Songs that Provoke Curriculum

Looking forward to Provoking Curriculum, a conference sponsored by the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies (CACS), the University of Regina (UofR) Centre for Teaching and Learning and the UofR Faculty of Education.  As performative scholarship, I am presenting/ performing “Songs of Beginning Teachers,” which is a song cycle based upon data drawn from the “Beginning Teachers Study” (BTS). Headed by Dr. Jacqui Specht from Western University, inclusive education researchers collected survey and interview data looking at new teachers’ instructional practices, beliefs and overall confidence in teaching in diverse classroom. The name of this pan-Canadian study is “The Development of Inclusive Educational Practices for Beginning Teachers.”

From the large sample of questionnaires, 37 beginning teachers were interviewed; these interviews were transcribed.  Researchers were interested in which of the following 11 salient areas offered the most educational significance within these three afore-mentioned factors (instructional practices, beliefs and overall confidence). These areas are:

  • Knowledge from courses and workshops
  • Personal experience with people with disabilities
  • Personal experience general
  • Personal learning experience
  • Experience with learners in practicum
  • Discussions with school personnel
  • Observations with school personnel
  • Interactions with parents
  • Associate teachers general
  • Practicum general
  • Work/volunteer experience

After these outcomes, the work here began, which followed at times a more conventional qualitative data analyses, and at times more unconventional Arts-Based Education Research (ABER) stratagem. The 37 transcriptions were read in their entirety several times, data were coded; categories created and themes emerged. Songs were written based upon these themes. Lyrics were fashioned from participants’ actual responses. The hope is that the songs lay the foundation to foster a deep emotionality of the experiences of teachers in their beginning inclusive practices, beliefs and confidence. These songs/themes are so named:  Everybody Learns in the Circle, You Would Go to a Different School, BTS Dirt Bike Rider, Key People at Key Points, and We Could Do Something Amazing!

How appropriate on the heels of National Inclusion Month!