The validity of process over product?

Walking into York School in September I was a bit apprehensive. What was this Cohort 21 anyway? The day wound up flying by and by the end, I was a bit overwhelmed, but in a good way. I met lots of new people, had great conversations which truly resonated with me. As a music teacher, I often find PD isn’t meaningful or relevant to my practice, and sometimes, do I dare say, even feel bored sitting through it. This was finally PD that I could shape my wants and needs. How cool was that!

Having said that, I am still a bit confused and anxious about what is expected. I’m still learning to navigate the Cohort21 world that lies at my fingertips. Admittedly, I am experiencing challenges here, as I recognize that I recently replied to a survey posted a year ago to the last Cohort group…but I will learn!

I completed my “placemat” but have yet to complete all of my interviews and research. The big issue for me isn’t my urgency. Probably much like others, it’s simply the lack of time. I feel l have identified my challenge (process vs product in my junior-level music programs) after having some initial chats with my juniors using questions I created. They are very much on the same page as me, but perhaps I choose a group that was more likely to respond positively to me since I am their teacher and they are in my classroom? Was their response valid? I recognized I have access to over 80 juniors whom I teach. What about a Google form? Many of them tend to write more openly to me in our Google classroom forum than they speak anyway. This is still just at the idea phase…no real action…YET.  

As for my insights into this process, I have validated my student-centred philosophy with this activity. I also feel validation that I’m on the right track after speaking with them and other music educators at a recent conference who feel likeminded. The reality is that I also feel this is going to be tough. Concert season is now coming into the thick of things. Time is a hot commodity!

(Image from:

4 Replies to “The validity of process over product?”

  1. I think it is absolutely okay to choose a class that will give you positive feedback. This is a very personal exercise, and you need to be kind to yourself during the process. I used a Google Form with my students last year as well. (I teach French, so I understand the rotary challenges.) Here’s a link to how I did it if that’s helpful –

    Great start, Colleen!

  2. Way to hit publish @cmcinnes!

    Your post brings up a question that I too struggled with during my first round at Cohort 21 – how to manage time and the overwhelming urgency of everything we are tasked to do!? (Not just Cohort, but stuff at our own schools, plus home life in general!)

    @lmitchell shared with me an app she is using to track how she spends her time (parent meetings, lesson planning, etc. etc.) I wonder if this helps her organize her time differently?

    I find when I try to schedule days of the cycle to completing certain tasks (Cohort 21/ cataloging / lesson planning) I don’t up doing what I am suppose to be doing because other items come up.

    Anyone have any great insight into managing time?
    @sletham @mmurray @ldickinson @epaul @lyorke @wmarnie @jstrimas @jsheppard @tredhead @acorbett @lbettencourt @mmoore @apetrolito @acampbellrogers

  3. I think their responses are definitely valid! Even if they may lean to the positive side because you teach them, I doubt they’d give you false responses. If anything feels *too* fluffy, perhaps be on the lookout for gaps, and maybe use those gaps as areas of focus. A Google form could be a great starting point to help you identify some themes, and—if you make it anonymous—it may encourage students to be a bit more open than they would be face to face. Then you can always follow up with discussions. I think you and @epaul will have a lot to talk about on Saturday, (she had a colleague help facilitate her info collection,) and can probably be great resources for one another as you both work towards music-oriented action plans.

Comments are closed.