The art of teaching, much like the pursuit of being a lifelong musician, is a continuously evolving work in progress. Both fields require time to practice, reflect, problem-solve, listen, create, and re-approach the work in the interest of greater understanding, finesse, and artistry. In pursuing my master’s degree, I have been given ample opportunity and encouragement to examine my own teaching, research learners through the lens of current society and future challenges, and to be brave and honest enough to take new risks and be unafraid to shed what isn’t useful in the way I have taught in the past. In fact, it is a long term goal of mine to someday be teaching future music educators at the college level, so I am motivated to seek out what are truly the best practices and techniques I can use in an ever-changing technological world. And above all, like every teacher, I want to be making a meaningful difference in the lives of students I teach. Not only in finding ways to make the kinds of musical learning they do at school relevant to their lives outside of the school day, but to be active in having a residual effect that will encourage them to become lifelong, independent learners and musicians.
Asking students to participate in the process of designing grading systems and assessments to identify quality work will be one of the newest risks I look forward to taking with my project-based learning practice. It’s not an idea that had occurred to me before, as I have always been the sole designer of rubrics and other types of assessments. After all, I am the resident expert in music, right? But am I the expert on how they might be able to recognize quality work, establish desired learning dispositions, and be able to articulate their own thinking on the process of their learning? What better way to value the power of their minds and the importance of their voice in their journey of learning? I welcome the challenge.