The best way to engage students in their learning is through arts integrated pedagogy that authentically aligns to the natural way children learn and connect with the world around them. Primary educators however, are finding it more and more difficult to find the time to implement these engaging and authentic ways of knowing into their daily teaching practice due to NAPLAN, and the return to high stakes standardised testing within Australia’s education system.
Arts education has enormous potential to support these outcomes, but teachers are not being educated or supported to implement these strategies, because the education system is finding it difficult to adapt to 21st century outcomes. Indeed, universities are not leading the way either in this country. Rather than provide best practice, inline with 21st century outcomes that will empower the students to be successful and healthy adults within an increasing complex world, we have Universities complying to outdated practices and educational hierarchy that is driven by heads of department and education who are not adapting to the rapid pace of change. I am not the first to call them dinosaurs who are holding back the system with 20th century thinking!
Cutting back funding and face-to-face teacher training for arts, especially arts integrated pedagogy, that has proven again and again to be the way forward is just bad practice.
Arts education empowers students creative thinking skills, which is one of the most important outcomes of the new Australian Curriculum. It provides authentic and engaging ways to support students’ literacy and numeracy skills in Early Childhood and Primary School education, and is a brain gym for developing students white and grey matter, including a whole brain activity.
What’s underlying this?
Other than a lack of leadership and desire for change, the system is being driven by a lack of trust, which Gabrielle Stroud outlined in her article “NAPLAN results show it is time to hand trust back to teachers” (ABC, 2016). This is now a serious issue that requires immediate review!
With each and every change that’s been implemented by political parties in the past decade, Australian teachers have had their autonomy stifled and their judgement suppressed (Stroud, 2016).
The time for change is now, and the sooner we make this logical shift the better. Lets remove the chains of 20th century education from our students and let them fly with open wings into an unknown but exciting future.
Alban, D. (2017). How Music Affects the Brain for the Better. Retrieved from https://bebrainfit.com/music-affects-brain/
Logsdon, L. F. (2013). Questioning the Role of “21st-Century Skills” in Arts Education Advocacy Discourse. Music Educators Journal, 100(1), 51-56. doi:10.1177/0027432113499936
Ormrod, T. M. M. a. J. E. (2013). Child Development and Education (5th ed.). United States of America: Pearson.
Stroud, G. (2016, 14 Dec 2016). NAPLAN results show it is time to hand trust back to teachers. News ABC. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/naplan-results-show-teachers-should-make-education-decisons/8117556