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Beliefs are ideas which people hold as being true. Beliefs are based on certainties such as faith, probabilities or even mathematical principles. People always elevate and seek sound reasons and evidence of their potential beliefs. Personal values are long-lasting beliefs that are stable, and they determine what is important to a person. Beliefs can be categorized into deferent types of values such as relations to happiness, career success or family. Values enable a person to make clear, rational and consistent responsible decisions.
Music is an elective subject of Arts education. To ensure there is the continued development of music, development in music is offered in basic education and secondary education curriculum. It is an important and fundamental practice among people (Shulman, 2012) Music is a mode of communication and allows people to express their emotions and culture. It is also an important part and helps in nurturing human beings, by developing their social, intellectual, and mental abilities. It is also an artistic language which records human civilization, and its development is parallel to human cultures.
I am the director of bands at a high school on a military base of American government, Department of Defense based in Japan. I teach grades 7-12. In the school I teach, we offer three levels of band. They include the beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. In our local district, the beginner’s level is not offered until a student reaches the 7th grade. The start of the beginner’s level in our school is usually two years behind the teaching programs that are practiced in the United States. In the school, we also offer strings and choir as a venue.
Currently, the school has enrolled more than seventy-three thousand students. The students enrolled mainly consist of children of military families and children of government contractors. Others are from the local families whose famines choose to pay their tuition fees in exchange for western experience in education. The defensive department consists of 166 schools which are located in 8 different districts from 11 foreign countries. Seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico are some of the locations where the schools are. Our school system consists two elementary, a middle class and a high school. The population of the students is about 400 students where the highest enrollments are in the elementary schools.
Benefits of Teaching in a Foreign Country
It is very easy and less costly to travel. Additionally, students are given opportunities to travel to Guam, Korea, Hong Kong and other various regions for various activities. In these trips, teachers accompany them making travel across many places easy (Heinonen et al., 2012). Cultural development is another advantage because one adapts to the foreign culture to be valued as an integral member of the local community. Salary in a foreign country is always better and enables easy paying of bills while enjoying foreign Japanese culture and lifestyle. Additionally, one makes positive and life-changing impacts on other people’s lives by providing them with an educational experience which enables them to succeed in achieving their personal and professional goals through music learning. One also gains high marketable skills which provide excellent job prospects at the times when the economy is uncertain. Music teachers are always in demand. Through interaction with different people with different cultures and language, one can adapt to the new environment.
New friendships are built. Teaching abroad provides opportunities for meeting and befriending people from other countries and with different cultural practices. Additionally, one can meet all sorts of interesting people who are coolest ever to meet. The opportunities for learning new languages are increased because one is always immersed in a new language on a daily basis. Additionally, one gains international work experience because of increased skills and abilities to live in a foreign country. Lastly, one can keep lifetime memories through photos and ability to be a world traveler.
The school basis represents elements of the Navy, Air Force, and Marine and also the Army. The schools also reside in an army post near Tokyo. The neighbors of the school are Naval Air Station and three full housing areas which have similarities of small American towns which feed students up to the school. The situation makes it difficult to plan busing to and from to accommodate the needs of various activities around the school. Additionally, the community operates in a transient mindset because families continually move in and out. The moving in and out of families makes it difficult to build a music program as well as maintaining high excellence levels in the school. This makes the job at Japan harder than the jobs I held in America based on logistics and politics. However, our students are hardworking and committed and they play instruments well thereby representing our school well.
Parent’s involvement in the school activities is limited. Although the school constantly encourages parents to be involved in school activities, it is very difficult to find those who actively engage themselves in school activities apart from attending school activities (Bekker et al., 2013). The support from parents is usually from afar. Most of the parents are usually busy due to active military requirements. Their spouses, on the other hand, are usually left behind at homes so that they can take care of their younger children. Families are usually in a resilient and resonant manner. Children are usually affected in their emotional outlook due to inactive engagement of their parents. The parents of these children usually have to sacrifice for the general public.
Challenges to Current Teaching Practices
Students usually move from one military base to another so that they can come to school and go back home. Due to this, we experience constant multi-levels of experience in our student’s ability who represent various groups during the performance. Trying to maintain basic instrumentation and a full band structure that can enhance the performing experience of students brings in the necessity of a differentiated instruction (Pipe et al., 2012). There are many instances where only one student with only a year experience will pass auditions and then move on directly to advanced band the following year.
Reconsidering Teaching after Taking the Class
I have had a teaching experience of several years, and therefore I would not change my teaching practices even after taking this course. In my teaching career, I have found my basic overall philosophy and approach that suits me. However, I have always considered various aspects and opinions regarding my teaching and music education and incorporated new aspects when they are successful. People are different, and therefore one’s teaching practices might not work for another. I have read various philosophical approaches which are very interesting. However, some are good but others I don’t agree with them. I have a feeling that the process of their study and analysis helps me to be an all rounded teacher who is more focused and aware as an educator.
The paraxial approach is the best when dealing with students. There are aspects which need aesthetic recognition which naturally occur with the paraxial methodology. However, I always try to focus on music education, musicianship, and personal growth through performances that represent our group, the school and my students in an outstanding manner. Music is an excellent teacher because it tries to teach all aspects of life and engagement.
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