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  • 1.
    Ferm Almqvist, Cecilia
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology.
    Vinge, John
    Norway Academy of Music, Norway.
    Väkevä, Lauri
    Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Assessment as learning in music education: The risk of "criteria compliance" replacing "learning" in the Scandinavian countries2017In: Research Studies in Music Education, ISSN 1321-103X, E-ISSN 1834-5530, Vol. 39, no 1, p. 3-18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent reforms in England and the USA give evidence that teaching methods and content can change rapidly, given a strong external pressure, for example through economic incentives, inspections, school choice, and public display of schools' and pupils' performances. Educational activities in the Scandinavian countries have increasingly become dominated by obligations regarding assessment and grading. A common thread is the demand for equal and just assessment and grading through clear criteria and transparent processes. Torrance states that clarity in assessment procedures, processes, and criteria has underpinned widespread use of coaching, practice, and provision of formative feedback to boost achievement, but that such transparency encourages instrumentalism. He concludes that the practice of assessment has moved from assessment of learning, through assessment for learning, to assessment as learning, with "assessment procedures and practices coming completely to dominate the learning experience" and "criteria compliance" replacing "learning". Thus, formative assessment, in spite of its proven educational potential, threatens to be deformative. In this article we will explore to what extent and how this development is visible in two cases, presenting music education in one Norwegian and one Swedish compulsory school setting. Three thematic threads run through this exploration: quality, power, and instrumentalism.

  • 2.
    Ferm Thorgersen, Cecilia
    et al.
    Luleå tekniska universitet.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Teaching for learning or teaching for documentation?: about music teachers' relations to syllabuses in Swedish compulsory schools year 5 to 72013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last years several reforms have influenced the educational system in Sweden. A new curriculum for the compulsory school has offered teachers and pupils a totally new system for assessment. A new credit scale is constructed and all pupils will be graded already in the 6th grade, which means that new teacher groups will have to grade their pupils’ performances. The curriculum describes criteria in three qualitative levels for each subject by defining aspects of a holistic knowing and describing three levels of competence within each of these aspects. Clarity and transparency have been steering concepts in the formulation process in order to offer parents and pupils a better possibility to understand and influence education and assessment in schools. At the same time teachers are expected to make holistic assessments of the pupils’ acquired knowledge. In a subject as music, teachers’ subject knowledge and conceptions of quality can transcend what is currently possible for them to verbalize. In several other subjects written and spoken language constitute the primary media of communication. Musical knowledge though, can be expressed and experienced in sounding forms, a mode of expression which is not easily transduced into writing or speaking. Hence, high demands for verbal clarity in aims and assessment may result in essential parts of music being excluded from teaching and learning, based on a view that these aspects are too complicated to assess equally, or impossible to communicate verbally in a clear way. There is a risk that the new demands on clarity and transparency may reduce the subject to comprise only those aspects that can be easily measured and talked about.

    The current study aims to systematically and critically investigate in which ways the Swedish curriculum with its new assessment- and grading regime influences music teachers’ practice and their students’ musical learning in grade 5 to 7. Earlier research has generally stated that educational reforms take time to implement, but recent reforms in England and USA give evidence that teaching methods and content can change rapidly, given a strong external pressure, for example through economic incentives, inspections, school choice and public display of schools’ and pupils’ performances. Music education could become an easy prey for such pressures, given that music teachers lack a tradition to accompany music with words and that musical assessment criteria often are perceived as subjective, as compared to objective measurables. The demand for clear and explicit criteria offers challenges, since differences between credit levels are expressed as assessable qualities and not measurable quantities. A forced verbalisation of these quality aspects may get consequences for music teachers’ evolving understanding of knowledge aspects, as well as for their experience of and qualitative evaluation of students’ musical achievements and expressions. The first phase of the study includes interviews with music teachers teaching in year 5-7 about changes in their teaching practices as well as their perceptions of the new demands in Lgr11. The second phase will be a survey, aiming to map the implementation scenario among Swedish music teach in the same years. The third and final part gets its inspiration from Engeström’s activity theory where structural and intentional contradictions are expected to have a key function for learning and development. In this phase the teachers’ as well as the students’ perspectives are focused through participant observation, interviews, and collegial conversations. The teachers define the problems found in practice, which are discussed among colleagues who together create strategies for further development. A model for general development work will be constructed through the project. By limiting the investigation to teachers who teach music in year 5-7 the study can claim to generate new knowledge concerning a group of teachers that have been neglected earlier. In the presentation at the conference we will present the study as a whole and also communicate some preliminary results from the first phase interview study.

