Advanced Studies in Curriculum Development

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Advanced Studies in Curriculum Development

The development of the new BTEC National Diploma in Music course will be discussed, specifically looking at the revision of the Studying Music from around the World Unit. Firstly the rationale and reasoning for its place as an important area within music as an educational and vocational context will be touched upon.

Music is seen as a major art form and as a result offers students the possibility of developing their imagination, creativity skills and also stretching their individual intellectual capabilities. As an art form it provides a means of expression and communication. The BTEC specification provided by EDEXCEL: ‘Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Nationals in Music For first teaching September 2007 © Edexcel Limited 2007’ leans towards the idea of a vocational education, therefore requiring the students to experience music within a ‘real working environment’. The specification for this area enables the practical, theoretical and contextual study of music to be studied, allowing the learners to create, perform and critique all aspects of the Music world.

Over the past six months a new syllabus has replaced the old and as a result many units have been updated, with one of them being the Studying Music from around the World Unit. Within the old syllabus there were many criteria that had to be achieved in order to pass the unit. This caused many problems as some criterion were vague and others unrealistic within the amount of time given on the subject. This has now been developed and the unit content and criteria more transparent. This allows the learners to achieve both the theoretical and practical aspects of the units. In the past quantity was reined over quality. The unit used to focus briefly on seven or eight countries instead of conducting in-depth analysis on three or four. The changes that have been implemented means that the learner really does learn and acquires knowledge at a steady effective pace. The scheme of work and lesson resources have been developed in order to ensure all learning outcomes are being met. While students study this unit there will be on going tests and there will be five weeks of practical session were the learners produce a musical piece that encompasses the different characteristics and styles of the music’s they have been studying. This ensures that they understand the content of the unit and have the opportunity to record what they have learnt.

I felt that the old specification did not allow for inclusion of different abilities as it did not allow time to introduce the subject slowly or allow the learners to develop basic skills then eventually progress onto more complex aspects. The new specification allows time for breaking down information and delivering it in a more effective way. It caters for beginners as well as more advanced students. The National Music Teachers association’s policy will be discussed in terms of values that could possibly be transferred to the development project being looked at.

The National Music Teachers Association provides initiatives that could potentially develop and maximise music within education, and has a policy that discusses issues and problem areas within Music education. ‘A high quality music education enables pupils to make informed choices about participation in music beyond school and into adult life. Pupils should have access to information about routes into further and higher education and professional training.’ (NDTA Policy paper, 2004:5) The English curriculum and qualifications are the main area for discussion. It is the only organisation that supports and develops music teachers and music as an important area within an educational context. Not only does the organisation provide quality training for teachers, it also offers young people access to projects led by professional music artists. The government also...
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