The magic of motivation: practical implications from research.
This article is based on several assumptions: 1) Teachers enter the profession sincerely wanting to be good teachers--when they experience difficulties it is not because of bad intentions; it is because their intentions do not function for the students. 2) Values, both musical and social, are extremely important and need to be separated from techniques and specified into measurable behaviors in order to be taught effectively. And 3) Results from research, defined as systematic inquiry, are both important and capable of improving music teaching practices, even if results sometimes are counterintuitive or go against "traditional wisdom."
There are numerous theories concerning motivation in general--I suggest the motivation that underpins activities people engage in to keep alive or that might be effective in other disciplines should be separated from those having to do with music study. A necessary start is to define our terms: learning is defined as change of behavior, behavior is defined as any overt or covert response that is observable--directly or indirectly, and teaching is any process of purposeful intervention either by teacher, parent, peers, computer or textbook/music book that is intended to bring about learning.
Research in music teaching/learning is no small undertaking for many reasons, not the least of which concerns how and in what ways students develop. One apparent aspect of formal evaluation concerns the assessment of subject matter mastery and delivery. Yet another aspect concerns the musical skills and attitudes students bring with them when they enter the curriculum or begin private lessons. Sometimes there is an important subject matter variable, as in the case of music (Forsythe, 1975), where students have been involved for many years, listening and/or participating in the subject while developing music skills throughout their lives. Often, there is a strong teacher variable that transcends or enhances this subject matter; sometimes there does not seem to be any specific aspect to which one might assign the ingredient(s) causing a person to be a good learner or good teacher.
During the past forty years, we have attempted to provide the methodology for investigating those aspects of student/teacher variables that contribute to music teaching effectiveness (Brown & Alley, 1983; Duke, 1994; Madsen, 1965; Madsen, Greer & Madsen, 1975; Madsen & Madsen, 1978). Findings from some of the earliest work have endured the test of repeated research, especially those findings relating to student time on task (Madsen, 1971; Madsen & Geringer, 1981). Indeed, time on task is now recognized as one of the most important aspects contributing to any student learning. This issue has spawned a related research thrust concerning research on focus of attention (Flowers, 1983; Geringer & Madsen, 1995/1996; Madsen, 1997; Madsen & Coggiola, 2001; Madsen & Geringer 1990; 2000/2001).
However, other ingredients, especially relating to how music teachers should interact with students, have remained more elusive and have necessitated continuing investigation. In an attempt to find those aspects relating to effective music teaching, detailed studies and observation forms were developed that coded teacher academic and social approval, academic and social disapproval, as well as errors of a teacher's social interaction, such as approving a student when the student was actually wrong. These forms, combined with the aforementioned student on-task forms, have been extremely useful for providing individual teachers with feedback on how he or she was actually interacting with each student and demonstrating the differences between perception and actual teacher (Madsen & Duke, 1985a, 1985b, 1987; Madsen & Madsen, 1999).
There are varying degrees of directness and indirectness concerning a teacher's intervention, yet the intended purpose of changing behavior is the same. Sometimes a highly directive approach is involved. This generally occurs when the teacher is exercising much control over student responses and is concerned with a student's response being either right or wrong. At other times the intervention strategy will be less obvious, or at least less directive. The teacher's objective may simply be to help students learn a process for analyzing something. In music teaching, having students discuss whether or not a particular piece of music has merit would be an example of this kind of process teaching. Other examples might include discussing topics for which there may be no right or wrong answers or having a student choose a piece to work on or compose her or his own music (Madsen & Kuhn, 1994).
Teachers initiate behaviors by giving instructions, modeling, using verbal imagery and asking questions. Clear directions are important for efficiency and clarity, as is the case with classroom rules. Modeling is important because it provides the student with an expert demonstration and is especially important in music teaching.
Using verbal analogies and metaphors to initiate certain behaviors provides a creative, interesting and sometimes humorous approach to developing responses, for example, saying "Touch the keys to make them sing," or "Take in a breath as though you have just seen a snake," or "Make the musical phrase soar like a kite."
