The Midwest Public Schools Students Education Essay

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Chapter 1


Within the Midwest Public Schools students are presented with many opportunities to learn through a variety of academic curriculums that are required for reading and math through traditional settings. But a large number of children today, as we embrace academic reforms for making learning better, are found to have problems in learning the basic academic skills and often become frustrated with the whole learning process. Some of these students are found to present major emotional behavioral problems that interfere with their learning and the learning of others. Because of the concerns for improving poor learning and the rapid growth in reforms for improving low achievements this research will focus on music integration as an intervention that will aid in increasing academic learning scores for all children. According to Molley (2010) researcher like (Gromko, 2005) suggests phonemic awareness may be the connection between the use of music instruction and the increase of reading skills. Therefore to what extent does the participation in music integration in reading instruction impacts achievement?

The Elementary classroom teachers will be given music integrated lessons to implement under their regular direct instruction for teaching reading. With very little evidence found here in the Twins Cities this research can be supported by researchers like Richards (1993) who found that "singing and rhythm to builds up the development of auditory discrimination skills, including integration of letter sounds, syllabication, and the pronunciation of words" (p.99). While the logics for high test scores have been found throughout many school settings Academic Achievement is said to be attributed to the contributions of music in research studies. The focus of this qualitative case study will examine the effects of music integration and to explore the impact of music integration in reading in a highly diverse setting. As integration is introduced to core curriculum according to Koralek (2008) "it leads to a normal relationships between developmental influence and between subject matter such as reading and other content areas along with the arts" ( p. 10).

Background of the Study

Gardner states that "musical intelligence is almost parallel structurally to linguistic intelligence" (1999, p. 42). While researchers Rauscher and Shaw et al (1997) indicates that music can possibly enhance spatial reasoning ability. Dooley (2010) states that contrary to the old simplistic notion that art and music are processed in the right hemisphere of the brain, with language and mathematics in the left, with his colleagues show that music is distributed throughout the brain. Another theory discussed by Owens and Sweller (2008) is that of cognitive load theory. Cognitive load theory discussed by Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller (2006) and Sweller (1988, 2003) is an instructional theory. This theory provides the learner with knowledge of human cognitive architecture to help the learner in the design of instruction.

Other researchers like Dewey (1938) takes to the idea that children need education that is reasonable and allows them to grow mentally, physically, and socially challenged by providing opportunities to be creative, critical thinkers. In situations like this, one may find that teachers do not perceive theory taught in education courses as particularly relevant to the reality of teaching. But Dewey (1938) assumes the position that the arts are centered on experiences, and that the connection to arts opens an opportunity for creativity and inquiry that expand a child's perception of understanding and action (Goldblatt, 2006).

A dominating theoretical framework for studying children and music is cognitive psychology. All the theories connected to musical development involve not only psychological research on the individual's behavior and learning per se, but also the influence of contexts and social dimensions (Samuelsson, Carlsson, Olsson, Pramling, & Wallerstedt, 2009). While other researchers like Brogla -Krupke (2003) discuss that emotional intelligence, and people skills, the importance of not merely learning basic facts but how to use the information learned, and the necessity of observing connections between the disciplines provide support for integrating music in other academic areas. According to the National Reading Panel (U. S. Department of Education, 2007b) they recognize fluency and phonemic awareness as being a strong association with music education in the processing of auditory learning, articulation and poetic structure (O'Herron& Siebenaler, 2007). Others who have noted some similarities and benefits between music and reading are Hanson and Bernstorf (2002) who found the awareness of speech sounds, identifying the sounds and fluency could be added to the list of similarities to language learning and music.

