MANAGING RESOURCES IN THE ARTS
Today Australian classrooms are highly connected. The resources available to support teachers reflect particular educational values. At times in the arts you will draw on resources that set highly directive and sequential paths of learning (for example, when learning skills and techniques in each of the art forms), while at other times it is essential that you use resources that offer experimental activities for learners where outcomes are more open-ended and unpredictable. In arts education, both kinds of resources are valuable, and with judicious use will deepen the learning of all students. Of least value are those 'teacher-proof' resources that set out scripts for the teacher to read aloud while the children docilely follow along (supposedly!).
Increasingly, the machinery of schooling is dominated by 'correct answer enquiry' where learning is about determining an answer that is either correct or not. Of course, this is important in the arts too, but of equal value are those processes of open-ended and experimental enquiry that cannot be concluded with a simple tick or cross. Because the arts demands experimentation, originality and a personal, creative response, teachers need to seek out resources that place students in situations of uncertainty and unpredictability from which moments of discovery and surprise will result in the creation of fresh and deep understanding.
Today, as broadband connectivity opens classrooms to the world and allows teachers to import the world into the classroom, all teachers can take advantage of the archives and repositories that constitute the arts wisdom of global tribes. This requires us to move beyond seeing resources as reservoirs of objects, digitised and ready to be consumed along a predictable pathway of learning. Instead the challenge is to adopt, adapt and apply resources that set up open-ended and playful experiences, and purposefully inject ambiguity into the child’s encounter with them.
These resources are all designed to deepen engagement and learning in arts classrooms. Some are tightly structured, sure-footedly guiding teachers and students along stable learning pathways. Others invite the unforeseen into the heart of the learning encounter with all its attendant unpredictability, dynamism and potential for deep learning.
This Arts-POP presents teachers with a number of key resources to enliven the arts in schools. It lists the major arts companies and arts service organisations that have programs and resources to support teachers and schools. In addition, it offers teachers the opportunity to connect with hybrid art or multi-art form organisations. These companies prefer to work across the arts and in so doing model approaches to the arts that go beyond a single, one-art-form-at-a-time approach to arts curriculum design.