I just completed my oral exams for my written comprehensives this past Friday down at ASU. I have found that this part of the journey is different for each school. I am thankful that my professors allowed me to write my own questions, so there weren't any surprises. Each test (there are three of them) is timed-four hours of writing. They were extremely intense, but I learned SO much from the overall experience. I have learned that I found some new pedagogy interests as well as research interests. Additionally, I have learned via Friday's exam, that I need to start thinking more deeply about what I am reading and interrogate my own beliefs, what has been written and what could be written. There were times when I thought I understood certain concepts and ideas, and I think I do understand concepts (read: hegemonic norm) but it's now time to start digging further.
In preparing for these tests I kept going back to several books. I have found that sometimes we don't read books cover to cover!!! Gasp! In fact, there is no way that I could have survived if I would have read these cover to cover, but I definitely read a good chunk of them and have found them invaluable resources in my research and in my thoughts about teaching. You are not reading a literature review here, not even a summary of these books, but just my two-cents.
The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education is in my mind, probably one of the most important books to have been published recently in music education. It brings together some of the top thinkers in music education, as well as non-music educator thinkers and confronts social justice issues head on. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is teaching K-12 or higher education.
Randal Allsup's 2016 book Remixing the Classroom: Toward and Open Philosophy of Music Education is a beautiful book. I first became acutely aware of how much I appreciated Allsup's philosophy on learning and teaching in his 2015 MEJ article "Our Both/And Movement" (another recommended read). This book continues that conversation, but also suggests that we are not preparing teachers to teach in an evolving classroom. I'm not done with this book quite yet, but am looking forward to continuing the journey.
Drs. Vicki Lind and Constance McKoy published this book early 2016 and it is a gold mine of information. It presents the historical elements of culturally responsive teaching and provides rich pedagogical implications as well as realistic applications of culturally responsive teaching in music classrooms. I am excited to continue reading this as well as the school year kicks off.