Music Teacher Preparation for Inclusion of Students with Special Needs: Survey of Music Teacher Educators in the United States
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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Current music teacher educators at colleges and universities were examined to determine how they prepare preservice music teachers to work with students with special needs. Participants included music education professors from 31 states. I used an internal review, a peer review, and a pilot study to test for content and face validity. The anonymous questionnaire was distributed via the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Research Survey Assistance program. Questions were grouped into five categories: (a) demographic information; (b) K-12 professional experience; (c) personal training to work with students with special needs; (d) college teaching responsibilities/course content; and (e) proposed changes to course content/curriculum. Data analysis of results consisted primarily of descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages). Most participants rated their own undergraduate preparation to work with students with special needs as less than adequate; however, they also rated their post-undergraduate preparation to work with students with special needs as adequate or higher. A Spearman correlation coefficient indicated a moderate, positive, monotonic correlation observed between methods courses participants taught and SPED topics incorporated into these courses. The more undergraduate music methods courses participants taught, the more likely they were to incorporate SPED topics into these courses. Future research recommendations include replicating this study using College Music Society members, applied music faculty, etc. Additionally, researchers could survey music teacher educators and preservice music teachers from an exemplar music program regarding how the program prepares future music teachers to work with students with special needs. Another recommendation includes a longitudinal study of this same exemplar music education program. Preservice music teachers would be surveyed and interviewed prior to student teaching and following completion of their first year of teaching regarding how the program prepares them to work with students with special needs. Before and after results would be compared to look for differences and trends. Results from this study may benefit music education by informing music teacher educators and institutional administrators of the trends from this study. More research is needed in this field to uncover how music teacher education programs prepare preservice music teachers to work with students with special needs.