Dance in the curriculum

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    Booting the tutu: teachers and dance in the classroom

    Ralph Buck (National Institute for Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland) focuses on how we might develop sustainable dance education practice in the primary school classroom. He emphasises the importance of changing perceptions about dance in terms of the associations with femininity, ability, performance, mastery of skill and elitism.

    Dancing with information and communication technologies

    Felicity Mandile (Virtual Schooling Service, Education Queensland) talks about the World Dance unit embedded within the VSS Dance Course and in particular, an innovative project that utilised videoconferencing technology to create a collaborative choreographic environment between two indigenous groups of students.

    Shape Shifting: choreographic process as research

    Linda Ashley (AUT University, Auckland) presents findings from an action research project focusing on a series of creative dance workshops. This paper includes a philosophical examination of cognition during the choreographic process in terms of educational value, and also how the process of choreography itself, is research.

    Sustaining dance education in New Zealand

    This paper explores challenges facing dance educators working with pre-service primary teachers in the New Zealand context. An analysis and comparison of two national curriculum documents raises the question—how should a pre-service teacher education program for primary teachers respond to the demands of recent curriculum reforms? This paper discusses changes in teacher education that have had an impact on dance educators’ responses to curriculum demands. It details this impact using one particular teacher education institution (the University of Waikato) and discusses show how a cohort of students in 2008 views the current dance education provision. In conclusion, it offers an outline of some ways forward for dance educators.


    Dance part of every young person’s education!

    Participating in dance provides creative, healthy and stimulating experiences for young Australians. Dance is now a part of the Australian Curriculm which means every young person will have the opportunity to experience dance. This offers huge potential for developing creativity and innovation across the curriculum.



    Dance, young people and change

    Dance, Young People and Change brought together young people, parents, educators and others from around the world to share and consider the role of dance in young people’s lives. It provided critical evaluation and reflection on approaches to dance learning, teaching and curriculum for young people and offered opportunities to critique the relevance of dance for young people within education and community contexts.

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    The National Advocates for Arts Education respond to the Review of the Australian Curriculum

    Media Release

    The future of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts
    A response to the Review of the Australian Curriculum, October 2014
    (550 kb PDF)

    The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) acknowledge the Review of the Australian Curriculum – Final Report (pp.213–220) and welcome its general statements about the value of the arts in formal school education. The NAAE also welcomes the report’s emphasis on the need for greater teacher professional development in the arts.

    However, we consider this review to be premature. There has been little opportunity to test the five arts subjects in the classroom, and, as we noted in our submission to the review, we ‘strongly urge the review panel to enable the Australian Curriculum: The Arts to be implemented in its present form, allowing processes of refinement to be managed by classroom teachers. It is a living document that can be refined by expert arts educators as it unfolds across the country’. Teachers need to implement, test and reflect on the current well-developed arts curricula and NAAE rejects the recommendation that ‘the content of each of the arts forms needs to be restructured and re-sequenced along the lines suggested by the (two) subject matter specialists employed by this review’.

    NAAE will spend some time over the coming weeks developing a more detailed response for State and Territory Education Ministers to consider at their December meeting with Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne. In the meantime we have major concerns about the number of contradictions, assertions and factual errors in the report, some of which are summarised below.

    •  ‘…there appear to be no other countries that have combined these five art forms into one curriculum’ (para 4, p.213).

    —Even a cursory inspection reveals that The Australian Curriculum: The Arts does not combine five art forms into one curriculum: There are five stand-alone subjects, each with its own comprehensive, sequential and developmental curriculum for years F–10 in Dance, Drama, Music, Media Arts and the Visual Arts. There was early consensus and support from teachers, professional artists and academics for the five arts to be included equally as a foundational entitlement for all young Australians.

    • The review panel states that ‘…. in most of the PISA top performing countries music and the arts have separate learning areas’ (para 3, p.214).

    —In Australia as in the PISA countries, each art form is to be a separate subject. The fact that in Australia the five art forms are part of a curriculum ‘learning area’, just as are the sciences, should not have confused the issue.

