this book argues that visions for intercultural music teacher education can be co-created, and that research can play a part in mobilizing such collective envisioning on a program level.
Hence, the chapters of Visions for Intercultural Music Teacher Education collectively reach towards what Barnett calls ‘imagining universities,’ including music teacher education programs that are “continually engaged in attempting to re-imagine” themselves (2013, 10). The book reaches beyond music-specific issues, to identify how broader sociocultural and socioeconomic circumstances frame choices and activities in local and contextual music teacher education programs. In this way, the social nature of teacher education is foregrounded, in an attempt to foster a critical awareness of the assumptions that underpin music teaching and learning. More than this, the book interrogates the norms and values that determine the horizons of possibility – what music teacher education programs envision for their students’ future, their institution’s future, and that of the profession as a whole. Through identifying the structural frames and related power issues involved in such visionary work, we want to encourage music teacher educators individually and collectively to constantly re-design educational environments within their programs and to use imagination in creating new social spaces for richer learning experiences (Westerlund 2012, 16).
1 Structure of the Book
The visions for intercultural music teacher education offered in the chapters that comprise this book arise from a variety of practical projects, intercultural collaborations, and cross-national work conducted in music teacher education. They draw upon experiences in student-teacher placement in foreign contexts, program-level developmental projects, teacher educators’ own experiences of working in intercultural contexts, and macro-level analysis of the relationship between music teacher education programs and policy around the world. The chapters describe the requirements for music teacher educators and student-teachers to engage in intercultural work and encounters, including the benefits and hardships involved in individual transformation and the driving of institutional change. As a whole, the chapters open up new horizons for understanding the tension-fields and possible discomfort that music teacher educators face when becoming change agents. They highlight the importance of collaborations, resilience and perseverance when enacting visions on the program level of higher education institutions, and the need for change in re-imagining music teacher education programs.
In their chapter, Patrick Schmidt and Joseph Abramo suggest the notion of teacher-as-policy-maker as a guiding image for envisioning intercultural music teacher education. The chapter urges for fostering active policy participation as a way to construct empowering conditions and experiences for teachers. The authors discuss policy-enactment learning in the context of research in the core practices of teacher education. By exploring possible core practices of intercultural music teaching as well as tensions between various policy-level demands in music teacher education, the chapter suggests that it is possible for music educators to advance interculturality by means of influencing policy work. The vision for intercultural music teacher education, offered by Schmidt and Abramo, is one of complexity: while suggesting some core practices in intercultural music teacher education, the authors highlight the importance of enacting them constructively, critically and openly. Assisting student-teachers to navigate intercultural teaching, practice, and policy requires that teacher educators keep it complex by embedding learning to teach in practice with theory, in order for it to become praxis.
In their intercultural dialogue across the socio-religious divide in Israel, Amira Ehrlich and Belal Badarne envision culturally responsive teaching as an approach in music teacher education. The authors describe how the present music teacher education programs at their university are structured along policies of segregation, but also, how hegemonic practices of Western classical music override the possibility for independent definitions of legitimate knowledge within each isolationist educational strand. Examining the development of social coherence based on the cultural specificity of diverse communities, Ehrlich and Badarne re-imagine socio-religious segregation in Israeli music teacher education as an opportunity for cultural responsivity that further allows the growth of student-teachers’ pedagogical creativity and musical agency. The chapter is a result of interreligious collaboration between two colleagues – an Orthodox Jew and a devout Muslim working as music teacher educators at the same institution – thus also exemplifying how intercultural conversation can be used as an approach to knowledge production with relevance to local and national institutional development, global scholarship, and greater understanding of the complexities of diversity issues.
