This post is part of a series that takes a closer look at the scholarship behind IU Press Journals. Primarily written by journal editors and contributors, posts may respond to articles, provide background, document the development process, or explain why scholars are excited about the journal, theme, or article.
Frederik Pio’s article, "The Music Teacher as a Cultural Figure: A Cautionary Note on Globalized Learning as Part of a Technical Conception of Education,” from the Philosophy of Music Education Review’s newest issue is now available on JSTOR & Project MUSE. Below, Frederik elaborates on breaking the growing trend of measuring music students’ individual learning and striving towards a more collective conscience.
My article on the music teacher as a culture-figure originated in a somehow worried stance towards the idea of “visible learning” and measurable learning goals. This global paradigm, promoted by the EU and OECD, had just found a stronghold in the Danish school act from 2014, and I was kind of worried about the consequences of this for a subject like music.
The way this powerful school policy was orchestrated in Denmark appeared to have a root into the system theory of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. Against this position, I tried to pinpoint what I saw as a possible phenomenological path of thinking. This was motivated by the experience that very large parts of the teacher workload today seem to be carried out more or less as a “private practitioner.” I tried to pick up bits and pieces from Heidegger’s thinking to support the claim that we need not measure the musical learning of our students. Paradoxically, the key to deep learning is rather to engage the students into the shared world of music and teaching, which we inhabit as educators (with all its marginal practices). This was an attempt to show that educators need tools to disclose what such a shared world is all about and to see how music fits into this horizon. If we don’t do this, we will be unable to loosen up the narrow professional identity as “private practitioner.” An enhancement of such a further privatization (that goes hand in hand with measurable global competencies, cf. footnote 2) could ultimately push into a direction I don’t think we need as music teachers.
Frederik Pio is Professor at Aarhus University with degrees in music science and the humanistic theory of science and a PhD in music education. He is Editor of the Nordic Research in Music Education journal and has written both books and journal articles on the subject of music.
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