    • The authors’ assertions that ‘the English (arts) models are clearly the result of careful work by area experts’ and that ‘these [Australian] curriculum documents appear to have been drafted by experts in “education” rather than by experienced leaders in the disciplines’ are inaccurate.

    —It is well documented that Australia’s five arts subject curricula were in fact written by some of the most ‘experienced leaders in the disciplines’. These are arts education specialists with experience in teaching their arts subjects in schools. Arts teachers’ associations represented by NAAE, the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), generalist teachers from across the country and the Australia Council were among those consulted and invited to comment.

    • Where is the ‘considerable evidence that this curriculum has been cobbled together to reach a compromise among the advocates of all the five art forms’?

    —There has been a rigorous development process, detailed stakeholder consultation with State and Territory curriculum representatives, organisations such as the Australian Primary Principals’ Association, and expert consideration based on the value and recognition of each art form.

    —The assertion by one subject matter adviser that the arts curriculum does not achieve the aim of providing ‘a solid and sequenced foundation in the practical and intellectual skills needed for effective artistic expression’ is not substantiated. ACARA conducted a transparent consultation process lasting over four years involving negotiation and settlement with hundreds of generalist primary teachers and secondary specialists across Australia, as well as professional artists. A key consideration from the Shape paper to the current arts curriculum was the development of a sequenced practical and intellectual curriculum in each of the five arts content areas which will now be further refined through the testing processes being undertaken by the state education systems.

    • We do not understand references to the Media Arts ‘becoming a separate standalone subject’ when it is already a separate stand alone subject in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. We reject the statement that Media Arts does not appear to have been satisfactorily defined in educational terms. We will provide the review panel with more information.
    • We are concerned about the views of the two reviewers regarding the arts within the F–2 years (recommendation 1). Research shows that frequent planned art-making activities in the early years stimulate brain development that supports accelerated learning in other learning areas. The proposal that the arts are only rich resource materials for teaching literacy and numeracy in F–2 is counter-productive. The Arts curriculum should be taught in F–2 and teachers must be trained to teach it.
    • We strongly reject the recommendation that the five arts curricula be reduced and that only two be mandated, with the other three subsumed by other subject areas. The Australian Curriculum: The Arts already has minimal time allocations over each two-year band, a target which can be met if teacher professional learning is properly resourced and schools are allowed to adopt their own timetabling for meeting this target (e.g. sequential teaching for each arts subject over a whole term, etc.).
    • The statement (p.219) that ‘most schools would be very active already, in at least four out of five of these arts areas’ is not true, a fact substantiated by at least two Federal government reviews of Music and Visual Arts education. Most state and Catholic primary schools lack effective arts education programs, mainly because the teachers have not received an education that would equip them to deliver any arts curriculum. This is why the recommendations for teacher education are so important.
    • We therefore support the recommendation that ‘The considerable resourcing costs associated with delivering the arts curriculum need greater consideration, and professional development for teachers is needed as the years progress. It needs to be acknowledged that arts specialists will be needed at the advanced levels.’ In our view, the advanced level begins at Year 3.
    • Discussion in the review of the cross-curriculum priorities seems to have overlooked Dr Barry McGaw’s article entitled Cross-curriculum priorities are options, not orders.
    • Finally, we note that the National Advocates for Arts Education—or any other arts education organisations—were not consulted in the process of writing this review. Why were arts representatives excluded when subject area associations such as mathematics, geography, science, history and social & citizenship education were represented?

    Recognition for Australian innovation and leadership in Arts curriculum

    Many other countries including the United States of America, Norway, China and Japan keenly watched the development of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. As noted in the review (and in the NAAE submission), The Australian Curriculum: The Arts has received international recognition in the International Arts Education Standards and Practices of Fifteen Countries and Regions, a report prepared in August 2011 by the New York-based College Board for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. It states:

    The Australian arts curriculum could be considered as exemplary in the international context in terms of the breadth of its scope, the considerable attention to defining its own language, and the lengths it goes to in recognising the differences in abilities and learning opportunities at the different age/grade levels. It considers the importance of the arts in the roles they may play in other parts of the general curriculum: literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, cross-cultural and environmental awareness, social and ethical development.

