Educators call for a status review of Australian arts curriculum implementation

A research-based status review to assess how effective is implementation of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts was called for this week by representatives of the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) during meetings in Canberra with politicians and their advisors. NAAE is the affiliation of peak national professional arts and arts education associations representing arts educators across Australia.

NAAE asserted the importance of achieving coherence and application of best practice in arts education in schools across the country in discussions with advisors to the Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, and Minister for the Arts, Paul Fletcher, as well as with Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek and Greens arts spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Julie Dyson AM, NAAE Chair said, “It is imperative for young people to learn creative and critical thinking, personal and social competence and the ability to collaborate and problem-solve, best delivered by the national arts curriculum.”

“Arts education also enhances learning across the curriculum and develops essential skills for securing work in a changing jobs market,” added John Saunders, incoming NAAE chair and Drama Australia representative.

NAAE also called for the inclusion of the Arts as a primary specialisation in initial teacher education.

“The University of South Australia has introduced an arts curriculum specialisation option in the primary education undergraduate degree” said NAAE Ausdance National representative Dr Jeff Meiners, “and we look forward to the adoption of the arts as a learning area specialisation for all jurisdictions through AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership).”

Music Australia representative, Dr Linda Lorenza of Central Queensland Conservatorium, CQUniversity said, “Enabling primary teachers to develop these specialisations during their initial teacher training will be invaluable and efficient in growing quality arts teaching and learning across the primary years of schooling.”

Visual arts representative Associate Professor Margaret Baguley said the review was timely given that the world-renowned Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which assesses the skills and knowledge of 15-year-olds globally in mathematics, science and reading, would also be assessing creative thinking in 2021.

“Creative thinking is a necessary competence for everyone, but particularly young people in an increasingly technologically driven and innovative society. We need to ensure Australian students are well prepared through their engagement with quality Arts education for this international measure.”

Representatives of NAAE referred the politicians and their advisors to NAAE’s recent publication More than words can say: a view of literacy through the arts that defines what is meant by ‘literacy’ in each of the art forms: dance, drama, media, music and visual art and design.

For further comment contact:

Julie Dyson AM, M: 0412 211 513

John Nicholas Saunders M: 0421 456 792‬

Back: Sue Fox (Ausdance), Roger Dunscombe (ATOM), John Nicholas Saunders (Drama Australia), Antony Hubmayer (ASME), Jeff Meiners (Ausdance). Front: Margaret Baguley (AEA), Linda Lorenza (Music Australia), Mary Mooney (Drama Australia), Tamara Winikoff (observer), Julie Dyson (NAAE Chair).

Back: Sue Fox (Ausdance), Roger Dunscombe (ATOM), John Nicholas Saunders (Drama Australia), Antony Hubmayer (ASME), Jeff Meiners (Ausdance).
Front: Margaret Baguley (AEA), Linda Lorenza (Music Australia), Mary Mooney (Drama Australia), Tamara Winikoff (observer), Julie Dyson (NAAE Chair).

Julie Dyson