Spring 2023 MECA
Continuing Education Courses
High Needs, Monumental Successes
“It is not a student or their socioeconomic background that results in their success. It is the willingness and desire of the educator to bring out the excellence within students.”
This course is an online community based book study of High Needs, Monumental Successes: Teaching Music to Low-Income and Underserved Students (GIA Publications) with the author Don Stinson.
From John Bubbet’s book review in School Band and Orchestra Magazine: “There are two sides to every teaching job. The “subject content” or the “craft” side of teaching; the reality that making music is the very thing that brought us to this profession in the first place. And then there is the “everything else” or the “job” side of teaching. This book study sets out to detail, provide insight, suggest solutions, and discover the words to use on the “everything else” side of our profession.
Course members will do a deep dive into the “job” side of teaching through the lens of not only low-income and rural settings, but ALL teaching situations, regardless of subject matter, socioeconomic standing, or availability of resources. The main priority of this course is practicality. Course members participation in weekly online discussions will explore techniques that they can use to improve teaching, learning, and understanding immediately.
Teachers will explore several topics during this course, including:
- Characteristics of Our Students. What poverty means, the students it affects, who they are, and digging deeper into knowing your school. Many topics are examined, including observations of low-income students, the cost of being poor, what is negotiable in our programs, attendance, and family/mobility issues.
- Understanding “Why” and Acting with Empathy. Explore how to know and embrace your situation, deal with perceptions, why respect and possessions matter to our kids, why some kids have to make adult choices, and how family structures can vary.
- What Can We Do? In this section, we’ll explore multiple situations and ideas to deal with all types of learners and seemingly hopeless situations. Non-traditional programs require non-traditional approaches, including
Different approaches on practicing, communication, fostering value and self-respect, behavior expectations and classroom management, mental health as it relates to impoverished students, programming, and adapting music for the needs of your ensemble.
- Money, Parent Groups, Student Travel. Discussions on the financial side of running your programs. Title I funds, asking for money, initiating grants, and discovering other resources to benefit your students. Travel opportunities for low-income programs are also discussed, as is fundraising.
- Competition, Motivation, and the Teacher. Are competitions suitable and realistic for your program? Are the stakes too high? What level of motivation do they require? As for the teacher, selflessness is an admirable quality. Neglecting yourself, however, is neither healthy nor productive. Teaching will never be stress-free, but concerning ourselves with attainable goals, appropriate time commitments, and overall self-care can help us avoid career and personal burn-out and help us thrive.
High Needs, Monumental Successes, available through GIA Publications & JW Pepper.
The Creative Director: Alternative Rehearsal Techniques by Edward S. Lisk, published by Meridith Music Publications.
Urban Music Education: A Practical Guide for Teachers by Kate Fitzpatrick-Harnish, published by Oxford University Press.
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn, published by Atria Books.
Learning Platform Information - Online Courses Only
Schoology is a learning management system that allows you to interact directly with your instructors, fellow students, and members of the greater VanderCook community.
The evening before your class begins, be on the lookout for an email from Schoology with log-in instructions. Once you receive credentials, visit www.online.vandercook.edu to login.
Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.
More information about Schoology can be found at www.schoology.com
Please see specific software/hardware requirements in the course description.
Online course grades are available within two weeks of the course(s) completion. If you need a transcript, please CLICK HERE to access the online transcript request form. For a faster turnaround time, please submit the transcript request to the registrar prior to the end of your course(s).