     

  • 3.
    Leijonhufvud, Susanna
    et al.
    Örebro universitet.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    On the developing of a Swedish national assessment support in music: context, commission, design, and possible outcome2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sweden has adopted the principles of New Public Management by creating an educational market where private and public providers compete to attract school children and where the government is increasing its efforts to measure output and audit the providers. However, Sweden goes against the flow by emphasizing subject specific knowledge and skills instead of key competences. In an attempt to further natonal equivalence when it comes to education, assessment and marking, the Swedish National Agency for Education is issuing supporting kits in different subjects. We have been responsible for the design and production of the supporting kit in music for primary and lower secondary education. In this presentation, we will place this didactical material in a historical context, describe the process from commission to publication and discuss some of the considerations that have guided our work.

  • 4.
    Thorgersen, Ketil
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    The Internet as teacher2014In: Journal of Music, Technology and Education, ISSN 1752-7066, E-ISSN 1752-7074, Vol. 7, no 2, p. 233-244Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social media has led to new opportunities for learning music. In less formalized settings, a whole new arena for learning music has developed. The aim of this article is to investigate student teachers’ experiences of learning to play an instrument with the Internet as a teacher. The investigation was done as an action research study where twelve beginning teacher-training students were given the task to use the Internet to learn how to play an instrument. The students were organized in peer groups to help each other. Documentation of the progress happened through logbooks. The project lasted for half a year in 2011 and had a triple intention: to provide the students with experience about learning how to play by help of the Internet, for the students to learn to play a second instrument, and to investigate if and how learning practices for learning an instrument aided by the Internet could be useful in music teacher training.

  • 5.
    Zandén, Olle
    Stockholm University.
    Att arbeta med kvaliteter i populärmusik2011In: Perspektiv på populärmusik och skola / [ed] Claes Ericsson, Monica Lindgren, Lund: Studentlitteratur AB, 2011, 1, p. 69-82Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Cultural Sciences.
    Function-based accompaniment om keyboards (FUBAK)2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Function-based accompaniment on keyboards (FUBAK)

    The new curriculum for music in Swedish compulsory school puts strong emphasis on singing and ensemble-playing. Each child is expected to learn basic keyboard, guitar, bass and percussion skills. This puts great demands both on schools’ equipment and on teaching methods. In this workshop, a method for whole-class teaching of fundamental keyboard skills is presented.  The method has been tested with teacher students that have no earlier experience with playing piano or keyboard. The results are promising: within nine weeks, all participant students could accompany childrens’ songs with three to six chords without looking at their fingers and they could transpose these songs into a new key with no more than fine minutes of practice.

    The FUBAK-metod is based on some simple principles:

    • Each function (Tonic, Dominant etc.) has its dedicated fingering that is kept during transpositions

    • When changing between functions (chords) each voice is moving as short a distance as possible

    • Each chord is in three part harmony with the left hand playing the root of the chord and the right hand playing two other chord notes.

    • The main focus is on aural and kinaesthetic perception of the playing – visual and tactile aspects are actively ignored aside in order to focus on sound and movements.

    This function-based method for learning basic accompaniment on keyboard seems promising on the following grounds:

    1: For teachers with little or no experience of piano-playing, it provides a quick way of learning to accompany while keeping contact with the class instead of focusing on the fingers and chords.

    2: For music teachers it provides a quick method to teach chord-playing to children

    3: The function-based approach inculcates, through playing, a theoretical understanding of the relation between chords within a key. It also gives a  hands-on, or rather “in-hand”-experience of  voicing and does to a large extent facilitate accompaniment by ear.

    4: The same technique can be used for different musical roles: a) bass-line in left hand and chords (two notes) in right, b) chords (two notes) in left hand and melody or improvisation in right hand, c)  the bass is left to another instrument and the keyboardist plays only the two notes that constitute the chord.

