by Sylvia Coats, NCTM
For several years I have been integrating certification projects into my piano pedagogy classes at Wichita State University to help students become NCTMs. The projects are similar to the topics I cover in the class so I make assignments using the format required by certification. MTNA Certification has helped my students improve their writing and teaching skills, and they have a better understanding of what it takes to become a professional music teacher.
Last summer Rebecca Johnson asked me to inform and inspire other pedagogy professors by writing an article about using the new certification process.Following is a description of the piano pedagogy class that I taught in the fall semester of 2009.
There were two sophomores, seven juniors, one senior and one graduate student in the class that met twice a week. They were piano performance and pedagogy majors. Course requirements include teaching at least two students through the WSU College of Fine Arts Institute and team teaching a small group of 8-year-olds. They chose one of their students to use in completing the Teacher Profile projects. The paperless course was facilitated by the Blackboard course management system. Students posted weekly project assignments to a digital drop box. I edited the file or asked them to rewrite it, made an entry in Grade Center that they had completed the project and e-mailed them the corrected file to place in a certification folder saved on their computers. The folder of projects can be printed out for the portfolio after they apply for certification. The five projects are:
Project #1—Write your teaching philosophy Project #2—Analyze four teaching pieces Project #3—Present your teaching Project #4—Share information about your teaching environment Project #5—Discuss your business ethics and studio policies
Following is a chronological journal of the semester's project assignments and our experiences with them.
Students shared their comments about their teaching and the certification projects.
1. Beth Gigante Klingenstein, The Independent Piano Teacher's Studio Handbook (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2008).
Coats, Sylvia. Thinking as You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lesson. Indiana University Press, 2006.