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Abstract
This project identified innovative practices in a primary school that integrates the arts in a process where collaboration among the art teachers plays an important part. This project focused mainly on the development of the professional identity of the music teacher M. within the arts learning area, in a moment where in the school major changes were taking place. With the expansion of the curriculum from the 4th to the 6th grade, since September 2001, the Escola da Ponte hired a Music Education specialist. She integrated the arts learning area together with the Visual Arts and the Drama teachers. This research, as an example of qualitative ethnography, attempted to produce descriptions, and explain phenomena. The case study approach was used to gather pertinent information about the integration of the music teacher in the school environment, with particular emphasis on her diary. Further, semi-structured interviews, observational information and field notes were gathered to describe the actual organisation of music within the arts.
 
Findings
The construction of a common ground for understanding in the artistic area, led M. to a strong engagement in the process of finding her identity as a music teacher within an integrated arts curriculum. M. was aware of the positive aspects of collaboration, and seemed to have found, together with the other arts teachers, a secure vehicle towards integration. However, the fact that most of the time the children were engaged in project work, posed several problems in terms of skills development in the different artistic domains. It was made clear that, in many cases, the children should have needed separate moments to develop the necessary musical skills for the required performances. Though M. identified a positive evolution in terms of the children’s musical development, they did not seem to have attained the level she thought would be within the reach of the children. These conclusions raise the question of how the design of arts integrated curricula can meet the criteria of both quality in the development of skills specific knowledge, and its concurrence to the integration area.
 
Research Team
Graça Mota (Principal Investigator), Rui Bessa, Rui Ferreira, Jorge Alexandre Costa, Margarida Cardoso, Anabela Leite
 
Funding Body
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)
 
Period
1st February 2001 to 29th February 2004
 
Keywords: music education, teacher training, curriculum development, innovation