An Investigation of Taiwanese Teachers' Experience, Beliefs and Practice in Piano Teaching: Exploring the Scope for Creativity
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This study aimed to explore Taiwanese piano teachers’ beliefs about good teaching, and their practice, particularly teachers who teach beginners or young children; and to gain understanding of how Taiwanese piano teachers perceive creativity in their teaching. The perceptions of piano teaching of seven Taiwanese teachers were explored through using a qualitative methodology, which included an open questionnaire, two interviews separated by observation of classroom practice, and a reflective diary prepared by the participants which was facilitated by video-stimulated recall. The principal areas and findings of my research were that Taiwanese piano teachers’ beliefs about what constituted good lessons are diverse. These were explored from three perspectives, namely, the characteristics of effective teachers, the components of effective lessons, and effective teaching strategies. The participant teachers’ attitudes towards creativity in teaching were also different, and can be categorised as ranging from fixed and rigid, to flexible and open. They identified several teaching strategies as creative teaching, such as using metaphor, storytelling, and Internet resources. Additionally, their various purposes in using creative teaching were observed to be to develop learners’ musical abilities; for enjoyment; and to impart a specific teaching point. Although the teachers’ own experiences were found to have a positive effect on their teaching beliefs, the influence of these benefits was not always evident in their actual practice. Pupils’ low motivation to learn and insufficient practice were considered as the common challenges and, when reflecting on their own teaching in the second interview and in the diaries, most of the participants focused mainly on analysis of pupils’ playing errors, and tended to believe that repeated practice by the learners was the best approach to improving performance. In contrast, two teachers believed their expertise in both music and teaching could help their learners to deal with learning difficulties. Based on these research results, I conclude that creativity in piano lessons can be understood from two perspectives. The first relates to how teachers perceive their own teaching and whether they are content with what they do or seek to develop their teaching competence; the other is associated with teachers’ own philosophy of the function of education, which affects how teachers develop their teaching.
PhD in Education