    National Advocates for Arts Education
    Julie Dyson AM, Chair

    NAAE members: Australian Dance Council–Ausdance, Art Education Australia, Australian Society for Music Education, Australian Teachers of Media, Drama Australia, Music Australia, National Association for the Visual Arts.

    Ministers agree about the importance of arts education

    The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) continue their work to ensure the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms—dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.

    In August representative of NAAE met in Brisbane progressing discussion on the role of the Minister for Arts, working with the Minister for Education, to support arts education. NAAE was pleased to hear that there had been agreement between Ministerial offices about the importance of arts education, and the centrality of the arts to a liberal education.

    The meeting noted NAAE’s support for Minister Brandis’s statement about ‘taking the arts to a new place of creative excellence’.

    Read the full statement from NAAE.

    Supporting arts in the curriculum

    Ausdance National has prepared a submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum. The review has been established by the Federal Government to examine the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

    In February the National Curriclum for the Arts was published and we are keen to see it implemented. Ausdance has long been an advocate for well-resourced and informed curricula for dance and the arts. The benefit of a consistent curriculum across jurisdictions allows teachers, educators and arts professionals to develop and share approaches to learning.

    Read Ausdance National's submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum.

    UNESCO International Arts Education Week

    Arts for Peace

    May 19–24

    On 23 May 2012 Irina Bokova, Director General, United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO), launched the inaugural International Arts Education Week (IAEW) at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.

    Attended by leading international arts education scholars and practitioners, the shared vision was to define an integrated strategy that responds to a critical moment in human history: social fragmentation, a dominant global culture of competition, endemic urban and ecological violence, and the marginalization of key educational and cultural languages of transformation.

    The launch and celebration drew attention to the role arts education plays in a global agenda of peace and cultural understanding (see UNESCO charter).

    Read Sir Ken Robinson's inaugural International Arts Education Week message.

    Advocacy kit

    The World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) is pleased to launch an advocacy kit that celebrates the contributions of the arts to the lives and learning experiences of individuals and groups across the globe.

    The advocacy kit has been developed  by WAAE members A/Prof Ralph Buck (World Dance Alliance) and Dr Robin Pascoe (International Association for Drama/Theatre Education) in collaboration with representatives from InSEA and ISME.

    The kit is intended to provide those involved in arts education in schools and communities with ideas and practical strategies to promote the arts disciplines as a fundamental human right. The kit also provides an historical overview of the WAAE and its organisation, and the contributions and partnerships that exist between the arts education sector, UNESCO and other key organisations.

    Arts curriculum available online now

    Five art forms for all young Australians!

    The Australian curriculum for the arts, health and physical education, technologies, economics and business, and civics and citizenship for Foundation – Year 10 is now available on the Australian Curriculum website.

    The publication of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts represents a special moment in the history of Australian dance education, with dance now officially one of five art form subjects in the national curriculum. States and territories and education authorities will determine implementation timelines for schools. This is the result of many years of advocacy by Ausdance through the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) and the Australia Council with teachers, associations, education departments and State and Territory education ministers.

    However, the Education Minister has recently decided to review the National Curriculum and the NAAE has made a submission to this Review, calling for the implementation of the Arts curriculum in its present form. The NAAE is concerned about the prospect of more delays and tweaking that may result in a less-than-optimal curriculum. The NAAE acknowledges that there is some content that is still subject to further revision, but this revision must take place in the context of rigorous trials by classroom teachers.

    The Chairman of the ACARA board, Professor Barry McGaw has made a clarifying statement about the cross-curriculum priorities noting that they are "options, not orders".

    Sandra Gattenhof, Assoc. Professor, QUT Creative Industries Faculty, School of Media, Entertainment, Creative Arts, Drama said:

    This is a historic moment in Australian arts curriculum. For the first time ever, and even internationally I would argue, we have a curriculum that provides an entitlement for young Australians to all five art forms. This will have enormous implication on the expectations of what can be achieved in secondary schools, in tertiary institutions and ultimately on the cultural life and heritage for Australia.

