I am in the middle of marking at the moment. Students often find it difficult to articulate their ideas about teaching music and integrated arts, especially when they are new to these subjects, and are grappling with how to set about teaching them in their own classes (as generalist teachers, not specialists). There can be a lot of paraphrasing of the set text, albeit in a very haphazard, two-unrelated-sentences/phrases-thrown-together way, joined by a conjunction and little else… that’s when whole chunks aren’t being copied verbatim. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what they are on about:

(The additional time required for planning an integrated arts unit) may challenge teachers as the concept of time within the curriculum is a difficult notion to grasp. Time is a continuous changing matter…

Hmm. Last time I looked, time was not ‘matter’ at all (though I agree it is continuously changing. I’d be worried if it wasn’t). Though I wasn’t aware that teachers in general struggle with the concept of time. Most people come to grips with the notion of time sometime during their early childhood (I think my student means that there is never enough time to fit everything into your teaching day – it requires constant management).

Her comment reminds me of a quote from Mike The Cool Person of The Young Ones, who, when asked by Helen Mucous the Escaped Murderess “Is that the time?”, answers smoothly:

No, time is an abstract concept. This is a wristwatch.

Another thing that made me giggle was one student’s list of the range of creative decisions students can make when they are involved in an integrated arts unit:

The artistic benefits… allow students to become creative in their work. Depending on the task, students may need to consider instruments, props, colour, paper, costumes, pencils etc.

It was the inclusion of pencils in this list that made me smile. From broad concepts to the very specific… Still, perhaps this is because I am a musician, rather than a visual artist.

Ten more of these papers to go. Nearly done.


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