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The Academic Environment of One Junior High School In Northeastern Pennsylvania as Perceived by the Administration and the English, Mathematics, and Music Faculty: An Ethnography

by Buzzelli-Clarke, Elizabeth

Abstract (Summary)
This ethnographic study describes the academic culture and climate, as it relates to the music program, of a non arts-integrated junior high school as perceived by members of the English, mathematics, music faculty and selected administrators. The study, conducted using a three interview protocol, were guided by four questions: 1) What is the relationship between one’s life experience and their belief systems?; 2) What is the perceived value and influence of a teacher education and music programs?; 3) What are the connections between teaching, learning and music?; 4) What is the realm of influence of a non-arts integrated music program? Ten (10) teachers and two administrators were interviewed and created cognitive maps over the course of the study. The results of the study indicated that the pervading influence over the curriculum was the Pennsylvania state assessment tool the PSSA and making adequate yearly progress (AYP) as indicated in the No Child Left Behind federal mandate. While all of the teachers and administrators espoused the value of student involvement in the school music ensembles, they did not share the NCLB definition of music as part of the core curriculum of the school. They perceived students who were involved in musical ensemble as academically stronger than those that were not involved, while affirming that increased self-esteem, time management skills, and critical thinking skills may result from this involvement. These positive effects, as identified by the teachers and administrators, were seen as transferable to other academic areas, such as math and English. They also felt participation in music ensembles could greatly enhance academic and school success in students that are often removed from participation due to the need for remediation in the PSSA tested areas. Therefore, increased involvement in music and musical activities during the formative junior high school years is perceived to have a positive affect on social, emotional, and cognitive growth of students. School district and community support for a thriving music program will serve to enhance the academic excellence of its students.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Indiana University of Pennsylvania

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:05/08/2008

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