Music Teaching in Botswana Secondary Teacher Training Colleges
A Case of Molepolole College of Education
Otukile Sindiso Phibion
University of Botswana
University of Pretoria
Shirley Marang Kekana
University of Botswana
corresponding author: O. S. Phibion, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Botswana
University of Pretoria
Shirley Marang Kekana
University of Botswana
corresponding author: O. S. Phibion, email@example.com
Phibion, Otukile S., F. Rabatoko, and S. M. Kekana. 2017. “Music Teaching in Botswana Secondary Teacher Training Colleges: A Case of Molepolole College of Education.” Accelerando: Belgrade Journal of Music and Dance 2:2.
The purpose of this study is to find out facts on music teaching in Botswana Secondary Teacher Training Colleges. The authors conducted a formal study with regard to the Diploma in Secondary Education with a component of Music Education Training in Botswana. The study was conducted in Botswana at Molepolole College of Education (MCE) which is the only government Secondary Teacher Training College, offering music in the whole country. Data were collected over a period of time by the three authors through meetings with staff and students surveys. The process was informed by involving all three authors. The leading author consecutively moderated this college for twelve years whilst the other two have been lecturers at the research college. This experience facilitated a further exploration of the competence frameworks in music education that they believed offered a narrow and technical view that neglected personal attributes and qualities. Apart from observations, research information was obtained through external examination/moderation reports review compiled consecutively over a number of years. Some of the information was obtained through consultation of government documents such as: The National Development Plan 10 (NDP 10), Vision 2016, Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE) and Education for Kagisano with regard to prospects of music teaching in Botswana. In addition, Colleges of Education documents such as syllabuses, regulations, and prospectus were also consulted. It became evident through this research that music is accorded low status hence termed a minor subject as compared to other subjects called major. This research revealed that the admission process is also biased towards “Major” subjects. Initially there used to be interviews for “minor” opting students selection which have been since abandoned. The review found that lecturers at MCE were committed to serving for excellence yet strong criticism was made of perceived limitations of the existing curriculum. This research also intended to find out the future growth of music at this college, possibly its upgrading to the status of a major with increased teaching time.
Keywords: Major, Minor, and Elective, Music Education, College of Education, Botswana, Teacher Education.
Molepolole College of Education (MCE) first opened its doors in January 1985 as the first institution in Botswana offering a Diploma in Secondary Education (DSE). The Diploma in Secondary Education is a fulltime programme extending over three academic years with the inclusion of Teaching Practice (TP). The first music education lecturers in Botswana graduated from the University of Reading United Kingdom in mid-eighties and early nineties, and were posted to Primary and Secondary Teacher Training Colleges in Lobatse, Tlokweng, Serowe, Francistown and Molepolole respectively. Music education was initially offered as a major subject (a subject in which a student specialises from which more credits are drawn) at MCE sharing the same status with other teaching subjects until 1989 when its status was reduced to an elective. In 1992, music education was accorded the status of a minor subject at both MCE and Tonota Secondary Training College of Education (TCE). According to the Academic Regulations for Diploma in Secondary Education, a minor subject is defined as “a specialisation subject that comprises courses with lesser content/credits than the major subject”. At the end of 1998, the Music Education Department was closed at TCE with all its instruments transferred to MCE still as a minor subject. This move was in response to grouping practical subjects in order to reduce costs. Since then, music education has been offered at MCE as a minor subject paired with major subjects which form the determinant factor for admission. The major subjects with which music is paired are: Art, Design &Technology, Setswana, English, Moral Education, Religious Education, as well as other core subjects such as Foundations of Education, Communication and Study Skills, Educational Technology, and Special Needs Education.
Whilst music education is currently offered at MCE, there are Primary Colleges of Education offering a Diploma in Primary Education (DPE) located in Serowe and Tlokweng respectively. Botswana College of Distance and Opening Learning (BOCODOL) is also offering a Diploma in music. At the two colleges of education offering a Diploma in Primary Education, music is offered with other subjects such as Physical Education, Music and Art under the umbrella name; Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). This is meant to prepare teaching for primary schools. On the other hand, the University of Botswana offers Music Education being part of a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed. Primary) in the Department of Primary Education to in-service teachers. In this department, some in-service students from both management and primary education degree programmes take music education as either an elective, optional, or a core course for their practical specialization teaching concentration. Furthermore, pre-service students from various departments are also eligible to enrol for music education as an elective.
