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The blind men and the elephant : music education in a changing world
conference contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Dawn JosephDawn Joseph, J Southcott
Education provides unique opportunities for individuals to develop their full character as Australian citizens who can play a part in the shaping of the future. All educational settings have an important role to play in bridging differences and promoting mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between people of different races, cultures, and religions. The curriculum is one component of the wider educational milieu that should be 'an enabling mechanism that nurtures adjustment to change, and simultaneously provides a roadmap of expectation' (Bruniges, 2005, p.15). As the rate and diversity of both local and global change accelerates, education continues to be faced with a multiplicity of challenges. The ways in which we respond to this will influence both the society and the curriculum that we design, implement and evaluate. Currently music educators implementing the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) are faced with the challenge of developing multicultural practices that align with both curriculum initiatives and create authentic experiences for students. As in the well-known story of the blind men and the elephant, teachers are faced with resources that offer only a shallow introduction to what is a multifaceted field. The question we pose is: 'How do educators embrace a vast range of cultural and social dimensions in our school music programmes without being like a blind man, grasping only one perspective of an extensive and complex whole?'