Cultural diversity in pre-service music teacher education: Collaborative online teaching during COVID-19

Rohan Nethsinghe, Dawn Joseph, Jennifer Mellizo, Alberto Cabedo Mas

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Paperpeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled teachers from all over the world to find new ways of engaging their students in learning (Allen, Rowan & Singh, 2020; Peters et al., 2020). Higher education institutes are no different, becoming increasingly interconnected with diverse cohorts. In the field of music education specifically, tertiary educators must ensure pre-service teachers [PST] have opportunities to actively make music, learn about different pedagogical approaches, and encounter culturally diverse music traditions that could be useful in their future classrooms.
In this study, we (authors) share our collaborative reflections (Schön, 1983) after using online learning platforms (Zoom and Google Classroom) to teach traditional songs (March 2021) from South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the United States to Spanish PST (Stake, 2000; Yin, 2009). Acting as culture bearers, we chose songs that related to our own cultural heritage and taught them through different learning approaches. The students had the opportunity to learn about different aspects of each music culture and the history of each song. Ultimately, they worked together to create and perform their own musical arrangements.
After facilitating these sessions, and now acting as practitioners and researchers, we reflected through personal narratives (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) on different aspects of this experience. As we analysed and categorised similarities and differences in our reflections, several cross-cultural themes emerged that helped to explain some of the challenges and the possibilities of working with pre-service music teachers in an online educational setting. Our findings indicate this type of collaboration between music teacher educators in different parts of the world can enhance a global mindset that is creative, powerful, meaningful and fun for all concerned (Merrick, 2020). From an educational standpoint, we can either embrace technology as a way to promote multicultural music or we can ignore it to the detriment of preparing pre-service teachers for their future classrooms.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2021
EventTeaching Music Online in Higher Education (TMOHE 2021) - Virtual, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 3 Jun 20215 Jun 2021


ConferenceTeaching Music Online in Higher Education (TMOHE 2021)
Abbreviated titleTMOHE 2021
Internet address


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