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Children's use of personal, social and material resources to solve a music notational task : a social constructivist perspective

In this inquiry, I examined how young children use their personal, social and material resources to solve a music notational task. I asked 13 children, ages 5-9 to notate a song they learned the previous week, sing it back, explain what they did and then teach the song to a classmate the following week. I used Lightfoot and Davis' concept of portraiture as a qualitative research methodology to collect, code, analyze and interpret my data. Data included the children's invented notations and videotaped transcripts of their actions as they created their notations and taught the song to a classmate. Sociocultural Vygotskian developmental theory, activity theory and Bakhtin's dialogic theory provided the interpretive lens through which I examined how the children used their resources as mediational tools to complete the task. / Findings revealed that children who had no previous music training used increasingly sophisticated representational strategies to notate a song, and that they were able to refine their notations when singing the song from their notation, teaching the song or when prompted by an adult or a peer. I concluded that the peer-peer situation was a motivating force for triggering a recursive process of reflections-on-actions and knowing-in-action. Classmates' questions, comments and their singing played a critical role in moving the children to modify their notations and their singing, verbal explanations and gesturing in ways they did not do alone or with me. / Analysis of the children's notations, verbal explanations and teaching strategies provided insights not only into what they knew about music, but also their appropriation of the cultural conventions of writing and their aesthetic sensibilities, as gleaned from their choice of symbols, colours and how they presented their symbols on the page. Interviews with parents, teachers and school principal provided contextual background for interpreting the children's notations and how they approached the task. This study shows the value of adopting a social constructivist approach to teaching the language of music. It also demonstrates that researching the products and processes of children's invented notations from a social constructivist perspective enables more detailed portraits of children's musical and meta-cognitive understandings.
Date January 2007
CreatorsCarroll, Debra, 1952-
PublisherMcGill University
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
CoverageDoctor of Philosophy (Department of Culture and Values in Education.)
Rights© Debra Carroll, 2007
Relationalephsysno: 002594307, proquestno: AAINR32162, Theses scanned by UMI/ProQuest.

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