Teachers in Ontario, Canada experience ‘Find Your Voice’
Today one of our Musical Futures champion teachers received an email sent to her school office. The person who sent it came across as extremely angry about the situation in music education in England and made several personal and inaccurate accusations about Musical Futures and the teachers who use these approaches in their classrooms.
This blog is not an attempt to challenge his assertions, the manner in which the email was written and the lack of accurate facts to underpin his accusations make this unnecessary. However it is symptomatic of a certain “my way is better than your way” culture that seems to be growing in strength within the whole education sector as the tide of reforms and changes take their toll on teachers and school leaders.
In the email, the sender asks teachers to watch a video he has created and ask themselves why they are failing their students to such an extent by following approaches such as Musical Futures stating that
I could teach the lollipop men and women to teach music in schools better than Trinity college can teach fully qualified music teachers.
Here are the two videos that have caused him so much distress. You can make up your own mind about which way is better or perhaps, like us, you feel that there is no ‘best’ way to teach and learn music in our classrooms, rather that we should be grateful for the flexibility to choose an approach that is right for our students and their teachers (for as long as that lasts).
The danger in all of this is that we could lose sight of what should be central to any debate-our children and their musical learning. That’s why we at Musical Futures are committed to open source learning. All our resources and training are free and within our tiny team of part-time freelancers, we do our best to support teachers by email, in person and online with anything they might wish to try. In January we will be releasing an app which is designed to put the human face on Musical Futures, the students, teachers and ideas that are central to the growth and development of the approaches. We don’t do this because we are government funded or because we are ‘sponsored’ by OFSTED. We do it because we want to engage with and support teachers in our schools in the best way that we can. If we have a resource or an idea, we will share it as it happens, if we have it, you have it.
We stand behind our mantra that MF is there to be taken, used, innovated with and shared. But if it’s not for you then don’t do it. As always, now more than ever, Musical Futures calls for unity in the music education sector. Let’s stop encouraging the “my way is better than your way” debate and start working with teachers and students to ensure the survival of music in our schools.