Preservice and inservice music teachers’ perceptions of teaching in low-SES, urban middle school band programs



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Over the last several decades, there has been a growing interest in the field of music education regarding aspects of teaching in low-socioeconomic status (SES) and urban settings. There has been increased concern that schools serving low-income students experience difficulty recruiting highly qualified teachers and encounter high rates of turnover among teachers (Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2005; Bruenger, 2010). Based on the research currently available, some researchers sought to determine the traits of successful urban teachers (Baker, 2012; Fitzpatrick, 2011), the effect of participation in music on students from low-SES backgrounds (Fitzpatrick, 2006), and strategies for recruiting students into music programs of low-SES schools (Albert, 2006). Other researchers examined the environmental teaching preferences of young or preservice teachers (Boyd, et al., 2005; Bruenger, 2010; Kelly, 2003). However, at the present time, there do not appear to be any studies specifically aimed at understanding the perceptions of preservice teachers or comparing preservice and inservice teachers’ perceptions of teaching in low-SES and urban settings.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of preservice and inservice teachers regarding the challenges and rewards of teaching in low-SES and urban settings. The three primary research questions were: 1.) Do the perceptions of preservice music teachers regarding the challenges and rewards of teaching in low-SES, urban schools align with those of inservice music teachers who are teaching in low-SES, urban schools? 2.) Is there a significant difference in perceptions between preservice teachers who attended low-SES, urban schools and those who attended higher-SES, suburban or rural schools? 3.) Do the perceptions of preservice music teachers have an impact on their desire to apply for positions in low-SES, urban schools and if so, what are those perceptions?

Results of this study showed that preservice and inservice music teachers rated the challenge variables similarly with the exception of district administrative support, which was rated higher by the preservice teachers, and private lesson participation and class scheduling, which were both rated higher by the inservice teachers. Additionally, the preservice teachers rated all reward variables higher than did the inservice teachers.

This study also found that there were very few differences in perceptions of preservice teachers based on their secondary educational backgrounds. Furthermore, preservice teachers who indicated that they would not apply for teaching positions in a low-SES and urban settings rated a majority of the challenge and reward variables higher than did the preservice teachers that indicated they would apply or might apply for these teaching positions. Results are discussed with implications for the music education profession and music teacher preparation programs.



Music education, Urban, Band, Perceptions, Preservice, Teachers