Sound of music : a case study of teacher Diane Garrett
Saunders, Jane Laura
Doctor of Philosophy
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A case study of music teacher Diane Garrett, of Thunder Bay, Ontario and the influence and impact on the students of Fort William Collegiate Institute, a high school in Thunder Bay.The purpose of this study is to explore the expert teaching of music teacher Diane Garrett, of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The qualitative case study method set within a constructivist framework was utilized. Seven interviews were conducted with primary participant, Diane Garrett. In order to further explore her influence and impact on the students of Fort William Collegiate Institute in Thunder Bay, Ontario, six former students and two colleagues were interviewed. Archival data, in the form of artifacts and documents, were also examined. The existing body of literature about expert teachers reveals that they share similar personality characteristics (Collinson, 1996; Porter & Brophy, 1988). As well, expert teachers possess a highly developed sense of pedagogical knowledge, expressed in theoretical knowledge and practical teaching skills (Berliner, 1988; Leinhardt & Greeno, 1986; Sternberg & Horvath, 1995). Three themes emerged from the data: building a family, teaching and learning, and striving for excellence. Expert music teacher Diane Garrett encouraged the development of a family-like atmosphere in the classroom, and acted as a parental figure, nurturing, caring and facilitating the emergence of a “musical family” within the F.W.C.I. Music Department. As well, she acted as a role model of musicianship and high performance standards for her students. These themes are discussed as they relate to current literature, educational philosophies (Elliott, 1995; Palmer, 1998; van Manen, 1996), and music teaching practices. In this study, the notion of the expert teacher is reinvented in that the teacher as a parental figure emerges as the most significant finding, providing the field of expert teaching with a new concept and a different set of variables to consider. By exploring Diane Garrett’s combination of mastery in teaching and musicianship and the relationship to her students’ achievement, the myth - “those who can do, those who can’t teach” - is debunked.