Advocacy Issues Waae


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Advocacy Issues Waae

  1. 1. Advocacy Issues Marian Strong, Art Education Australia Acknowledging the value of the arts in the education of all young people is necessary, but useless without fundamental support from governments for implementation. Carefully designed curriculum followed by or in conjunction with an implementation strategy is essential to ensure the realisation of grand values statements. The Australian government through joint arts and education ministerial statements has recently made such an acknowledgement of the value of arts education for all young people. This is but the first step and one we have achieved many times before. Yet the 2008 announcement of a new national curriculum omitted the Arts. However, after six months of extensive lobbying by the national professional arts education associations and other key stakeholders, this decision has been reversed. I am now a member of the Advisory Group for the development of the Arts in the national curriculum. We are currently working on a rationale or position paper to guide this development. Some key issues need to be resolved and these are not easy questions for arts educators. Ten issues we are engrossed in Australia are: 1. Which artforms to teach, how often, for how long? 2. How can we build upon what in many schools is current practice? That is Music and Visual Arts are often allocated regular teaching time, so how do we cater for the remaining artforms? 3. Can we expect all artforms to be taught at every grade level, and with the same emphasis? 4. Is there or should there be a balance between the visual and performing arts? 5. Are there good reasons to advocate for the Visual and Performing Arts, rather than this ‘subject’ or ‘learning area’ called the Arts? 6. Should the Visual and Performing Arts be mandatory for the compulsory years of schooling? 7. How many hours per school week / year should be devoted to Visual and Performing Arts learning? 8. How do we write curriculum for both the ‘expert’ art teacher and the relatively ‘inexpert’ grade teacher in the primary / elementary school. 9. Can we all agree on what is Visual Arts (Dance, Drama, Music) practice for the purpose of writing curriculum? 10. Can the WAAE develop a joint declaration concerning some of these issues? There are too many questions here, but I hope they trigger some responses and discussion.