'Background Music in the Classroom' scoops prestigious George D Gray Award

posted 1 Feb 2010, 01:20 by South Edinburgh Net Admin   [ updated 1 Feb 2010, 01:45 ]

A teacher from Edinburgh's Gracemount Primary School has won the prestigious George D Gray CBE MA award for the best undergraduate thesis in teacher education in Scotland.

Kirsten Braden, 21, was announced as the winner at a meeting of the General Teaching Council for Scotland in Edinburgh on 20th January 2010.

Miss Braden graduated with a BEd (Hons) First Class from the University of Strathclyde in June 2009. Her thesis entitled 'Background Music in the Classroom' was an investigation into whether or not background music was beneficial to children as they learned. The study found that the impact of background music was different in certain areas of the curriculum and that the advantages were greater in some areas than in others.

Now in its ninth year, the George D Gray CBE MA award is in the care of the GTC Scotland and judged by a panel comprising Anthony Finn, Chief Executive of the GTCS; Professor Ron Elder, Convener of the Award Panel; Dr. Ivor Sutherland, former Registrar of the GTCS; Gillian Mackay, Head Teacher Commercial Primary School, Dunfermline; and Professor Judith George, formerly of the Open University. It seeks to find the most distinguished BEd assignment in Scotland.

Presenting the award to Miss Braden, our Chief Executive, Anthony Finn said:

"The judges found this thesis to be both interesting and well-presented. It is an insightful dissertation which considers the impact of using music to influence effective learning and the ethos of the classroom. Miss Braden reviewed the research which has been published on this subject in recent years and then carried out her own classroom-based research to consider which types of music had an impact on pupils, and which areas of the curriculum might benefit most from the use of background music.

"The panel was impressed that Miss Braden presented her case with great enthusiasm and commitment, displaying a sound understanding of the background to her study and a clear and perceptive analysis of her findings. She was very honest and realistic about the limitations of her research, recognising that this was one contribution to a complex area of study.

"Kirsten Braden is another deserving winner of the George D Gray award; an award that has highlighted, year after year, the high quality of student teachers and teaching throughout Scotland."

Kirsten Braden is currently undertaking her Probation Induction Year and said:

"I am honoured and delighted to be receiving this award. A 4th year project is a big undertaking and so I was pleased to be able to share my research with a wider audience. In accepting this award I would like to thank all those who helped me with my project. In particular I would like to thank Mr Charles Byrne and Professor George Gettinby for their assistance. I am enjoying my probationary year and continue to think about how to create a positive classroom environment."

The George D Gray CBE MA Award is presented by the GTC for Scotland under the terms of a trust fund which was set up by Dr Ethel Gray, the widow of George D Gray, as a memorial to her husband. Widely regarded as being responsible for securing Government support for setting up the General Teaching Council for Scotland, George Gray was also its first Registrar.

In attendance at the event were Kirsten and her mother, Janet Braden.

Source: GTC Scotland