Choral singing is a key musical activity in Hong Kong schools, having grown from modest beginnings into an important aspect of the informal curriculum. It is an extension of the classroom singing experience and serves as a platform for students to nurture their singing skills, enhancing musicianship and facilitating artistic experience through choral performance. It also attracts one of the highest participation rates for young people in non-formal cultural and artistic activities. Choral teachers must manage limited rehearsal time efficiently and effectively to complete numerous musical tasks and objectives in time for performance deadlines. Class music teachers in schools are given the responsibility to build, maintain and mange school choirs but few are properly trained to fulfill the expectations of this role. While teacher education institutions are responsible for the training of music teachers in Hong Kong, there has been no curriculum, which focused on the skills and pedagogy of choral conducting and directing. This paper reports the implementation of a community-based school choral mentoring scheme launched in the Hong Kong institute of education with funding support from Tai Po district advancement association, awarding scholarships to a group of selected student choral teachers in promoting quality choral education in both school and community from 2006-2009. The author served as the founding project coordinator, with the institute’s music faculty and identified school choral teachers to work as supervisors and mentors to provide professional support for the student choral teacher awardees. The aim of this study is to investigate on how to support student choral teacher’s choral learning and teaching practice in a real school setting towards a collaborative and reflective approach. In this scheme the choral learning and teaching process of the selected student choral teachers were observed and reviewed by the institute’s supervisors and school mentors. Student choral teachers were required to submit a reflective journal, to complete a questionnaire survey and to participate a semi-structured interview to reflect on their experience at the end of each academic year. Student choral teachers highlighted that they were supported professionally by the institute’s supervisors and school mentors in a collaborative manner. Findings from the study also reveal that through the mentoring scheme student choral teachers were provided with an opportunity to interpret, generate, interact and experiment with the choral teaching theory in a real school choral rehearsal setting. This could be seen as a process of knowing-in-action and reflection-in-action.
|Published - 2012