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No Aptitude is No excuse: discuss

Discussion in 'Music' started by qu1annie, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. I sympathise. My SLT used to be enlightened and I was allowed to do my own target setting so everyone had a realistic target, now targets are generated for us and I almost cried today when I saw them. They are completely unrealistic. There is no way they are going to get them unless I compromise my integrity. Several HoDs, myself, PE, Drama and Art tried to argue against this but we've been told tough. They have now linked our attitude to learning grades to targets so I can only give an A or B if they are on course to meet their target. Therefore the implication is that if they are working hard but not meeting their target it's my fault. I foresee some unhappy parents. With APS etc. we seem to have lost sight of the fact we're better at some things than others and more to the point we're not allowed to use our professional judgement to set targets which are appropriate. Also very sick of it.
  2. Setting unrealistic targets is not a magic potion for raising the achievement of students. It creates false expectations and ultimately leads to dissapointment. I would much rather give a student a target of a C and have them get a B than target them an A and have the same thing happen. The students we teach are NOT all the same - some have many skills and aptitudes, others have less. This is why exams are not simply pass and fail - this is what the different grades are for!
    We should all be ambitious for our students and try to get them to share that ambition - but setting unrealistic targets that even the student does not think they can achieve can easily snuff the flame of ambition right out!
  3. Student X is academically able but has average performing ability - their data produced target grade is A. I am not allowed to adjust it to a more realistic B and throughout the course the student is always below target which is a cause of much discussion. Student X achieves a grade B and this underachievement has to be explained but it cannot be because of their average performing ability. Student Y has a data produced target of grade D but has a good singing voice and is a frequent performer. Student Y can have their target raised. This student achieves a grade B and it is readily acknowledged that this is because of their performing ability. Seems that yet again aptitude is only relevant when it results in achievement above the data produced target.
  4. After 12 years of this rubbish and being constantly 'led' by individuals with little or no artistic talent: I have said NO MORE!
    I have taught music in 3 inner-city schools with 'state of art facilities', specialist art status etc: in one school, the head of performing arts and his assistants were PE teachers. Guess where all the funding went?

    Last year I had a subject specific inspection for music, which highlighted that the provision in music was inadequate. (The assistant head for performing arts had recently jumped ship to 'lead' 'core subjects'. It was a mess! Then the academy decided to remove pupils from 'foundation subjects' to do extra maths and English. This meant that my KS4 pupils were seen once a week (if I was lucky) from January to April. During this time I was constantly reminded that: "We need to ensure that Y11 achieve their 2 GCSE's for music". (BTEC IS NOT MUSIC).

    Why oh why, do music teachers continue to accept pupils onto a course with no musical skill! SLT, SLT,SLT. The majority of them are not senior leaders at all!

    Let music teachers, teach music!

    After a 'curriculum review' and a bit of pathetic 'skills auditing', it was decided that we were over-staffed in music, (Oh, and the assistant head who had previously abandoned all responsibilities for music was now teaching music in the coming September), "so you need to sort this out amongst yourselves". It took me 3 seconds to accept the redundancy package.

    I will never teach music in an inner city school or academy again!

    Apologies about the doom and gloom.If you want to teach music, find a school with pupils and the necessary artistic leadership that will allow you to do so!
  5. saxo07

    saxo07 New commenter

    I'm so glad that there are others out there who feel like me. I had a big yr 11 class last year and 3 students didn't achieve a C because they refused to perform, prepare compositions or revise any theory (I got 100% A*-C in 2011). All my students had generated targets of A or A* which means I'm now being hauled over the coals for students who got Cs and Ds, but who should never have taken the subject in the first place. It looks like I'm going to be blamed for 'letting them' take the course (totally out of my control). Luckily my teacher predicted grades were pretty much spot on, so I can at least argue that my assessment marking is correct! I also found this year that students were getting so much pressure from all subjects that music fell by the wayside. However, I have been told that all students in my class should be getting top grades because 'they obviously chose the subject because they like it and are good at it'. Not true, especially when other subjects take up all their time, meaning they do not practice or compose at all outside of my lessons.
    I'm seriously concerned at this point. Music is about creativity (and work ethic), which cannot be predicted by a computer.
  6. I am so pleased to read that other people are experiencing the same thing as daft as that sounds :-( As a relatively new HOD I have recently begun a new job in a school where music doesn't hold much value and where students point blank refuse to perform!! I have a group of 15 students in year 10 who are of mixed abilities and NOT ONE of them plays an instrument!! How on earth they were 'accepted' on the course is beyond me. And to add insult to injury they are all predicted a B!!!!!! Panicking!!!!
  7. The days of "accepting" students on GCSE courses are gone in our student-centric times. I'm not going to pretend that I'm not sad to see the back of them in one respect - in my Grammar school hardly anyone did O'Level music because the music teacher would not "accept "anyone without grade 5 or higher.
    It is students who choose to do the course, not use who allow them. This is why you have to start the charm offensive now, before options booklets are even published. I let all my Y9's know how hard music is and that performing in 30% of the course and that the grade requirement for this coursework is around 3 standard. I then tell all my performers that . . . hey! you've done a third of GCSE already! Might as well finish it off. This way I dissuade any recalcitrants but encourage the ones who might possible get a C or above (I'm not actually allowed to have students get C's in my school, but that's a different story)

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