What the body knows about teaching music. The specialist preschool music teacher's pedagogical content knowing regarding teaching and learning rhythm skills viewed from an embodied cognition perspective
Bremmer, Melissa Lucie Viola
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis presents an investigation into the pedagogical content knowing (PCKg) of Dutch experienced specialist preschool music teachers with regard to teaching and learning rhythm skills viewed from an embodied cognition perspective. An embodied cognition perspective stresses the intimate relationship between body, mind and environment. In a multiple case study the research methods – stimulated recall interviews, gesture analysis tasks, physical action analysis tasks, notebooks and semi-structured interviews – were used to elicit the PCKg of six specialist preschool music teachers regarding rhythm skills. The data of these different methods were inductively analysed but sensitising concepts derived from the literature review on PCKg were also used in the analysis. Furthermore, the data were triangulated to gain a comprehensive understanding of the participants’ PCKg. As for the nature of the specialist preschool music teachers’ PCKg regarding rhythm skills the findings illustrated that PCKg is distributed over language, sound, gestures, body positioning and physical actions. Respecting the content of PCKg a new form of (non-verbal) knowledge was explored: “musical communication and musical interaction” that facilitates the learning of rhythm skills of preschoolers. The study is first of all significant for offering a new perspective on the nature of the specialist preschool music teachers’ PCKg: a multimodal and dynamic way of knowing that emerges from the interrelated role between the social, cultural and physical classroom environment, the teaching task and the teacher’s body. Beyond the classroom, these teachers’ bodies form a source for recalling, re-enacting and eliciting classroom experiences to develop and communicate their PCKg. Secondly, it offers a new perspective on the content of the specialist preschool music teachers’ PCKg: these teachers’ bodies take on different roles to mediate the preschoolers’ learning process regarding rhythm skills. These findings have implications for further research, teacher education, practice and policy.
PhD in Education