An evaluative study of the impact of the introduction of informal learning on motivation, participation and attainment in music in year eight
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Informal learning is a relatively new concept in music education. lt involves peer group and peer led learning, rather than teacher led learning, allowing pupils to discover music for themselves. Pupils learn in a very musical way, by listening and copying, as popular musicians would. Lucy Green is credited for conceiving a way of using informal learning in key stage 3, which became the Musical Futures project. This study investigates the impact of introducing informal learning into music lessons in year 8 in a south Wales comprehensive school on motivation, participation and attainment. Pupils undertook the band carousel and free composition parts of the Musical Futures project over 18 weeks (one and a half terms). An action research approach was adopted, with questionnaires, interviews, structured observations and document analysis undertaken with a total group of 48 pupils and a focus group of 10 pupils. The impact on performing and composing skills was found to be very positive, with all pupils making progress in both areas and 79% of pupils reaching national curriculum level 5 or above in performing. Two thirds of pupils made progress in appraising skills. Engagement and enjoyment improved significantly through the study, data collected from pupils showed that they like to learn in the very manner which informal learning through the Musical Futures project creates - with their friends, working with the music that they like, and with responsibility for shaping their project. Participation in musical activity outside of music lessons rose from a weekly average of 0.39 hours at the start to 0.92 hours by the end. Pupils made regular use of music facilities in the research school and six pupils took up peripatetic lessons as a result of the work that they had been doing in class.
M.A. Education Leadership and Management
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