Importance of Arts Education

Topics: Education, School, Teacher Pages: 6 (1745 words) Published: March 26, 2013
February 2011 marked the implementation of english, mathematics and science into the national curriculum (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2013) and it was up to the view of the principle to integrate the arts, as they felt appropriate (Russell-Bowie, 2012). After a large amount of scrutiny the arts strand was included during the second phase of the curriculum (Russell-Bowie, 2012; ACARA, 2013). Aland (1999) highlights the fact that what is assessed in the classroom is what the teacher, the school and the community, value. Within present and future classrooms it is a teacher’s responsibility to integrate the five arts subjects into the already busy curriculum, and ensure our students are all able to experience the diverse culture we once were.

Article 31 of the United Nation Convention for the rights of a child state children have the right to “join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities” (Unicef, 2013). In line with this statement, the Australian National curriculum aims for the development of five art subjects: Dance, Drama, Music, Media and Visual Arts and implementation from February 2014 (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013). Initially aimed as a choice by principals, a nation wide approach was not included till second phase of the curriculum was developed (Russell-Bowie, 2012). With support from the Victorian essential learning’s giving the arts relationships between other subject domains (Victorian curriculum and assessment authority, 2009); New South Wales Syllabus giving equal opportunities between seven subject domains (Board of studies NSW, 2006); Tasmania’s essential learning separating all subjects based on students outcomes (Hanlon, 2004), “being arts literate” (Shilto, Beswick and Baguley, 2006); and Queensland essential learnings’ separating a multitude of key learning areas equally (Queensland Study Authority, 2010), there is clear support from the governments regarding arts education (Australian Council for the Arts, 2001) for the future generations, but without the economical support from the government it is unlikely arts education will continue (Russell-Bowie, 2012).

The public view regarding arts education has been under disrepute, through being seen as a ‘’soft subject’’ with little connection to the ‘real world’ (Rabkin and Hedberg, 2011). Although Paige and Huckbee (2005) undertook a poll where 90% of respondents thought “arts is vital for well rounding”, Rabkin and Hedberg state arts is “not seen academically” and does not prepare for the workplace (2011). President Clinton is one influential person within history who has said in the past that he owes music for the success in his life, and without music running for president and consequentially winning would not of been possible (Australian Council for the Arts, 2001). In regards to what is taught in our schools, schools value what is of economic value (Russell-Bowie, 2012) and with recent budget cuts the success of arts education is unlikely. Aland (1999) reminds teachers that what we teach and assess is what students assume is valued by the teacher, the school and within the community. So does teaching and assessing in regards to the NAPLAN test (Russell-Bowie, 2012), mean as a nation we only value the english and math results?

Taras (2005) defines assessment by “judgement of students work” and it is important, as teachers, these judgements are made appropriate to the learning experiences and the children’s background (Russell-Bowie, 2012). Recognising that students go through times in their lives where change occurs (Aland, 1999). Aland (1999) highlights the importance within the assessment of the arts, of clear and very explicit criteria and outcomes. Queensland Study Authority (2007) highlights the seven key criteria aspects students are marked upon in the Queensland essential learnings framework as knowledge and understanding, creating,...
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