AER 58 surveys the international and national research on the role and effect of arts-rich programming in schools and in the broader community, and examines the policies and practices that inhibit or support these initiatives. It puts the case that embedding the Arts in learning would be a powerful catalyst for educational and social reform in Australia, since arts-rich experiences can benefit students academically and socially, revitalise school curricula and foster the development of much needed creativity and imaginative thinking. Section 1 discusses and defines ‘the Arts’ collectively, as a way of knowing and learning – embodying play, inquiry, experimentation, creation, provocation and aesthetics – and provides vignettes which illustrate these elements. Section 2 reviews the growing research evidence about the impact of the Arts on learning, and the meaning and importance of ‘quality’ in arts education, and urges a more systematic and evaluative approach be undertaken in arts research. Section 3 uses project exemplars to argue the Arts provide a critical, quality pedagogy, one which leads to relevant and flexible education, enabling students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Section 4 considers several community arts education initiatives in which arts-based programs are currently being utilised as a catalyst for social transformation and discusses policy implications associated with realising the potential of the Arts in Australian education, especially with the impending national curriculum.
Recommended CitationEwing, Robyn, "The Arts and Australian education: Realising potential" (2011).