Specialist Leaders of Education are a relatively new initiative launched to provide teachers with support from experienced colleagues. Music Mark is running a series of posts that ask music SLEs about their role. First up is Stella Knight from St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill.
To your mind, what does an SLE for Music do?
It is a school-to-school support system. I am a music specialist who can work along side heads of music and/or heads of performing arts. It’s about working collaboratively, sharing ideas and experiences to help raise achievement.
Describe your typical week during term time.
For the majority of the time, I will be working within the music department at St Pauls doing the everyday tasks of teaching, planning and marking! If asked to support another school’s music department, then I would aim to spend a full day in the department, familiarising myself with the curriculum they offer. I would meet with the head and chat to students and observe some lessons across the key stages. I would often meet the head of department at the end of the day to discuss what I had seen, talk about challenges they may face and how I can help and support the work that they do.
What are the biggest challenges faced by music teachers today?
The first thing that really strikes me is that, as music teachers, we need to have a secure knowledge of such a wide variety of music – from Baroque counterpoint to cutting edge technologies. We must aim to provide a curriculum that supports students in their learning of music from all eras and prepare students to go into the ever-developing world of work with music technology. Our learning in this area is ever evolving as the changes in technology move forward. Students can also often be a step ahead of us too!
Students learn in a very different way to how we teachers spent our time as learners. Consequently, we have to be prepared to try new things and take risks in our teaching.
What excites you about music education today?
The rate at which technology is developing is exciting. The way students can compose, record and appraise music using technology is so inspiring for us all. Who knows what will be invented in the next 5-10 years?!