As Alexis Kallio and Heidi Westerlund in their chapter, and Eva Sæther in her chapter point out, intercultural projects in music teacher education do not necessarily provide orderly and comfortable models of how to teach. Rather, such projects need to be envisioned keeping in mind that the conditions will create confusion, discomfort and sometimes even pain or anxiety. Through employing Bourdieu’s understanding of practice, with its scrutinizing concepts of habitus and doxa, Kallio and Westerlund explore the potentials of discomfort in the construction and (re)-negotiation of teacher visions in higher music education; discomfort here is caused by the unsettling, yet important, processes of questioning the status quo norms and values of music teaching, stepping outside of one’s cultural, musical, and pedagogical comfort zones and considering alternatives for the future. In envisioning an intercultural music teacher education characterized by reflexive vigilance, the authors draw upon an exchange project between Finnish master’s students and two Cambodian NGOs, and exemplify how the processes of critical interrogation of the scripted visions and values of good music teaching are an imperative component of the development of reflexivity and self-awareness. In her chapter, Sæther takes the El Sistema project in Malmö, the most culturally diverse town in Sweden, as a point of departure for exploring the Bourdieusian intercultural game that teachers face in such educational contexts. She shows how the case of El Sistema Malmö highlights tension-fields in which music teachers have to navigate and which can be understood as important resources for the development of intercultural communication. Through the experiences of the El Sistema teachers in Malmö, Sæther suggests that habitus crises and transformative learning can be fruitful for preparing future music teachers to work in segregated, multicultural and socio-economic vulnerable areas.
The two chapters written by Brit Ågot Brøske and by Vilma Timonen, Anna Houmann and Eva Sæther provide institutional narratives of how music education students’ intercultural learning can be orchestrated and designed. Brøske’s contribution examines intercultural music teacher education from the perspective of expansive learning, through the professional placement of Norwegian student music teachers in a Palestinian refugee camp. Using this Engeström concept of expansive learning, Brøske demonstrates how student-teachers’ experiences of being positioned as ‘the Other,’ as well as questions arising from encountering new contexts and stepping out of their comfort zones, may function as potential sources for learning and positive change. By examining the interactions between two ‘activity systems’ – in this case, the Norwegian institution and the professional placement arena in Lebanon – Brøske encourages music teacher educators to envision forms of higher education in which learning would create opportunities that expand students’ understanding of the very object of music education. She argues that music teacher education should engage with complexities and contradictions encountered in unfamiliar contexts through students questioning and reflecting on their own competencies, and in this way embrace pedagogical complexity as a starting point for expansive learning and development. Timonen, Houmann and Sæther take the reader through the transformative processes of music educators’ practical work in intercultural collaborations and the intricate micro-level interactions within institutions. By reflecting upon their own experiences as teacher-researchers in Nepal and Vietnam, the authors argue that affective action is at the core of any institutional change. The vision offered by Timonen, Houmann and Sæther towards music teacher educators re-inventing themselves involves fostering a culture that engages with diversity in multidimensional ways, and enhances and nurtures trust and respect between participants, particularly when working in cross-cultural contexts.
As a consequence of societal demographics being altered by increasing migration, intercultural work in music teacher education no longer needs to happen in distant locations, but is already in great demand in our own local neighborhoods. Considering this situation in Australia, Kathryn Marsh, Catherine Ingram and Samantha Dieckmann explore the experiences and perceptions of music education students participating in a musical collaboration with South Sudanese refugee youth in Sydney. This intercultural urban environment initiative is presented as an alternative to travelling to overseas locations and as a promising way to build and reinforce cultural connectedness and understanding. Despite there being a long history of initiatives aiming to enhance student-teachers’ intercultural understandings in some Australian institutions, the authors highlight the more recent and urgent requirement for collaborations between ethnomusicologist-teacher educators and local communities in supporting the development of cultural competencies and intercultural understandings among future music educators. They envision a music teacher education that combines applied ethnomusicology and service learning in ways that benefit both student-teachers and the broader, culturally diverse society.