This study was conducted over a period of twelve consecutive years through a qualitative approach to explore and understand the selection, attitudes, perceptions and opinions of pre-service music student-teachers at MCE. As qualitative research is often experience based, most qualitative researchers rely on other criteria beyond validity and reliability to determine the quality of their research (Huberman 1995 quoted in Carrillo 2015, 454). A case study was deemed suitable for this research in which music facts on teaching at Molepolole College of Education were the main focus. Practical participant observations during classroom teaching, teaching practice assessment, document analysis and review including internal and external moderation reports and oral interviews were employed. The research sample included year 1 to 3 music student-teachers at Molepolole College of Education. In order to ensure credibility, the participants were actively engaged in the construction of their narrative accounts throughout this process during which rapport was established. As Carrillo (2015, 453) clearly stated, the rapport and trust that developed over the course of the interviews allowed the participants to describe the context of their experiences, to reconstruct the details of these experiences, and to reflect on their meaning. Empirical data collection for this study took different phases of the study, which is the move supported by Smith (2003, 81) in his assertion that analysis in qualitative research does not occur at the end of the study as is the case with quantitative research. Following suggestions by Maree (2010, 101), data was analysed through qualitative techniques such as: content analysis, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, and narrative analysis. The choice of sample was determined by the notion that pre-service music student teachers are insiders in the field of study, and therefore regarded as the most relevant research participants towards collection of this empirical data. In this research, the sample of informants ranged from seven to thirty candidates at MCE. As Carrillo (2015) stated when quoting Bronfenbrenner (1979), human beings develop as they adapt to the changing conditions of their immediate settings and the larger contexts in which these settings are embedded. The professional identity of teachers is therefore affected by complex personal factors that are often interconnected.
Data were collected over a period of years through school visits for practical participant observations during classroom teaching, teaching practice assessment, document analysis and reviews including internal and external moderation reports as well as oral interviews were employed. The research sample included year 1 to 3 music student-teachers at Molepolole College of Education.
purpose of the study
This study is intended to investigate procedures associated with music education as a minor teaching subject at (MCE). While this study investigates facts surrounding the teaching of music education as a minor subject, it also examines the subjects’ status as compared to major subjects. Furthermore, this study focuses on students’ attitudes and commitment towards major versus minor subjects. The researchers also sort to ascertain the pre-service music teachers’ perceptions about their expected role upon completion of the DSE programme with regard to their teaching in Botswana Junior Secondary Schools. This was viewed in relation to their opinions about the training they received with special emphasis to mastery and competency in content delivery, instrumental performance, and readiness to teach. Lastly, this study is intended to accord pre-service music teachers an opportunity to articulate their views with regard to the overall subject combination, as well as status accorded to each component in the whole DSE programme.
findings and discussion
In the discussion, researchers addressed the following subtopics: entry requirements, staffing and student enrollment, facilities and access, challenges posed by major and minor subject combinations, subject components and assessment.
The requirements and admission procedures for music education are entirely based on the Academic Regulations for Diploma in Secondary Education revised 2010, article 3.0. This article states that, the normal minimum entrance requirements shall be the Botswana General Certificate in Secondary Education (BGCSE) or its equivalent with credits in at least three subjects. Furthermore, article 3.4 submits that, candidates should also normally meet departmental requirements in their intended major and minor subjects. In the music department, the same Academic Regulation (2010, 39) stipulates that an entry requirement to music education is “interest in Music”. It is through this process that students are admitted for Major subjects taking into consideration the above stipulated regulations, which becomes the basis of choosing minor subjects of their interest. This study further discovered that the entry requirements for DSE on the basis of major subjects are at the detriment of the quality of music education as a subject. Kelly (2002) contends on the importance of the teacher as a pivotal role player by stating that the principal proponent for curricular implementation is the teacher. (Ibid., 43)
Faculty and Student Enrollment
The music education department’s establishment register calls for six staff members inclusive of the head of department. Currently three lecturers employed on permanent and pensionable basis are on study leave in pursuit of their masters’ degrees in music education. In the absence of these three, the department recruited three music educators on a two year contract. The minimum qualifications required for staff entry is first degree in music education. The number of students per enrollment never exceeds 30, and it has over the years been declining to 11 students in 2010 and 6 students in 2012 respectively. This decline is attributed to a demand by music education staff that music as a practical subject needs a manageable number of students per class for quality in educational instruction and delivery. There is no basic criterion for enrolment into music education classes since the determining admission factor is a qualification for the major subjects.
Facilities and Access
The music department has a separate (stand-alone) building made up of staff offices, lecture halls, practice rooms, recording studio and a choir room. The practice blocks serve a positive role for individual students’ practices and rehearsals for musical instruments such as keyboard, recorder, and sight singing. In addition to the above mentioned instruments, the practice blocks also house various instruments such as guitars, djembe drums, lamella phones, fiddles, marimba, drum sets, PA system and brass instruments. The choir room is for the college choir practices and rehearsals as well as the venue for both theory and practical examinations. Students’ number to practice rooms is restricted for the safety of instruments. In the afternoon, after 4.30 p. m. the keys are taken and kept by the security officers on duty. Keys can only be given to students accompanied by their music lecturers. The availability of various instruments and music practice rooms at the music department is affirmed by the National Vision 2016 that Botswana has achieved a marked improvement in the quantity of educational facilities, provided to its citizens, but the pace of educational change has lagged behind the pace of national development. "The challenge is now to improve the quality of education" (National vision 2016). In music education, the challenge is more towards the quality of practical work for students.
