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More craft in their arts;Update

Of all the arts subjects, it is music that brings a note of alarm to newly-qualified teachers. Even those with some music background are not confident that they can teach the subject properly. In-service training in teaching the arts tends to have low priority in schools, and BEd students end up feeling that it is not something that just anybody can do. However, according to a survey of 12 students following a four-year education degree, the most important factor in gaining the confidence to teach music as well as other arts subjects is in observing and working with children in classroom settings alongside knowledgeable and supportive teachers.

Art presents the fewest worries for students, who see it as less difficult and dependent on performance than music. Drama, although the subject least often taught of all the arts, is perceived as not requiring much skill to teach. However, the students had scant understanding of dramain education as a methodology.

The authors of the report highlight the need for arts courses with a strong practical focus extended throughout the training programme and for the expectation that all students be involved in arts teaching during their school-based work.

Susan Chedzoy, Linda Green, Sarah Hennessy and Lina Rolfe, School of Education, University of Exeter, Northcote House, The Queen's Drive, Exeter EX4 4QJ.

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