Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education



First Advisor

Diana Hawley


Curriculum and Instruction


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of student-centered practices on the ownership and belonging of seventh-grade orchestra students. The student-centered practices, based in the theory of social constructivism, consisted of a project in which students worked in small groups to teach a vocabulary term and skill to the class, as well as the routines of class discussions, classroom jobs, and a seat-rotation system. The implementation of the study was documented in a daily teacher journal. Data on students’ ownership of the musical process and sense of belonging in the orchestra was collected through a bi-weekly student survey, observations of an audio recording of students’ small-group work time, and student interviews at the completion of the study. This study led to the conclusion that student-centered practices can positively impact students’ sense of belonging in the classroom, and may also impact their ownership of the musical process. In the future, similar student-centered practices could be implemented that would reduce the intensity of the intervention while still producing similar results.