British Journal of Music Education

Research Article

Informal learning and meta-pedagogy in initial teacher education in England

John Finneya1 and Chris Philpotta2 c1

a1 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education, 184, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2PQ, UK

a2 University of Greenwich, Avery Hill Campus, Bexley Road, London SE9 2PQ, UK


How do student teachers learn to use informal learning and pedagogy in their teaching? Through focusing on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in England, this paper will explore the possibility of developing a meta-pedagogy which embraces informal learning and pedagogy in music. The paper is in two parts, the first of which examines the background to Informal Learning and Pedagogy (ILP) in English music education and some attendant issues surrounding initial teacher education. The second will report on some approaches to developing a meta-pedagogy for ILP in music, before speculating on future areas for research in music ITE. The concepts of ‘living’ and ‘excavating’ learning will be proposed as important meta-pedagogical tools in the process of student teachers learning how to teach music.


c1 Corresponding author.

John Finney is Senior Lecturer in Music Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Prior to this he taught music in secondary schools in Southall, Worcester and Basingstoke before higher degree study and teaching at Reading University. He currently leads the secondary postgraduate course in music within the Cambridge Partnership and teaches on the higher degree courses, ‘Researching Practice’ and ‘Arts, Culture and Education’. As a researcher he is interested in the role of the ‘pupil voice’ within music education and the analysis of current practice in relation to public policy. His most recent research investigates the child-centred progressive tendency in Music Education in England from 1950 to the present day.

Chris Philpott taught music and performing arts in English secondary schools for 16 years before moving into initial teacher education. His writing is focused on the pedagogy of teacher education in music. He is currently Head of the School of Education and Training at the University of Greenwich, London and in his spare time he plays cricket.