Strengthening Teacher Preparation

| March 22, 2012

Music Education doctoral student Marie-Louise Bowe is soaking up as much knowledge of the American music education system as she can before heading back to her native Ireland. Here in what she calls “the land of the band” on a Fulbright scholarship, Bowe’s research interests lie in learning more about instrumental music programs in middle and high schools, as well as music teacher preparation programs.

Having set up a wind band program based on a U.S. model at Belvedere College in Dublin, Bowe hopes to take her understanding of the structure of music education to a deeper level through her involvement with programs around New York City. Her work with Multicultural Music Group, a project investigating the impact of an instrumental music program on middle and high school students in the South Bronx and Washington Heights, has been one window into NYC music classrooms. Another has been through her role as a student teaching supervisor for TC students. By broadening her perspectives and learning the ins and outs of what makes music education programs here successful, Bowe aims to share her findings with colleagues back home in an effort to strengthen music education in Ireland.

Her desire to have real impact on the quality of music teacher preparation led Bowe to join the current debate around what it means to be a good music teacher. An accomplished viola player, Bowe feels that a balance between performance and teaching pedagogy is an essential component of teacher preparation, and it is in this area that Bowe’s doctoral research has found a home. By focusing on alumni in her study, Bowe seeks to ascertain what could enhance teacher preparation programs.

While Bowe’s research will be conducted in Ireland, she will return to TC to write her dissertation, as she wants to “have the use of the exceptional faculty.”

Ms. Bowe knows the path to bettering teacher preparation is not an easy one. “In this assessment-driven world, it’s so difficult for a music teacher to be able to balance producing a certain product while encouraging students to be creative.” Ultimately, though, through research based in best practices, Bowe is hopeful that she can help elevate the standards of teacher education and instrumental music programs in Ireland on her return.