Three chapters by Lori-Anne Dolloff, Albi Odendaal and Sapna Thapa envision forms of music teacher education that acknowledge past and ongoing colonialisms, political tensions and cultural hegemonies in their respective home countries. The vision for intercultural music teacher education in Canada put forth by Dolloff, highlights the need for decolonization, which demands a reconciliation of music education curriculum policies with the reclaimed musical and cultural identities of the country’s Indigenous peoples, and a deconstruction and reconstruction of the structures of music teacher education in collaboration with the musical communities in question. The chapter addresses issues related to cultural appropriation and the exclusion of the voices of Indigenous people in non-Indigenous music classes. Dolloff proposes the concept of cultural humility as a way forward in responding to historical and contemporary abuses that have taken place in, and through, music education. Odendaal interrogates the ways that structural tensions and wider societal pressures in post-apartheid South Africa impinge upon music teacher education practices. Largely structured according to the European conservatoire model, these university music programs do not support all aspects of the work that music teacher educators need to engage with in schools. This creates multiple tensions for teacher educators’ everyday decision-making, as they straddle two very different musical and educational worlds. By analyzing South African music teacher educators’ accounts and experiences, Odendaal envisions how such tensions might lead to expansive learning and in this way be a seed for transformation of music teacher education. The visions of intercultural music teacher education conveyed in Thapa’s chapter emanate from her own experiences of encountering ethnocentrism and a lack of intercultural sensitivity among early childhood student-teachers in the USA. Thapa criticizes increasingly widespread assessment practices in particular, and teacher education discourses more generally, for their inability to provide enough opportunities for student-teachers to enhance intercultural communication skills and develop sensitivities needed for navigating changing classroom demographics. Prompting student-teachers to systematically reflect on their own attitudes and dispositions, and the impact of these on others, helps them to develop intercultural competences. Thapa, however, emphasizes that care and empathy are necessary conditions for reconceptualizing the gaps that exist between teachers’ own cultural situations and privileges and those of their students.
Many of the chapters explore the ways in which research and researchers can spur and mobilize processes of intercultural interaction between music teacher educators, on a local level, and teacher education institutions, nationally and globally. The chapter by Laura Miettinen, Heidi Westerlund and Claudia Gluschankof examines a process of co-creating knowledge and visions for a more collaborative and intercultural music teacher education within two vastly different music teacher education programs in Finland and Israel. While the project’s methodological design placed the initiation of inter-institutional interaction as a starting point, the actual research process, with its many group discussions, generated a new awareness among the participants of the importance of intra-institutional discussion and collaboration. The chapter argues that such dialogic practices can work as a game-changer for intercultural music teacher education. Finally, Danielle Treacy’s chapter provides an in-depth examination of the processes of research-facilitated co-construction of visions for the first music teacher education program in Nepal. Rather than viewing teachers’ visions as ideas of an abstract or faraway future, Treacy shows how visions that emerge through collaborative inquiry can be tangible expressions of practice, but also, how the capacity to aspire is rooted in societal structures. By presenting the co-constructed visions of a large number of music teachers working in Kathmandu Valley schools, Treacy exemplifies how research can facilitate and drive professional and collective desires of mobility and change towards a more intercultural music teacher education.
As the gap between research-based teacher education and real-life practices has been recognized by many teacher educators (Hammerness and Kennedy 2017, 73), the chapters in this book offer powerful illustrations of the challenges of real-life practice of intercultural music teacher education. The visions put forth also open up new opportunities for concrete ways in which we can navigate, tackle and sometimes instigate change. The book’s contributing authors explore how music teacher educators, working in a variety of different contexts and geographical locations, act to address matters of segregation, religious diversity, increasing migration and mobility, in so doing, countering the legacies of colonialism, conflict, trauma, stigma, and the wider fragmentation of worldviews. Visions for Intercultural Music Teacher Education highlights how music teacher education cannot be separated from the policies, or even the politics, of a country and how the complex and multifaceted work of intercultural music teacher education involves paradoxes that may never be resolved once and for all. As the book collectively argues, these intellectually and practically challenging issues require a heightened and ongoing ethical reflexivity and a professional attitude where learning to deal with uncertainty becomes the norm rather than the exception (Karlsen et al. 2016).
Finally, this book contributes towards expanding our understandings of the professional realms of music teachers and music teacher educators. It illustrates the need to broaden our notions of what constitutes a ‘teacher educator’ beyond those employed as university faculty (Hammerness and Kennedy 2017, 78) to include the partners, collaborators and various stakeholders who can provide intercultural learning environments for future music teachers and be engaged in the program-development dialogue. This kind of expanded professionalism (Laes and Westerlund 2018) transforms traditional hierarchies of knowledge production, increases reflexivity, and calls for “a more dialogic approach to teaching and learning” (Hammerness and Kennedy 2017, 79). At the same time, it also adds complexity to the music teacher education program – the unavoidable condition for intercultural interaction and learning to take place.
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Westerlund, H., Karlsen, S., Partti, H. (2020). Introduction. In: Westerlund, H., Karlsen, S., Partti, H. (eds) Visions for Intercultural Music Teacher Education. Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education, vol 26. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21029-8_1
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