    In summary,  this  method for Function Based Accompaniment on Keyboards provides music teachers with a simple and effective way to teach playing and theoretical understanding simultaneously.

  • 7.
    Zandén, Olle
    Stockholms universitet.
    Fyra förrädiska förgivettaganden2011In: Musik och kunskapsbildning: en festskrift till Bengt Olsson / [ed] Monica Lindgren, Anna Frisk, Ingemar Henningsson, Johan Öberg, Göteborg: Konstnärliga fakulteten, Göteborgs universitet , 2011, 1, p. 193-200Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Grundfragen der musikdidaktik: internationale bilder von musikunterricht: beispiel Schweden2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 9.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Music teachers' constructions of teachers' and pupils' roles and identities2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In an analysis of music teachers’ collegiate discourses on upper secondary students’ ensemble playing (Zandén 2010) the teachers’ discourses were of a surprisingly lay character; the discourses seemed to a large extent to draw on everyday conceptions of quality. In a subsequent study of how the Swedish words musikalisk (musical), talang (talent) and begåvad (gifted) are used on the internet (Zandén 2011) I concluded that these concepts were seldom used in ways that hinted at the possibility that they denote developable capacities. If music teachers subscribe to this commonsensical idea of musicality as a stable, innate gift and assign pupils roles and identities accordingly, it might well influence their teaching and their expectations of progress among their pupils.

    This presentation focuses on how the role of the teacher and the roles of the pupils are constituted in music teachers’ dialogues with their colleagues. The data consists of ten hours of recorded music teachers’ group-discussions on pupils’ musical performances.  Half of these discussions was recorded in 2007 and focused on 17-18-year old pupils’ ensemble playing while the other half was recorded in 2011 and focused on 15-16-year old pupils’ ensemble playing and musical compositions. Both sets of data were originally used for analysing music teachers’ assessments and conceptions of quality. Thus, the ways in which the teachers expressed themselves about teachers and pupils as such were not the focus of discursive attention, neither in the discussions nor in the ensuing analysis. In this study, the data are reanalysed in order to elicit the music teachers’ construction of pupils’ and teachers’ roles and identities as expressed in the dialogues. 

  • 10.
    Zandén, Olle
    Stockholms universitet.
    Professionalise or perish: a case for heightened educational quality through collegiate cooperation2010In: Nordisk musikkpedagogisk forskning: Årbok, ISSN 1504-5021, Vol. 12, p. 117-134Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, I will argue for the necessity of developing a professional jargon among music teachers; a collegiate discourse in which musically and artistically relevant aspects of music-making and music education are continuously addressed and cultivated in order to improve the quality of music education on all educational levels. As my point of departure I present findings from my doctoral thesis which suggest that music teachers may be unaccustomed to discussing the sounding aspects of music and that they have low confidence in their didactical efficacy. Drawing from different fields of research, I sketch some prerequisites for a reform of music teachers’ collegiate discourse. However difficult it may be to talk about music in a musically relevant way, I contend that a living, evolving professional collegiate discourse on musical and music-didactical issues is a prerequisite for general progress within music education, for fair and equal assessment and marking in schools and for the establishment of a strong music teacher profession with the capacity to argue successfully for music as an essential part of public education.

  • 11.
    Zandén, Olle
    Högskolan för scen och musik vid Göteborgs universitet.
    Samtal om samspel: Kvalitetsuppfattningar i musiklärares dialoger om ensemblespel på gymnasiet2010Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    The Birth of a Denkstil: Transformations of music teachers' conceptions of quality in the face of new grading criteria2016In: Nordisk musikkpedagogisk forskning: Årbok, ISSN 1504-5021, Vol. 17, p. 197-225Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study is to investigate and describe how a new music curriculum with defined content and assessment criteria can influence music specialist teachers’ style of thinking and conceptions of musical quality regarding lower secondary students’ creative music making.

    The research questions are:

    • How is composition defined in the teachers’ dialogues?
    • What conceptions of quality are expressed in the teachers’ evaluations of the compositions?
    • To what extent do the teachers’ knowledge requirement-based assessments differ from their first, spontaneous appreciation of the pupils’ creative music making?

