Beyond Boredom in the Bandroom: Examining Adolescent Student Engagement and Motivation during Secondary Band Classes
By: Lindsay Ann Weiss
Published: 5/20/2015
Uploaded: 03/12/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2015 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Adolescent, Band, engagement, Motivation, pedagogy, rapport

Description/Abstract: This study investigated the effect that classroom factors (instructional activities and teacher behaviors) have on adolescent student engagement and motivation during secondary band classes through a comparative analysis of student and teacher perceptions. Student engagement was defined and interpreted through three phenomenological factors: a) concentration; b) interest; and c) enjoyment in accordance with Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory. Student motivation was interpreted and described through the application of three theories: expectancy-value theory, attribution theory, and achievement goal theory.

Participants included 13 high school band students and their high school band teacher. Classes were observed for five consecutive days, videotaped and coded by the researcher and an external coder (level of agreement, 91%). Selected video clips from the observed rehearsals were viewed using the methodology of video-Stimulated Recall during the band teacher’s second individual interview and two student focus group interviews. The high school band students also completed an online survey.

Results indicate that, during secondary band classes, adolescent student engagement is affected positively when: 1) the learning environment is under control (concentration); 2) the instruction is relevant to their goals (interest); and the presented challenges are in balance with the individual’s perceived skills (enjoyment). In regards to motivation, the students valued intrinsic, process-based goals more so than extrinsic, product-based goals, which were echoed in the analysis of the videotaped classes. A little less than half (49%) of the observed classes were spent on process-based activities (e.g. feedback and explanations through guided practice focusing on effort). The teacher also indicated the importance of process-based activities and goals in his teaching philosophy. This study suggests that secondary band teachers should make pedagogical decisions based on the careful consideration of their students’ individual interests, goals, skill levels, and personalities when seeking out approaches to engage and motivate them.

A notable finding of this study is the shared belief that the quality of rapport between the students and teacher is the key aspect of activating student engagement and motivation more so than specific instructional activities and daily behaviors. Both teacher and students described positive rapport as a consistent, non-threatening and mutually respectful relationship.