When asking questions, the teacher as well as the student must know if the pattern of questioning and responses are to be factual or if they are to be creative (Madsen & Madsen, 1999). Unfortunately, when teaching factual information, many teachers play a "guess what teachers are thinking" game without fully realizing what the learning outcome will be. It seems that if factual information from the student is required, then the most direct and efficient instructional approach is to promote this learning with the least possibility of student error. For example, when presenting new or not completely learned material, the teacher should first state, "The key of G major has one sharp," as opposed to first asking, "How many sharps does G major have?" Alternately, if the teacher desires that the student give an opinion, as opposed to parroting the teacher's opinion, a less direct approach is advisable and a great deal of teacher questioning is important, such as, "How do you feel about this music?" "Is this a piece you think would be fun to practice?" Sometimes the teacher might ask a student to develop a strategy to gain additional information by asking leading questions (Madsen & Kuhn, 1994). This type of questioning also is appropriate, as it forces the student to extend and/or apply previously learned material when gaining new information. For example, "Within the circle of fifths, if the key of G has one sharp, how many sharps are there in the key of D?"
While some aspects of music teaching/learning seem clear, other aspects of the student/teacher interaction process remain troublesome, especially those relating to teacher selection and preparing prospective teachers to deal with the realities of actual teaching as a career--either in the classroom or the studio. More and more observational forms were developed over the years, subsequently tested and incorporated into teacher training curricula. Typically, a new form or procedure is developed that addresses a new issue when someone determines that the taxonomic basis is wrong or incomplete. Recently, Duke has developed the concept of Rehearsal Frames as the observational unit (Duke, 1994).
Observational assessment covers many different aspects relating to both the teacher/student interaction and the learning environment. For example, some observational forms rate specific aspects of applied instruction, instrumental and choral conducting, or conceptual aspects of teaching elementary music to young students, or how to evaluate appropriate music selections, as well as how to develop resource materials relating to effective music teaching (Madsen & Yarbrough, 1980). Other research forms have investigated learning sequences for persons who are handicapped and provided models of presentation and assessment for students in music therapy (Madsen, 1981; Madsen & Jellison, 1991).
Effective Teaching from a "Global" Perspective
Over the years, after having assembled all of this somewhat compartmentalized knowledge, we attempted to put all this information together to test effects within the last series of classes for prospective teachers, just before they left the university to begin their student teaching. Previously, we had isolated many specific behaviors that seemed necessary for effective teaching that were incorporated into this final "model." To our surprise, putting all the information together did not produce the complete "whole" we had anticipated--at least it did not work for some students.
At that point, we decided to begin at the other end of the continuum, as it were, and attempted to assess a more "global" aspect of teaching, apart from any a priori specifics. Thus began another long series of new research studies that seem quite conclusive in their results concerning the ability to rate effective teaching in its global dimension. This global attribute is defined as teacher intensity and is rated in much the same way as student on-task has been previously assessed (Cassidy, 1990; Madsen, 1988; Madsen, 2003; Madsen Standley & Cassidy, 1989; Madsen & Geringet, 1989; Kaiser, 1998).
Teacher intensity is defined as the "sustained control of the student/teacher interaction evidenced by efficient, accurate presentation and correction of the subject matter with enthusiastic affect and effective pacing" (Madsen & Geringer, 1989, p. 90). Problems arose, however, when we asked panels of experts to list the specific attributes of effective teaching. We did this by asking experts to view videotaped teaching interactions and list the "best" and "worst" aspects of each individual's teaching. While experts had extremely high agreement on their overall global ratings of teacher intensity, their lists of specific "best" and "worst" aspects for each individual teacher did not coincide with each other or findings from past research (Madsen et. al, 1992). Additionally, a panel of music supervisors who were trained in a standardized teacher assessment instrument was asked to rate the same teaching tapes. This group's overall ratings of these same videotaped excerpts was almost identical to the other set of experts concerning global effectiveness, yet the specific reasons for their individual ratings did not agree with each other or with the other group of evaluators.
It became apparent to us that intensity as a global concept correlated highly with other "global ideas" of good teaching. Yet, while almost anyone can distinguish among various levels of "good versus bad" teaching using a global rating, there was not agreement concerning its specific ingredients. Within our teacher-training program, we also were able to have every prospective teacher both recognize teacher intensity and demonstrate it for a period of fifteen seconds to three minutes (Madsen, Standley & Cassidy, 1989).
