Like many topics in education, we have strains of the same philosophical divides in music education as we do in other areas of education. This week, my guest Dr. Anika Prather is the perfect person to address and offer a bridge to one of those divides. She has a background in both Music Education as well as Theater and Literature. In this episode we discuss educational philosophy related to the “Western Canon” in both literature and in music. Trying to make sense of the various approaches that range from “Classical Education” to the “Decolonize the Classroom” movement. The discussion centers around the idea that both extremes when taken as wholly sufficient philosophies miss some very important aspects of history. Maybe a hybrid approach is needed.
“If we are properly decolonizing education, it should change HOW we teach, not WHAT we teach.”Dr. Anika Prather
No teacher can teach ALL of the repertoire from all of the cultures, and we shouldn’t lose sleep over it. What matters is that we instill curiosity in our students to go out beyond our classrooms and seek more.
Dr. Anika T. Prather earned her B.A. from Howard University in elementary education. She also has earned several graduate degrees in education from New York University and Howard University. She has a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis) and a PhD in English, Theatre and Literacy Education from the University of Maryland (College Park). Her research focus is on building literacy with African American students through engagement in the books of the Canon and self-published her book Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African American Students Reading Great Books Literature recently. She has served as a teacher, supervisor for student teachers, director of education and Head of School. Currently she teaches in the Classics department at Howard University and is the founder of The Living Water School, located in Southern Maryland. The Living Water School is a unique Christian school for independent learners, based on the educational philosophies of Classical Education and the Sudbury Model. She is married to Damon M. Prather an engineer and has an MBA (Wisconsin-Madison). He also serves as the financial manager of the school. She and her husband Damon, have three young children, and they reside in the DC metropolitan area.
Anika is also a performing artist and incorporates, music, drama and storytelling into most of her presentations. She has produced and written the songs for her 2 jazz albums and her music can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/anika_tene .