Harrison, Scott and Ballantyne, Julie and Barrett, Margaret and Temmerman, Nita (2007) Building communities of music education practice: peer collaboration in music teacher education. In: 27th Australian Association for Research in Music Education Conference: Music in Australian Tertiary Institutions: Issues for the 21st Century, 29 Jun-1 Jul 2007, Brisbane, Australia.
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Isolation is a theme that is synonymous with Australia's demography and geography, with its population concentrated in clusters and separated by large distances. The distribution of the tertiary music education community in Australia tends to reflect aspects of the country's physical make-up, specifically the separation of individuals or small groups of academics by vast distances. Consequently, music teacher education in Australia suffers from a sense of solitude. Academics in the field typically work alone in institutions and their students, beginning music teachers, also suffer from the experience of being alone in their work environment. In a funded cross-institutional project, aspects of mentoring and peer collaboration have been explored to address this phenomenon. This paper reports on the initial stages of the project. Problem-based learning through virtual learning sites and discussion groups has been employed in the project design. These strategies have been employed as project participants endeavour to construct a music education community that reaches out across these vast distances, and contributes to academic development and collaboration. Models aimed at minimising barriers between teacher education course structures and academic experiences across Australia have been implemented. The findings of the pilot stages are revealed through the voices of academics, tertiary students and the public speaking about their involvement with innovative approaches to music teaching and learning
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