Developing a Clear Description of Effective Teaching
After establishing this line of research, we again began to investigate those specific teaching behaviors that seemed necessary, given the above definition of teacher intensity (Madsen & Geringer, 1989). We were concerned about how to proceed and believed it necessary to proceed slowly, so we did not assume to know the specific ingredients of this perplexing skill. We attempted to integrate all the information from our past research, including the information from the above panels of experts.
One continuing area of investigation related to earlier instructional sequencing. Sequencing of instructional tasks is perhaps one of the most important aspects influencing the success of an instructional paradigm. A teaching sequence is defined as: (a) teacher presentation or instruction (b) student behavior and (c) teacher feedback to the student(s). Observation forms were developed to address these three components, sometimes combining findings from previous research. We spent a good deal of time researching (a) subject matter presentation only (Byo, 1990; Cassidy, 1990; Madsen & Geringer, 1983; Madsen, Standley, & Cassidy, 1989; Sims, 1986; Yarbrough, 1975), (b) teacher feedback only (Forsythe, 1975; Kuhn, 1975; Madsen & Madsen, 1998) and (c) the sequence of subject matter presentation, student performance and teacher feedback (Jellison & Wolfe, 1987; Price, 1983; Yarbrough & Price, 1981; Yarbrough & Price, 1989; Yarbrough, Price & Bowers, 1991).
Other observational devices have been developed that include most of the information that proved useful in previous studies regarding ongoing teacher effectiveness (Duke, 1994; Duke & Madsen, 1991; Madsen & Duke, 1993). The Instructional Sequence Observation Form contains an overall assessment of temporal instructional sequences. For example, the teacher asks a student to perform a certain scale; the student performs correctly, and then the teacher says, "That's correct," representing one complete cycle.
An additional and important temporal aspect of this observation includes the temporal direction of each instructional unit: Forward direction indicates the sequence is proceeding in the correct direction without the teacher having to back up in the instructional process. A backward direction would be when the teacher advances too quickly, leaving out important steps in the learning sequence and then has to state "Oh, I forgot, let's go back and put the reed on the mouthpiece before we go on to correct your embouchure." Another important classification within this category is a repeat direction, where the teacher says, "Again" or "Take it again" (Duke & Madsen, 1991; 1993).
Developing More Effective Interactions
Many aspects of both appropriate and inappropriate teaching can be observed via an appropriate observation method. Most often, unprepared teaching responses are readily identified. Specifically, one freshman student began by asking preschoolers, "Do you want to sing?" and received responses she was not prepared for when two children said, "No!" Another freshman asked, "How many of you know the ABC song?" and immediately a child started to sing, necessitating a problem in classroom management. This type of teacher interaction did not occur four years later during these same students' internship teaching (Duke & Madsen, 1991; 1993).
In a 1998 study, Kaiser attempted to control for subject matter presentation and to vary only the intensity of conductor instructions. Videotapes were made containing three different high school conductors whose instructions to a live band performing the second Holtz Suite for band were delivered either in an intense enthusiastic manner or in a non-enthusiastic and rather boring manner. Rather than having the actual band performance recorded on videotape, a professional performance of the same music was dubbed onto the tape for subsequent viewing. Differences between the high versus low conductor instructions were perceived by all persons who participated in the study as being much better and were perceived as demonstrating much better teaching. We expected this finding; what we did not expect was that many people perceived the band performances as being better following the high intensity instructions when compared to the low intensity instructions when, in fact, the performances were identical--and not of the students being viewed.
In 2003, K. Madsen experimentally manipulated teacher delivery and accuracy and student attentiveness and conducted the most recent study in this line of research. After making a video that contrasted three aspects of enthusiastic/non-enthusiastic teacher delivery, accurate/inaccurate subject matter presentation and on/off task student response, she showed the final tape to children grades 6-8, older students grades 9-12, college music majors and experienced professionals. Study results demonstrated that high teacher enthusiasm combined with accurate subject matter presentation and high student attentiveness achieved the highest scores from all groups--this was expected. Surprisingly, highly enthusiastic teacher delivery combined with high student attentiveness but with inaccurate subject matter presentation rated higher than accurate information presented with low enthusiasm! The experienced professionals rated the high teacher enthusiasm segments higher than the low delivery segments even though the subject matter was obviously incorrect.
