The Beginning Stages of Research and Discovery

posted Oct 25, 2012, 5:29 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Oct 29, 2012, 7:38 AM by Brad Kohl ]

(An ACME student with a handcrafted paper violin)

            A new musical program is budding in South Minneapolis, inspired by the phenomenally successful Venezuelan El Sistema system founded to promote a musical community for underprivileged youth. Several passionate young musicians and educators, have made it their mission to begin a similar life changing program for the children of Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary School, an institution known for it’s high truancy, and low standardized test scores.

For the past several weeks we have dashed out of our classes after school and sped down the bustling freeway lanes in order to make it in time for the after school program at Nellie Stone Johnson. This routine has been invaluable as a means to get to know the children, and to found our research with personal classroom experiences. Needless to say, the beginning stages of our research are under way. Our plan is to collect socialization data, including the number of severe disciplinary measures taken and the number of unplanned redirections that occur during the class. We also are planning to film classes once a week, as a means of extracting visual qualitative data. Over time we hope that these clips will show improvements in attention, behavior, and focus.

Although no data analysis has taken place yet, we have still seen inspiring changes in the classroom: the children have stopped running around aimlessly, they are no longer doing elaborate acrobatic headstands on their chairs, and they are acknowledging the teacher. In short all of the students are beginning to respect the musical space and the people within it. This visual improvement seems to predict a very positive and exciting trend, which we will continue to examine in the future.