Bridging theory, experiment, and implications: knowledge and emotion-based musical practices for Religious Education

Ogretici, Yusuf Ziya (2021) Bridging theory, experiment, and implications: knowledge and emotion-based musical practices for Religious Education. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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It is widely supposed that there is an appropriate and vital role for music in Religious Education (RE). However, the answer to the question of ‘how music should be included in the teaching of RE’ remains uncertain. This research examines the position and role of music in RE to offer a better way forward for their collaboration. In an interdisciplinary style, the research incorporates aspects of educational research and theory, music, emotion, psychology, and philosophy. It aims to address music as a way of fostering students’ affective and cognitive responses and engagement in the context of effective RE––as well as seeking to provide curriculum guidelines for musical activities of RE.

The hypothesis within this research is that music with its capabilities for stimulating emotions and facilitating the communication of knowledge can enhance RE, by developing students’ meaning-making processes, rooted in their emotional, cognitive, and behavioural engagement with the classroom subject. On a broad theoretical framework and through comprehensive literature in different research fields––including education, philosophy, theology, music, psychology, and sociology––the premise of the current research is advanced that music and RE are related in various key and critical respects.

With a mixed-method research design, this research then encompassed three interrelated types of investigation: conceptual-hermeneutical, empirical-analytical, and phenomenological. The critical assessment of relevant literature and prevailing theories of emotion, cognition, values, music, makam in Turkish musical culture, and meaning-making were central to the present project and its identification of possible and viable ways in which RE practices might integrate these concepts more meaningfully and effectively in the classroom.

Emotions, knowledge, and meaning-making, in line with musical experiences, are important themes for the current research and worthy to be investigated in the context of RE, since music has a relationship with these in almost all cultures. In particular, from its basis in music and Islamic theology (religious studies), this research also developed a distinctive theoretical foundation for the concepts of ‘musical emotions’ and ‘communication of knowledge with music’, and for the context of RE––which then highlights ways of using music for the teaching/ learning of values efficiently in RE.

For the empirical investigation, this research evaluated the field of RE from two perspectives: that of students and that of RE professionals. Then, it discussed the implications of the findings in line with existing literature, curriculum, and policies.

For measuring emotional response to listening to Turkish makam music (consisting of 12 excerpts), I used the renowned and respected Geneva Emotional Music Scale (GEMS-25) with selected student populations (n= 350). Regarding the historical associations of Turkish makam music with emotional stimulation, five excerpts were successful in inducing the intended emotion (in inducing peacefulness via Buselik and Hüseyni, nostalgia via Saba, joyful-activation via Rast, and power via Neva), while five excerpts were partly successful (in inducing wonder via Irak, power via Nihavend, transcendence via Segah, and sadness via Zirefkend; and in reducing tension via Isfahan). However, two excerpts (Mahur and Hicaz) were unsuccessful.

Furthermore, a range of RE professionals (n= 20) was interviewed, employing the method of grounded theory, in order to understand better the current place of music in RE and future implementation possibilities. The participants’ experiences of the present conditions for using music in RE shed important light on the standards for musical material (legitimation, disapproval, reasoning, and musical features), the characteristics of musical activities of RE (classroom, students, and teachers), and the theoretical and practical considerations for musical interventions in RE. However, it was clear that, despite the potential revealed by this research, the currently modest number of initiatives using music in RE is far from reaching a broad range of adoption and support.

By the thematic approach of the present research, I integrated these concepts and theories for the musical activities of RE, to provide a pedagogical model for effective RE in Secondary schools in Turkey (though with potential cross-cultural insights). Regarding the implications of the research, I evaluated the teaching methods used in musical activities in the classroom/ school settings, the musical material selection and preparation in terms of emotional and cognitive characteristics, the measurement of students’ responses to music, and the assessment of the activities. Consequently, in this pedagogical model, student, music, environment, and teacher represent the key emerging themes aligned with the musical activities of RE, on the basis of their personal/ intrinsic, cultural/ religious, and situational/ responsive characteristics.

This research project investigated important questions surrounding the ongoing debates of emotions in education, music in RE, music in Islam, and values education within the RE context. Navigating this complex matrix of interrelated and overlapping questions in the manner undertaken here demonstrates clearly that, for the development of students’ feelings, cognition, and behaviours, the presence and the practice of musical activities in Secondary RE classrooms can indeed offer a constructive and inspiring transformational experience in the study of Religious Education––even though this potential is for the most part still under-utilized in the present era.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Religious Education, values education, music, emotion, knowledge, meaning-making.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology > BV1460 Religious Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Davis, Professor Robert and Franchi, Dr. Leonardo
Date of Award: 2021
Embargo Date: 22 October 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82539
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2021 13:51
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 12:40
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82539

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