Attitudes and Practices of Urban Music Teachers Toward an Interdisciplinary Approach and their Experiences with Related Professional Development
This study surveyed music teachers in Chicago Public Elementary Schools to examine their attitudes and practices related to an interdisciplinary approach. The study compared teachers in two different types of CPS schools: Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program (FPAMCP) schools and non-Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program (non- FPAMCP) schools. The purpose of the study is threefold: (1) to survey and compare Chicago Public Schools music teachers in FPAMCP schools with those in non-FPAMCP schools in order to examine their attitudes and practices related to an interdisciplinary approach; (2) to compare interdisciplinary practices across demographic characteristics; and (3) to examine FPAMCP and non-FPAMCP music teachers’ experiences with related professional development. The research questions for this study were designed to compare music teachers in FPAMCP and non-FPAMCP schools to examine:
(1) How do music teachers working in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) define their understanding of interdisciplinary music teaching?
(2) What are the attitudes toward interdisciplinary music teaching currently held by CPS teachers?
(3) To what extent do these music teachers use interdisciplinary strategies in their general music classrooms?
(4) What are the differences, if any, in the perceptions, attitudes, and uses of interdisciplinary strategies between/among music teachers of various demographic groups?
(5) What types of resources for professional development related to interdisciplinary music teaching are available to music teachers?
The results of this study indicated that there was no significant difference in how CPS FPAMCP and non-FPAMCP teachers define interdisciplinary teaching. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the two groups in their attitudes related to interdisciplinary music teaching. There was, however, a significant difference in mean scores between the two groups for questions related to interdisciplinary teaching practices and related professional development. FPAMCP music teachers indicated that they employ interdisciplinary strategies more than non-FPAMCP teachers. Also, they received more professional development related to interdisciplinary teaching, the activities were more engaging, and the offerings were more practical for classroom use. Finally, results showed that there was no significant difference between or among groups related to ethnic majority of schools, teachers’ gender, ethnicity, years of experience, or education level.