Problem Statement

It is not known how music integration affects academic achievement for Elementary students in reading. Half of Minneapolis School District Elementary Schools (20/39) did not make AYP for the 2011-2012 school year. Nationally, a small percentages are reading at or above the national level (NAEP, 2005). Traditional curriculums for learning appear to no longer to be effective because children today are not able to focus due to many reasons. Some of the distractions being: 1) classroom distractions, 2)short attention spans, and 3) in some instances there are not enough resources to provide needed information (Sousa, 2001). It is also believed that because of the reading deficiency the learners do not often successfully obtain the required reading level they need to be at. But the arts in education campaign has been an ongoing concern for a number of for years some believe that it will always be a controversial topic through years to come. This research and investigation will examine the learning focus and believes that equal opportunity for learning will be of benefit for all students regardless of disabilities or language barriers and improve academic achievement on the Kindergarten level.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine and understand the effects of music integration and to explore the impact of music integration in reading in a highly diverse setting. The phenomena for this study formulates the question "Is there a relationship between music and reading that influences academic achievement seen in the elementary student's reading"? This study will take place in a Midwest Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School and several other non performing arts schools within the Minneapolis Public Schools District. This research will include 8 Kindergarten classroom programs. Four of the Kindergarten classes will be in house at a Performing Arts Magnet where two of the classes will be experimental and the other classes that of a control setting. The remaining 4 schools will be that of non Performing Arts setting. Within these schools 2 of the Kindergarten classrooms will be control and the other non- control for this research. While the logic for high test scores has been found throughout many school settings, this is said to be attributed to the contributions of the arts in some research studies. The study results are expected to validate that although there may be many schools that practice teaching music integration, the integration piece can be significant in connecting successful academic learning opportunity for all students to experience in English, math, reading and other areas of learning.

Research Questions

The key questions for this research are centered on whether music integration can enhance Kindergarten reading achievement and learning for students in a performing arts magnet school setting and other settings. What are the differences between the classes that receive music integration with the reading and those that do not? And what collaboration skills are essential to an integration program? Therefore in this research the questions that will guide this research are:

To what extent does the participation in music integration in reading instruction impact achievement?

To what extent does music integration in reading have on non- English speaking students?

What process will the classroom teachers use to integrate music in their reading instruction?

These questions will aid in the exploring and validating that music integration improved student achievement in reading.

Significance of the Study

Why is there a need for music intervention in academic core classes when it comes to increasing learning achievement scores? It is believed that music therapy presents a holistic approach to instruction; the opportunity to develop language skills using a temporal

structure found in a repeated rhythmic assignment of verbal and nonverbal information

(Kennedy, 2005); i.e., rhythm can provide "structure, predictability and language cues"

necessary for developing language skills (p. 246). Due to a musical link, information gets

stored in multiple networks in long-term memory, with a much better chance of being

retrieved. Anderson, Henke, McLaughlin and Ripp (2000) designed a program to enhance retention of spelling words by using background music.

Definition of Terms

Academic Achievement is a factor that defines the effectiveness of the influence of a study to better achieve and understand its outcome (RupÅ¡ienÄ- & BartusevičienÄ-, 2008).

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is the progress of measureable achievement made yearly.

Brain Research is the study of brain in its relationship to focus on repetition that leads to automaticity, a key finding from reading research that results in skilled readers (Frey & Fisher, 2010).

Holistic is referring to the whole person's emotional, behavioral, and psychological development.

Music Integration is the combining of music is used to reinforce content in other academic areas (Barry, 2008).

Preliminary Review of the Literature

According to the researchers, the music played in the background "enabled the students to concentrate, relax and begin to envision the spelling words" (Anderson et al, 2000, abstract). Other related research studies by Anvari et al (2002); Diamantes et al (2002); and Patel (2003) indicates that some auditory analysis skills are used in language processing (e.g., blending and segmenting sounds), are similar to those needed for music perception (rhythmic, melodic and harmonic discrimination). Therefore the preliminary review of literature will include the following:

Brain Research and Music Education

Theories Behind Music Integration

Variables for Music Integration and Academic Learning

Research Methodology

In the Learning Through Music (LTTM) program, teachers will report and record students' work while being engaged, motivated, and challenged by an arts-based curriculum. This will be Qualitative case study. Teachers will be introduced to the Learning Through Music concept that values the music integration curriculum as meeting the needs of every learning style, and giving all students the opportunity to be successful. An integrated music and reading curriculum will be given to a group of elementary students during their music class, while another group received the traditional music curriculum. The integrated music and reading activity will be researched over a period of 18 weeks or a full school year, which ever provides enough evidence to support the research. The use of videotaping/DVD format and observations will be a form of collecting research information. At the end of the time period, all groups will be measured on reading achievement levels. This is a holistic approach that involves the whole person, including emotional, behavioral, and psychological aspects. Some qualitative data, in the form of supporting statements, will be gathered through observation of students and informal interviews with teachers at the end of the intervention. Some indicators to be used for this qualitative research will be that of +/- rosters that will serve to show where the students are in making the necessary academic achievements. Also the Kindergarten teacher and music teachers will record and keep record of the students learning over the period of the research. The Music activities according to Colwell and Davidson (1996) can enhance the students' academic performance, social skills, and content learning"(p. 646). In the research of Colwell and Davidson they found that more professional educators are considering music a major part of development of multiple intelligences when it comes to children's education.

