Nurturing student ethnic identity through culturally responsive music teaching in China

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A multicultural approach has been advocated in school music education in China to heighten the sense of ethnic identity among students from diverse backgrounds, but research has shown that inadequate teaching approaches have been a major challenge in implementing multiculturalism. To facilitate students’ development of their sense of ethnic and cultural identity, international educators have advocated the use of culturally responsive teaching (CRT), which can provide Chinese teachers with pedagogical guidance to put multiculturalism into practice. A mixed methods intervention approach was adopted to explore the impact of CRT on the ethnic identities of Yi, Han, Mongolian and Tibetan students in a multi-ethnic school in Sichuan Province, China. The quantitative results revealed that after participating in the CRT music course, the students demonstrated statistically significant improvement across the four dimensions of ethnic identity. The qualitative findings attributed the improvement in the students’ ethnic identities to the use of ethnic music and native languages, multiple roles of the local music teacher and collective musical engagement. This study contributes to research on pedagogical strategies that help facilitate cultural diversity in school music education in China, and it serves as a reference for the use of CRT worldwide. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-615
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Issue number4
Early online dateNov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


Guan, T., Luo, N., & Matsunobu, K. (2023). Nurturing student ethnic identity through culturally responsive music teaching in China. International Journal of Music Education, 41(4), 598-615.


  • China
  • Cultural diversity
  • Culturally responsive music teaching
  • Ethnic identity
  • Middle school students


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