Music Education In Remote Rural South Australian Schools: Does A Partnership With A Non-Government Organisation Work?
Schools in rural South Australia are remote from opportunities for students and teachers to engage in music learning and professional development. This aim of this research project was to investigate the degree to which partnerships between rural schools and non-government organisations (NGOs) can be effective and meet this need. Anderson and White (2011) note that partnerships in education, both in Australia and elsewhere, continue to be a prominent policy feature, as a preferred way of working to deal with key challenges for schools. This project employed a participant-observation methodology that incorporated methods of survey and invitational semi-structured interviews. It explored the ways in which schools benefited from partnering with a non-for-profit organisation in music education. Project results indicate that the quality of partnerships between an NGO (Musica Viva) and rural schools (government and non-government) have a positive impact on: student and teacher learning of music; the advancement of teachers’ music pedagogy and; student, teacher and community wellbeing. Importantly, this positive impact occurred in rural and remote schools with significant numbers of vulnerable, disadvantaged and disengaged students. Conclusions may be used to inform the development and strengthening of school-NGO partnerships to improve the quality of music education in rural schools. The project also offers itself as an example of how future investigations of school-NGO partnerships more generally might be pursued.
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