Observations and data will be collected from each of the participants only from the appointed schools. Curriculum for the experimental groups will be that as outlined in the focused instruction by the school district. The Reading data will be that collected from the Fall and Spring Assessments administered by the district. The Music data will be based upon the understanding of the music concepts of steady beat, rhythm, movement and singing songs. This research will gather its findings through yearly student academic performance scores, teacher interviews and post treatment evaluations. These groups will meet for 90 minutes for Reading Instruction daily and 55 minutes for Music on a weekly rotating schedule.

Research Design

According to Nielsen (2009) research is in itself a practice with norms, demands, and criteria for quality, which are not necessarily, or only indirectly, relevant to the music educational practice being studied. Research has long been the foundation for building and establishing the music and literacy connection, but there are not many who will implement the integration for many reasons. Some of these reasons being that some teachers feel inadequate to teach the integration piece. The form for this design is based on theories taught in music education. The school setting for this research will be within the social context of the phenomena that would categorize and consider it a field setting. The research is conducted in a dynamic system where changes in participants and their settings were duly noted. Within this system, there will be direct personal contact with the participants in their school setting.

Instrumentation or Sources of Data

This investigation and research will draw parallels between the stimulation of non musical and musical models. These models will show to what extent does music influence students' behavior, engages the brain, and contributes to organize information. Utilizing music integration will confirm that rhythm and sound is patterns enhance effective memory formation (Thaut, 2005). The software tool to be used as an effective instrumental tool for analyzing data will be that of HyperRESEARCH. This tool supports that of a qualitative research and the steps to be implemented as indicated in this research by allowing the researcher to organize and arrange information in files that can be sorted and referred back to at another time and point within the research period. It also helps with identifying photos and audio inputs that can be reviewed as one analyzes the collected information. The groups in the research will be of a control and experimental groups of Kindergarten age students.

Data Collection Procedures

According to Merriam (1998) qualitative research analysis of the data involves identifying "recurring patterns (in the form of categories, factors, variables, and themes) that cut through the data or delineation of a process" (p. 11). This qualitative data analysis of this current research Prospectus will endeavor to follow the steps outlined by Creswell (2009) for the data analysis as stated below:

Step 1. Organize and preparing for relevant data for analysis. This will commence with interviews with the Kindergarten staff who will be participating in the research.

Step 2. Will involve review of data and informational ideas, meanings, tone of the meanings and ideas heard, and the usefulness and creditability of the information.

Step 3. Involves putting the informational data into sections. Creswell (2009) refers to this as coding. Coding helps to separate the large chunks of material and organize it into segments before developing the meaning to information (Rossman & Rallis, 1998, p. 171). This data analysis will be textual.

Step 4: Will be that of intentionally looking for remarks that will guide for the process (pp. 185-186).

The data collection will be strategized by initially reviewing administrated pre and post test given to students on the Kindergarten grade level at the beginning of the academic school year. This District Assessment will be used to identify academic progress. The Reading Progress along with the music integration will be gathered to confirm whether the Music integration in

Reading enhances academic achievement in addition to the usage of the Fountas Pinnell Curriculum and Words Your Way. Face to Face Teacher interviews will conducted with other data strategies described in the Data Analysis process described above.

Ethical Considerations

Upon the approval to commence the research within the Minneapolis School Site a parental letter seeking permission for students to participate will be forwarded to all students. Any information obtained from the students and parents will be upheld and kept in strictest confidence and privacy. Although the students will not be required to participate, this will be clearly defined and explained at the beginning of the research project will uphold according to IRB all regulations and mandates. Because of the lack of information on the subject of music integration in reading in Minnesota this is why it is necessary to conduct such a research.