Creating collaborative spaces for musical meaning-making: redefining the music specialist/classroom teacher relationship
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This study examines what and how classroom teachers and a music specialist learn on their own, with each other, and with their students when they engage in collaborative, multimodal teaching and learning experiences. Through excerpts from interviews, planning sessions, focus groups, and the retelling of classroom experiences, this action research-inspired narrative inquiry documents and explores the experiences of four elementary school teachers as they worked together over a 12-week period. Through a restructured music schedule—designed to facilitate sustainable integrated, multiple literacy experiences—the teachers collaborated with the children and with one another to co-construct authentic learning experiences which drew upon and expanded students' interests and inquiries, and which positioned music in new ways as another classroom language. The unfolding stories examined in this inquiry resonate with the ideas and the spirit of the atelier in Reggio Emilia schools, and they point to the importance of meaningful, collaborative relationships in teacher learning and reflection. The study has implications for the ways in which musical experiences may be structured, made more complex, and revalued in elementary schools.