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Title: Investigating students’ learning of sustainable development through music education: An exploratory study at Key Stage 3 in England
Authors: Cheng, Yusi
Advisors: Buckingham, S
Wainwright, E
Zwozdiak-Myers, P
Keywords: Education for sustainable development;Environmental education;Affectivity
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: ‘Education’ is widely regarded as the primary agent of transformation towards ‘sustainable development (SD). In England, ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ (ESD) has been an established part of the National Curriculum, but in secondary schools, the subject of music, which seems to have great potential for helping in creating interest and awareness of SD to foster responsible behaviours, appears more often to be ignored. There is a growing enthusiasm for, and anecdotal recognition of, the benefits of using music in the teaching of SD issues to young people amongst educators and musicians. However, no in-depth ESD empirical research with regard to music education and few ESD good practices currently exist. To this end, the PhD, which examines the pedagogical potential of music in ESD and the role of music as a learning medium in the development of students’ capacities necessary for a more sustainable future, fills this research gap. An ethnographical intervention, informed by constructionist and symbolic interactionist approaches, is employed in this project. Sets of music-SD lessons in the lower stages of four secondary schools in London boroughs were analysed as case studies of how SD might be taught in music classrooms. Evidence suggested that it is feasible and beneficial to embed SD into the secondary music curriculum. The findings demonstrated that a transformative pedagogical approach in ESD was achieved by combining different methods for integration, including listening, composing and performing pieces of music, raps and songs on SD and creating and performing junk instruments, with a range of strategies of ESD, such as discussion, audio and visual activities, brainstorming and co-operative work, in a holistic process. For some students, compared with the traditional subjects for ESD, such as geography and science, the particular ways of learning SD within the musical context seemingly resulted in their higher level of enthusiastic, active, participative, affective and transformative learning, and thus positively affected the achievement of the outcomes of ESD, which was manifested in the development of their SD-related understandings, skills, attitudes and potential behaviours.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London
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Dept of Clinical Sciences Theses

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