UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Sem, Kai Peng
Thesis (M.Ed.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Tang, Kelly
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between pupils' experience states while they were engaged in a composition task and their eventual achievement in their compositions. Through such an understanding, music teachers could begin to explore the avenues to provide optional classroom conditions to improve pupils' experiences in learning, and to potentially enhance pupils' reception of music lessons in school. The theoretical framework of this study hinged on the ideas of psychologist Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi and his concept of flow. Human experiences were grouped under the four categories of anxiety, flow, boredom and apathy, each with its defining characteristics. These experiences were defined empirically using a tool called the Electronic Sampling Method (ESM). The ESM allowed the teacher not only to track fluctuations of pupils' experiences over time, but also to seek to explain the motivations behind these changes. The results from this study revealed a positive correlation between the "anxiety" channel (where the challenge level is significantly higher than the skill level) and pupils' performance, although "flow" was the most positive channel in the affective/emotional domain. This observation implies that both the elements of "anxiety" and "flow" should be taken into consideration in the conceptualisation of lessons.

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