Can you use research from one subject to improve another?

Posted on 01st March 2019

An article for TES co-authored by Bedales Head of Science Emily Seeber and Elizabeth Bathurst, music teacher at St Catherine’s School in Surrey, explores whether research around science practicals could transfer to music teaching – and beyond.

The authors consider similarities between lessons in the two subjects, and ask whether principles underpinning the approaches from research in science and music lessons are comparable, and whether teachers might pool their research. It does not tend to happen in this way, they argue; rather, general findings about how a pedagogical approach impacts on learning are taken up by a teacher and applied to their particular subject context.

They find that some pedagogical approaches transfer well from science to music, and others less so. However, the promise shown by applying educational research from science to music demonstrates the general principle that, sometimes, it is possible to go from one narrow context out to a bigger picture and then zoom into another niche.

They conclude: “While it’s ludicrous to expect busy teachers to consume educational literature from other subjects regularly, we can share our domain-specific learning with colleagues in other areas and hope that they are inspired to reciprocate. We should be discussing educational ideas across departments, finding out what others have been influenced by recently and experimenting with promising ideas in our own classrooms.”

The full article be read on the TES website here (subscription may be required).

TES | Emily Seeber | Bedales Chemistry | Bedales Music