A Case Study of Two Preservice Elementary Music Teachers as Culture-Bearers
The integration of music from unfamiliar cultures in music classrooms is part of education curriculums around the world. International music education organizations also have goals for using a variety of musics in music education programs as one way of educating students to meet the 21st century global education targets. In the American education practice, the concept and principles of multiculturalism have been prominent in classroom subjects for over 50 years. In music education, multicultural approaches continue to be included in music standards and curriculum guides across the United States. Music educators, likewise, often use culture-bearers to expose their students to unfamiliar cultural musical experiences to learn directly from the culture representatives. Nevertheless, more can be done to support the idea of preservice general music teachers to explore their culture-bearer pedagogical identities. There is also an increased interest in integrating multicultural music in K-12 classrooms using culturally responsive teaching, preparing music teachers that can teach from a multicultural and culturally responsive perspective, and ongoing research regarding multicultural music and culturally responsive education in general music classrooms.
The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine the perspectives of teaching Cajun music by two preservice elementary teachers as ethnic members of the Louisiana Cajun culture. I examined how teaching multicultural/multiethnic music from a culture-bearer position enhances the participants’ elementary music teaching process while recognizing students’ cultural backgrounds through culturally responsive teaching.
As evidenced from the findings, the exploration of culture bearing can be an important part of multicultural/multiethnic and culturally responsive teaching in general music classrooms. The undergraduate courses in multicultural music, fieldwork, and student teaching experiences were significant in preparing the two participants in this study as they developed a culture-bearer pedagogical identity, and confidence to teach music of other cultures. The participants’ thoughtful realization of culturally responsive teaching is an ongoing development beyond the undergraduate college experience. By encouraging preservice music teachers to develop their cultural music strengths and teach from a culture-bearer identity, we would not only further the celebration of our and each individual’s uniqueness but also contribute to proficiency in both multicultural and culturally responsive education.