    The findings indicate that creative music making is a poorly delimited concept that can be used both for a musical idea and for a whole performance. In the teachers’ initial assessments of the students’ compositions, they revealed a common style of thinking based on an artistic insider-understanding of musical qualities. However, when they started discussing the compositions from the standpoint of the new curriculum and its knowledge requirements, this style of thinking was largely abolished. It was replaced by a new style of thinking in which evaluative judgments were carefully avoided in favour of factual descriptions. These findings suggest that explicit criteria can have a strong impact on the conceptions of quality that are developed within a school culture. In the case of music education, this could result in a style of thinking and a teaching that differs dramatically from both lay and professional conceptions of musical quality

  • 13.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Till en kritik av tydlighetsdokrinen2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This presentation is an attempt to highlight, criticise and refute the naïve view of verbal, especially written language as clear and unambiguous that is promoted by, among others, the Swedish minister of education and the Swedish national agency for education. In my view, a critique of this doctrine of verbal clarity (tydlighetsdoktrinen) is pertinent and timely, since the international trend towards new public management includes an increasing emphasis on auditing, risk management, marketisation and pupils/students as customers, all of which are premised on criteria and activities being unambiguously expressed in plain language. In schools as well as in higher education the doctrine underlies legitimate demands that goals and criteria in syllabi shall be transparent, that is, shall give the reader a clear understanding of what he or she is expected to learn and know. The doctrine is also at play when the quality of higher education institutions and schools is ranked; the legitimacy of these rankings lies in the supposition that the measurements and assessments underlying the rankings are clear, trustworthy, transparent windows that provide objective information about actual and relevant qualitative differences. Of course, optimal clarity must always be strived for in communication and education, which makes it difficult to question the doctrine of clarity, but the key problem with the doctrine is that it is grounded in a flawed, not to say incorrect understanding of verbal communication.

     

    In the Swedish school system, clarity (tydlighet) has become a prestige word associated with theories about learning, good teaching, public control and objectiveness and fairness in marking. However remote the doctrine is from how language actually functions, it influences all education through the assessment regimes that are based on it and whose results are treated as clear summative evidence of the overall quality of the assessed activities and organisations, be they kindergartens or universities. The doctrine of verbal clarity is promoted as a means to raise quality and increase the nation’s international competitiveness as knowledge society. However, since the doctrine denounces all language that is not open and clear to the public and demands of teachers on all levels to make themselves unambiguously understood, the obvious risk is that complex qualities and qualities that are difficult to define verbally are likely to be excluded from teaching and marking. The Swedish school inspectorate has for example recently suggested that writing essays shall no more be included in national assessments since marking essays is a matter of judgement and thus not sufficiently unambiguous, objective and transparent.

     

    I claim that, in order to be didactically fruitful, clarity must be redefined in a more realistic and productive way, that is, as the result of situated dialogical work within thinking communities (communities of practice). In music education, apart from music being a non-verbal form of expression, there often seems to be a reluctance to sully the immediate musical expressions and impressions with words. However, given the increasing pressure to adapt to the doctrine of verbal clarity, it is important that music teachers approach the problems of talking about music from a musical perspective. Otherwise they will probably not be able to resist the pressure to narrow their teaching to the easily describable and measurable. It might even be that this pressure is a strong enough threat to overcome some romantic ideas about music, including musical talent, that have hindered music teachers from developing a professional discourse that deals with the subject content in a musically meaningful way. In this process, collegiate cooperation is key, a cooperation in which it is essential to differentiate between exoteric and esoteric musical qualities and knowledge, the latter denoting such qualities and knowledge that are not directly accessible from without, but can be understood only from within the Denkstil of music. The recognition of clarity as context dependent refutes the simplistic and naïve view of language that is presently promoted by the Swedish government and is a way to counter tendencies that otherwise will impoverish education. As opposed to the monological idea that language can fully capture what it is denoting, I suggest that the metaphor of accompaniment can be enlightening when talking about musical qualities. In music, an accompaniment does not replace the song or melody, but contributes to its’ meanings by putting it in perspective. Accompanists, as well as the accompaniment as such, can be more or less tight or “true” or sensitive to the meanings and intentions of the soloist or the solo part. By talking about music when it happens, by letting dialogues accompany music in real time, productive metaphorical work can be done among music teachers, a work in which the musical senses may be sharpened and a musically meaningful language can develop.

