Attrition, (De)motivation, and “Effective” Music Teacher Professional Development: An Instrumental Case Study

Justin J. West, Ann Marie Stanley, Jason P. Bowers, Daniel S. Isbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore why and how a prototypically “effective” teacher professional development (PD) effort, reciprocal peer coaching (RPC), fell short. Despite RPC’s conformity with long-espoused best practices in PD—content-specificity, extended duration, collaboration, inquiry, and self-direction—only two in eight music teachers who began the 5-month coaching and observation trajectory completed it. We used instrumental case study analysis to understand teachers’ decisions to continue in or prematurely withdraw from RPC. Findings revealed motivational factors such as collaboration and affirmative support, growth-in-practice learning, and content relevance were, for the majority of participants, overcome by demotivational factors related to participants’ perceived lack of agency in shaping their work context and the incoherence and insufficiency of their policy environments. We advance implications for PD providers, researchers, and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-28
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
Issue number229
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Music

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