Challenges posed by major and minor subject combinations
The major subjects with which music is paired are: Art, Design &Technology, Setswana, English, Moral Education, and Religious Education. It is noteworthy to point out that both Art and Design & Technology are practical subjects as much as music education. In addition, the colleges of Education offer other core subjects such as Foundations of Education, Communication and Study Skills, Educational Technology, and Special Needs Education. These core subjects are compulsory to all students. While the weekly time allocation for practical major subjects is 12 hours per week, per year group, time allocation for minor practical subjects is 6 hours per week, per year group. On the extreme some teachers reported the encounter of confrontational issues from school administrators where they were told that the training they received at college was not adequate to handle the music education program. To validate this observation, Carey (2012) emphasizes that "University departments are under increasing pressure to prepare graduates for the work environment, to include activities that are vocationally oriented in order to achieve the expectations of society" (Ibid., 313). Carey continues to state that, the music industry had been rapidly changing in the previous decade, requiring musicians to be increasingly flexible, creative and technologically literate with the ability to self-manage and direct their own careers and adapt readily to change (Ibid., 315). This study has established some negative statements towards music education echoed by participants. The negativity here emanates from the requirements of the course as clearly stated in the (MCE) Academic Regulations for Diploma in Secondary Education (revised 2010) in the definition of practical subject that, it is "a subject that places emphasis on an individual’s performance or psychomotor skills, has a strong laboratory experimental or field-based aspect/ area, and has some assessment based on direct observation or practical work." According to Carey, given the profound shifts that have been occurring in the global knowledge economy and the careers of those who seek to work within it, music institutions are no different from many of their counterparts in other disciplines in needing to re-assess student needs. (Ibid., 313). Lack of clearly defining criterion for music education defies recommendation 1 paragraph 2.3.17 of the RNPE that the commission recommends that equity continues to be an explicit goal of educational policy and that the Ministries responsible for education and training should introduce appropriate measures to achieve greater equity. In response to this plea, Carey (Ibid., 313) has this to say, at a 2010 International Society of Music Education in Beijing; music scholars from around the world painted a realistic picture of the skills required for employment opportunities for musicians in the real world of music. They unanimously agreed that most professional opportunities for musicians will expect to undertake a broad range of activities and will need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances.
Subject Components and Assessment
Music education at MCE focuses on three basic areas: (1) Music Theory (2) Professional Studies (pedagogy) and (3) Practical Component. The content of the theory part prepares student teachers to implement the Junior Secondary School (JSS) syllabus from a theoretical perspective, while the professional studies component empowers them with methods of teaching. The practical component which emphasises keyboard studies, recorder, and vocal sight/singing is also in line with the practical component of the JSS syllabus. The researchers are of the view that the practical component of the course must be along the provision of vision 2016 that "Botswana must search the highest possible standards for vocational and technical training, as well as for academic excellence." This point is further elaborated by Carey (Ibid., 313) in stating that, moreover, today’s challenging economic situation means it is no longer sufficient for a new graduate to have knowledge of an academic field only. Increasingly, it is necessary for students to gain skills which will enhance their prospects of employment. The assessment procedures cover content (theory and practical) and professional studies in a ratio of 2:1. The Continuous Assessment (CA) mark is a cumulative of marks from content and professional studies component expressed in a percentage form. The End of Year Examinations’ mark (EYE) is computed by combining the (CA) mark and the (EYE) mark. The researchers feel that this system of assessment should go under extensive reform in order to a better grade or percentage to the practical musical aspect. Mateiro (2011, 45) has this to say with regard to this fact, the reform of higher education has been constantly moving forward in most countries of the world during the last decades. What can be noticed is that there are many similarities between the changes in each country, regardless of the social, historical and economic conditions.
In conclusion, it was observed that students majoring in practical subjects such as Art and Design and Technology were found to be performing better in their majors as compared to their music minor practicals. Students majoring in Languages were performing better in their music minor as well as their majors. The assumption is that students majoring in practical subjects spend more time in the practical laboratories working on their projects which are also demanding. It is the authors’ observation that if music education is not paired with the aforementioned subjects, it would then be in line with the concern of the national vision 2016 that "education has not been adequately geared to the needs of the country and to the current job market." Findings are based on the dissatisfaction pronounced by research participants on numerous levels which the researchers will highlight subsequently. The issue of the subjects taught as a minor at (MCE) dominated the researchers’ discussions with informants. This study influenced the authors’ practice in that, music minor is descriptive of teachers who have been only introduced to the subject basics and have limited theoretical and practical skills, despite this being a core skill for one to satisfactorily handle the subject at the JSS. Taken together, the theoretical and practical findings of this study help to provide the answer to teaching that there is no major and minor teaching in Botswana JSS. Some of the informants (student teachers) who had already gone for teaching practice indicated their limited theoretical and practical knowledge of music in relation to the JSS syllabus. Lastly, researchers are in support of the aim in NDP 10 which is envisaged to continue to improve access to high quality education. Researchers find this high quality education relevant to music education student teachers at MCE to produce competent, innovative and internationally competitive national human resources.