The University of St. Thomas


Judge, Margaret

Judge, Margaret

Teacher Intensity in the Elementary Music Classroom: Case Studies of Mentored and Non-Mentored Teachers
Margaret Judge

The purpose of this study was to determine if the Mentor Residency Program sponsored by the Institute for Contemporary Music Education at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, had an effect on teacher intensity. Teacher intensity was defined as “sustained control of the teacher/student interaction evidenced by efficient, accurate presentation of the subject matter with enthusiastic affect and effective pacing” (Madsen, 1990, p. 38). A comparison was also conducted to determine if teacher intensity had an effect on student on-task behavior.

The study was accomplished by analyzing videotapes that were submitted by three teachers who participated in the mentoring program, and three teachers who did not participate in the mentoring program. These videotapes were analyzed by the primary investigator using a measurement device to measure teacher intensity according to the above definition. Each teacher’s changes in intensity were determined across time from session one through session six. Student on-task behavior was also measured during the same lessons.

The results indicated that two of the mentored teachers and two of the non-mentored teachers demonstrated an increase in intensity from lesson one to lesson six. One of the mentored teachers and one of the non-mentored teachers displayed a decrease in intensity over the same time period. It would seem that these changes were not related to participation in the Mentor Residency Program. I would suggest that the intensity of one of the mentored teachers may have been influenced by the mentorship experience because the level of intensity rose by 16.7%. The other increases were less than 10%. According to these observations, these teachers maintained a high level of student on-task behaviors, regardless of the level of teacher intensity.

As a result of this project I am more interested than ever in the mentoring of music teachers. An improvement in teacher intensity did not happen as a result of the mentoring program or the modeling of the mentor teacher. If an increase in the level of teacher intensity is desired as an outcome of the mentorship experience then it might have to be included as a specific goal. Often we assume that change will occur simply because of good modeling. In this study I found that for teacher intensity to improve, modeling was not enough. In future studies on teacher intensity, specific goals could be set and worked on by mentor and teacher in this area.

I believe that the teachers involved in the mentoring program benefited from the relationship in many ways including sharing ideas with the mentor, receiving feedback on lessons taught, and in being encouraged to take risks and try something new. In the future I would include an interview with the teachers or an evaluation from the teachers giving an account of their perception of the gains they made as a result of their experience in the mentoring program.