Strategic uses of music in the U.S. history classroom
This study investigated the strategic uses of music in the U.S. history classroom of six expert secondary U.S. history teachers identified by their administrators as expert teachers based on the merit of national certification, exemplary student and/or administration evaluations, high achieving teacher awards, or a combination of these criteria. The settings for this study were rural high schools on block schedules in the north Alabama region. Through observation, interview, and field notes, the study examined the classroom instruction of teachers using music as a strategic instructional teaching tool. Findings indicate that U.S. history teachers using music as a teaching strategy see a significant difference in student attentiveness, engagement in the learning process, and test scores when music is a part of their classroom instruction. Consensus from the history teachers found that music enhances the lesson and is effective in delivering content to the students in such a way that they have a deeper understanding of the history curriculum being taught. Most teachers in this study used music as a 10 to 15 minute exercise within the lesson. However, several teachers used music as a student presentation assignment that encompassed total class time. Data suggests that music is an effective strategy for teaching in the secondary setting because music is an integral part of the human experience, has been a communicator of cultural history throughout the ages, and students living in the present technological age have more access to music that any previous time in history.