Incorporating Music into the Social Studies Classroom: A Qualitative Study of Secondary Social Studies Teachers

Mangram, Jeffery A.; Weber, Rachel L.
January 2012
Journal of Social Studies Research;Winter2012, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p3
Academic Journal
Using data from a six-month qualitative study, this article examines how four secondary Social Studies teachers made meaning of music, and how those perspectives informed their pedagogical choices regarding music in their classrooms. Specifically, this article analyzes three ways the teachers talked about, viewed and incorporated music in their classrooms in terms of: (a) specific activities using music; (b) reasons for using music in the classroom; and (c) the extensive usage of 20th century American music. We found that a majority of the teachers used music as either a creative assignment or as a primary source document. Additionally, we found that a majority of the teachers reason that music's place in the Social Studies context is either as a way to capture students' attention or as a form of historical contextualization. Lastly, we found that all of the teachers gravitated towards using 20th century American music. However, we found that the teachers exhibited an over-reliance on 20th century American music to the exclusion of other genres and periods of music. We contend that extensive usage of 20th century American music results from lack of professional training and a lack of acknowledgement of the importance of music in the classroom.


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