A general aspect relating to motivation concerns appropriate methodology in the assessment of effective music teaching and learning. Our methodology, which started more than forty years ago, always takes place in the "naturalistic" setting. Thus, students and teachers have been observed over many weeks, months and years with as little a priori bias as possible--over 20,000 teachers have been observed, some continuously for more than ten years. During this long time period aspects concerning student on-task and teacher approval and disapproval for both academic and social student responses have been isolated as being effective and important aspects of effective teaching. Additionally, other ingredients necessary for effective teaching also have been observed and codified, such as instructional sequences.
However, subsequent attempts to put all these positive aspects into teacher training programs continue to be troublesome. When evaluative measures are taken on young teachers for extended time periods, it becomes clear that most young teachers have difficulty not in the short term but in the long term when dealing with constant transitions and the ongoing necessities of long-term instruction. This is especially evident in maintaining motivation for long periods of time. While some people can be effective for a short duration (a few minutes or when performing limited sections from the music literature), the difficulty is in maintaining these motivational patterns for a long time--over a complete practice session, rehearsal, several days, months and years.
Perhaps it takes many years for each teacher to make the adjustments necessary for truly effective motivation, especially for the "problematic" student. The major aspects of motivation, therefore, concern a much larger issue. It seems we often attempt to isolate specific attributes that have proven effective from the research literature, or we assume that if all these individual components are put together, we will have a "complete" teacher. Perhaps we believe we can "pick and choose" separate research-based aspects to implement, or we receive interesting suggestions from others, including information gathered at workshops. We then hope implementation will ensure success. Unfortunately, this does not always appear to be the case. Indeed, effective teaching and the ability to motivate each student still represent both a science and an art. Regardless, much of the above research-based principles and techniques can be used toward more effective motivation--at least in getting started.
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Madsen, C. K. & Yarbrough, C. (1980). Competency Based Music Education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Madsen, C. K., Greer, R. A. & Madsen, C. H. Jr. (1975). Research in Music Behavior. New York: Teachers College Press.
Madsen, C. K., Standley, J. M., & Cassidy, J. W. (1989). "Demonstration and Recognition of High/Low Contrasts in Teacher Intensity." Journal of Research in Music Education, 37: 87-94.
Madsen, C. K., Standley, J. M., Byo, J. L., & Cassidy, J. W. (1992). "Assessment of Effective Teaching by Instrumental Music Teachers and Experts." Update 10(2).
Madsen, K. (2003). "The Effect of Accurate/Inaccurate Teacher Instruction, High/Low Teacher Delivery, and On-/Off-Task Students on Musicians' Evaluation of Teacher Effectiveness." Journal of Research in Music Education, 51(1).
Price, H. E. (1983). "The Effect of Conductor Academic Task Presentation, Conductor Reinforcement, and Ensemble Practice on Performers' Musical Achievement, Attentiveness, and Attitude." Journal of Research in Music Education, 31: 245-257.
Sims, W. L. (1986). "The Effect of High Versus Low Teacher Affect and Passive Versus Active Student Activity During Music Listening on Preschool Children's Attention, Piece Preference, Time Spent Listening, and Piece Recognition." Journal of Research in Music Education, 34: 173-191.
Yarbrough, C. (1975). "The Effect of Magnitude of Conductor Behavior on Performance, Attentiveness, and Attitude of Students in Selected Mixed Choruses." Journal of Research in Music Education, 23: 134-146.
Yarbrough, C. & Price, H. E. (1981). "Prediction of Performer Attentiveness Based on Rehearsal Activity and Teacher Behavior." Journal of Research in Music Education, 29: 209-217.
Yarbrough, C. & Price, H. E. (1989). "Sequential Patterns of Instruction in Music." Journal of Research in Music Education, 37: 179-187.
Yarbrough, C., Price, H. E., & Bowers, J. K. (1991). "The Effect of Knowledge of Research on Rehearsal Skills and Teaching Values of Experienced Teachers." Update, 9: 17-20.
Clifford K. Madesen is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor in the Center for Music Research at Florida State University and coordinator of music education/music therapy/contemporary media. Madsen has taught applied music and public school music at all levels.
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|Title Annotation:||Pedagogy Saturday VII|
|Author:||Madsen, Clifford K.|
|Publication:||American Music Teacher|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2003|
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