     

    To summarise: schools and universities worldwide are increasingly burdened by a naïve doctrine of verbal clarity, the offspring of which I suspect will be a narrowing and levelling of what is taught and learned. This doctrine might be successfully countered if verbal clarity is redefined as the result of situated, cooperative, dialogical work. Within music education I suggest that such work can benefit from using spoken language as accompaniment to music and music making. Given that this is a good idea, what part can music education research take in this pursuit?   

  • 14.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Tydlighetsdoktrinen: en kritisk betraktelse2014In: Blickar: kulturvetenskapliga perspektiv på utbildning / [ed] Niklas Ammert, Ulla Rosén & Jonas Svensson, Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2014, 1, p. 221-244Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 15.
    Zandén, Olle
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Videobasierte Unterstützungssysteme zur Bewertung musikpraktischer Leistungen - Anregungen aus Schweden: Unterstützungssysteme für 9e Klasse.2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 16.
    Zandén, Olle
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.
    Ferm Thorgersen, Cecilia
    Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.
    Teaching for learning or teaching for documentation?: Music teachers' perspectives on a Swedish curriculum reform2015In: British Journal of Music Education, ISSN 0265-0517, E-ISSN 1469-2104, Vol. 32, no 1, p. 37-50Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study analyses ten Swedish music teachers’ descriptions of how a new music syllabus and a new credit scale have influenced their practice. In the new curriculum, grading is introduced in year six and not, as previously, in year eight. We have therefore focused on the effects of this change on school years five to seven. The new syllabus is much more precise and explicit than the earlier one, and it is reported to have strongly affected both teachers’ and pupils’ work in the classroom. Teachers are facing a number of dilemmas when trying to combine the demands of the syllabus with their conceptions of quality in music education. 

  • 17.
    Zandén, Olle
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Thorgersen, Ketil
    Stockholms universitet.
    Internet as teacher?2012In: NNMPF 2012,  Abstracts, 17th conference of the Nordic Network for Music Educational Research Reykjavík, 22. – 24. February 2012, University of Iceland, 2012, p. 44-45Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    For economical reasons, today’s students in Swedish music teacher education are provided with a fraction of the tuition time that was considered necessary thirty years ago. Since there are no resources for instrumental tuition within the curriculum, alternative ways of encouraging students’ learning must be explored. The advance of, and access to, information and communication technologies (ICT) , has lead to new platforms and opportunities for learning music through social platforms for sharing, exchanging and collaborating in all stages of producing music. In less formalized settings for learning music, a whole new arena for learning music has consequently developed. As Väkevä (2010) states, informal settings for musical learning are no longer placed solely in garage bands: Through the advance of technology for communication, creating, sharing and interaction a set of new and extended arenas for learning music has developed. There is a growing body of research concerning the use of computer software in music education, but as yet there is no published research on using internet in learning to play a musical instrument. However, internet offers a plethora of guides, tips and tricks for playing different musical instruments. Georgii-Hemming and Kvarnhall ( 2011) have coined the expression “the digital music pedagogue” for YouTube-clips that are explicitly produced for didactical purposes. They emphasise that such didactical resources are lacking both the dialogical relation and the cultural historical situatedness that traditional institutional didactical contexts provide. They also tend to regard viewing and listening as mainly passive activities. However, it is an empirical question to what extent YouTube can be used for active learning purposes. A Google search on such an esoteric activity as to “learn accordion” returns 19 000 hits and a YouTube search on ”learn” + “accordion” returns over 2 000 hits. Clearly, there are vast resources at the fingertips of the internet-user and the question is to what extent these resources can be used for musical learning.

    This presentation reports on  a project that lasted for half a year in 2011 and had a triple intention. 1) It was supposed to provide the students with experiences about learning how to play by help of the internet in ways similar to what some of their pupils-to-be possibly will be doing. 2) The students were to learn to play a second instrument besides their regular one – something which the new syllabus (Lgr11) requires from pupils. 3) The project aimed to investigate if and how out-of-school practices for learning an instrument aided by the Internet could be useful in music teacher training.

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