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The Culture of Education

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    In Some Cases, It's the Culture of Miseducation

    In determining what we believe to be the most effective or quality musical and educational settings for children, researchers and educators may be too zealous. When Bruner (1996) stated that "you cannot teacher-proof a curriculum any more that you can parent-proof a family" (84), he was alluding to this obsession with having an expedient education. Especially in the case of the Head Start vignette, it is clear that music educators also address musical deprivation; our much more enticing labels include Early Childhood Music, Kindermusik, and Musikgarten. The explicit messages presented in these curricula are the instruction of the whole child for later transfer through music and the inclusiveness of parents and family in the music making process; if a teacher maintains these ideals, then the families that receive the instruction will flourish as a result.

    The implicit concerns, however, are that all families can afford this private education, the best possible instruction will emanate from the licensed teachers, and the cultural values of all families are the same, regardless of race, class, and socioeconomic status. The music education that the children are receiving comes with the "failure to equip minds with the skills for understanding and feeling and acting in the cultural world . . . risks creating alienation, de?ance, and practical incompetence. And all of these undermine the viability of a culture" (Bruner, 1996. 42-3). The result, then, is that no culture at all is being taught or preserved, and musical culture as an entity is not experiencing propagation of any kind.

    Close readings of this text are eye-opening and insightful about what is happening in the classroom as well as the cultures that surround it and permeate it. Regardless of
    what ages of students we teach, we need to continually educate ourselves to provide
    the least biased and most comprehensive music program possible; our consciousness has an obligatory equity to our musicianship and scholarship. Bruner is able to communicate these messages (as well as many others) well.

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