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Understanding professional growth opportunities utilized by Nebraska music educators

Phillip K Hesterman, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to examine kinds of professional growth activities employed by music teachers in Nebraska schools. ^ An internet-based survey was administered to the population of Nebraska K-12 public and parochial music educators (N = 1,144), out of which 456 responded. The survey gathered data related to respondents’ past professional growth participation, projected involvement, opinions about and preferences for such activities, as well as information concerning perceived barriers to professional growth. ^ A review of literature focused on various factors related to professional growth in educators. This review provided insights into professional growth opportunities utilized by music educators in various locations. Most literature reviewed reflected new perspectives on what professional growth means for educators in the early decades of the twenty-first century. ^ The study findings yielded insight into the state of professional development among Nebraska music educators. Continuing education and local in-services were the professional growth choices most commonly reported. Lack of money and lack of time were frequently mentioned as barriers to the pursuit of professional growth. Continuing education and professional conferences were highly preferred, although the nature of these activities is short-term. Teachers with less teaching experience had a higher tendency to pursue professional growth than veteran teachers. Results indicated no statistically significant difference in likelihood of participating in professional growth by gender, highest degree held, grades taught, teaching certification area, or location identified by Nebraska State Activities Association District. Short-term professional growth opportunities are sought with greater frequency, even though the literature suggested that long-term activities have a more long-lasting impact. ^ Study results indicate music educators face issues that confront their professional development. Such issues include frequent changes in technology, availability of funding, and shifting student demographics. The viability of music education in the public’s perspective and the idea among some educators that professional development is optional are additional challenges. Relevant professional growth activities are needed that are prototypical, yet malleable, and designed to improve instruction and student learning as they shape lifelong learners. ^

Subject Area

Education, Music

Recommended Citation

Hesterman, Phillip K, "Understanding professional growth opportunities utilized by Nebraska music educators" (2011). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3450204.