Research Studies in Music Education Pub Date : 2021-04-08 , DOI: 10.1177/1321103x20974806 Emily M Mercado
The purpose of this case study was to examine the researcher’s perceptions of student participants’ intercultural competence during rehearsals, focus groups, and interviews and the perceived benefits and challenges when implementing a researcher-designed curricular unit titled Religious Choral Music from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Worlds in one eighth grade middle school women’s choir. Using Deardorff’s intercultural competence process framework, which provides a method for exploring and categorizing elements of intercultural competence including attitudes, knowledge/skills, internal outcomes, and external outcomes, the researcher adapted Deardorff’s framework to represent how the student participants demonstrated intercultural competence during the music unit, focus groups, and interviews. The perceived benefits of the music unit included student participants’ emerging intercultural competence — their positive attitudes and knowledge of unfamiliar religions broadened their cultural understanding, and their internal and external behaviors demonstrated respect toward religious and cultural differences. The perceived challenges of the music unit included a lack of resources, assumptions that emerged as a result of teaching about religious music, and intersections that occurred for some between religious music at their school, home, and house of worship. Finally, implications for teaching practice based on these findings are that music teachers should consider engaging students in discussions surrounding the religious and cultural elements of diverse religious music intended to foster intercultural competence.