The purpose of the present study was to examine studentsí use of musical language and the elements of cooperative learning in a multiage music class. How many times did students use musical terminology correctly? What musical terminology did they use? How many times did students use musical terminology incorrectly? How many times did students in a cooperative group engage in the explanation mode of teaching? How many times did students engage in the modeling mode of teaching? Which of the five elements of cooperative learning did the students exhibit?
Six lessons were developed that included the five elements of cooperative learning: Positive Interdependence, Face-to-Face Interaction, Individual Accountability, Social Skills, and Group Processing. Each lesson also contained an academic goal and a social goal. Data were collected by using videotapes that recorded the interactions of students in the third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade multiage music class. Three judges and the researcher examined the videotapes and completed a coded observation form. The judgesí responses to the observation form provided the data for the present study.
Findings demonstrated that students used musical terminology correctly more often than incorrectly. When students used musical terminology correctly, they were frequently using words they previously heard in the music room. Students engaged in the explanation mode of teaching more often than the modeling mode of teaching. When students used explanation as a mode of teaching, it was most often to explain proper and improper recorder techniques, to clarify ideas for performance improvements, and to describe general music theory concepts. In addition, the five elements of cooperative learning were present within each lesson.
The goals of the present study were met, and the findings provide data regarding how students work in cooperative groups. The findings helped the researcher understand how to be an effective teacher in a large and small-group setting. It is hoped that other music educators will also benefit from this information regarding the terminology used and the mode of teaching students engage in when they teach each other in a cooperative group. When we know how our students teach each other, we can become better teachers ourselves.