    Listen to Sandra Gattenhof's keynote delivered at the Educators' Performing Arts Market.

    The Benefits of Arts Participation in Schools

    Benefits of arts participation in schools

    The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Sydney University and the Australia Council for the Arts have just released this video about how participation in the arts at school has valuable and long-term benefits for children of all ages and abilities, in terms of both academic and non-academic outcomes and achievements.

    Studies have shown that students who frequently participate in the arts are "more academically engaged...and motivated...and also have higher self-esteem..and a greater sense of meaning in life."

    Speakers are Associate Professor Michael Anderson (Sydney University) Dr David Sudmalis (Australia Council for the Arts) and Professor Andrew Martin (Sydney University)

    Watch video now.

    DEAS2013 report

    In schools there are some good dancers, some who are not. But it doesn’t matter. Dance should be accessible, enjoyable and shared.

    These wise words from ACT teacher Mardi Roberts-Bolton underlined why Ausdance continues to focus on Dance Education in Australian Schools (DEAS). The 2013 DEAS forum, with a new national curriculum on the horizon, was focused on providing teachers and policy makers with the capacity to ensure dance is accessible and enjoyed by all. DEAS2013 took place in Melbourne from 26 to 27 September. Policy makers and professional dancers from across Australia joined together for two days of learning, sharing and practical skills development.

    NAAE welcomes new Arts Curriculum

    The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has warmly welcomed news the ACARA Board has approved the new The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. NAAE, of which Ausdance is a member, has strongly supported the development of the arts curriculum and its central principle of the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms – dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.

    Leap forward for dance education in 2012

    The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

    This has been an important year in the evolution of the new national dance curriculum.

    One of five arts subject with its own body of knowledge, teaching strategies and learning outcomes, dance is soon to take its place in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

    We have continued to work with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on various drafts of the curriculum throughout 2012, engaging with teachers where the tight timelines for consultation have allowed, and keeping dance educators up to date with regular email bulletins.

    Consultation for draft Arts curriculum about to end

    The consultation period for The Australian Curriculum: The Arts has been extended until midnight tonight (25 September), so here's a last opportunity to have your say via ACARA's consultation portal.

    Ausdance National has already responded in some detail, thanks to some excellent work by Victorian dance teachers, facilitated by Dr Katrina Rank, Ausdance Victoria's Education & Training Manager.

    We also received feedback from individual teachers from around Australia, especially from Queensland, and have incorporated their responses into the Ausdance response.

    Teachers have generally been very positive about the draft Dance curriculum, and we hope our detailed response will help to refine it further.

    We're looking forward to seeing the final version, so watch this space for further updates.

    Draft arts curriculum launched for consultation

    Ausdance welcomes the launch of the draft of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts for public consultation, announced yesterday by The Federal Minister for School Education, the Hon. Peter Garrett. The consultation period will be for three months, until 23 September.

    The new curriculum will, for the first time, entitle all young people to learning in dance at school, a major breakthrough for students and dance educators. The four other subjects in the arts curriculum are drama, media arts, music and visual arts.

    Ausdance has played a strong lobbying role in having dance included in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts, and has supported ACARA—the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—in the development of the dance curriculum.

    We encourage you, as dance teachers in schools, students and parents, to continue having your say throughout this next consultation stage.

    Reviewing the new Australian arts curriculum

    Arts curriculum writing for Foundation to Year 10 is well underway.

    The draft rationale, aims and broad scope and sequence have already been reviewed by a state and territory national panel, and we joined other professional associations last week to review the drafts. We'd been invited to ask four teachers from across Australia to provide feedback, and Dr Katrina Rank, education and training manager for Ausdance Victoria, collated their feedback and led the discussion for dance.

    We also represented the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) in the teleconference, which was chaired by the general manager (curriculum) of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Robert Randall.

    We'll be calling for further dance commentary in the coming weeks as the drafts are developed by the writers, and ACARA will make the curriculum available for public comment in May. In the meantime, you can sign up for regular ACARA updates.