Question 4: How do you think ‘The Arts’ should be implemented in primary learning contexts? 

[Create Mindmap by Paul Foreman]

I believe that The Arts should involve student exploration of various artworks and techniques to develop their own ideas; that students should create their own artworks as an expression of who they are and the social and cultural influences around them; and that they should reflect on the art works they create, how it does or does not represent the ideas they intended and how they could develop these ideas further in future art works.


Children need to develop their own literacies when it comes to The Arts. They need to develop an understanding of each art and come to terms with its ‘words’ and ‘language’ so that they understand the significance of particular movements in dance to express themselves, or the importance of certain brush strokes and forms in visual art (Dinham, 2017b, p. 27). For example, in the Orff Approach students begin to understand rhythms and sound, and their combination, which is then shared with other students (Music Australia, n.d., para. 5) and forms that starting point of their music education, which is then developed in later years.

Open-ended Inquiry Based Challenges

The Arts should develop the ability of children to express themselves through an open-ended inquiry process (Dinham, 2017b, p. 35). Inquiry-based challenges can range in nature from student-based inquiry which can be very open to the students’ interpretation to teacher-led inquiry where the teacher more strongly leads the students in the challenge (Chen & Tytler, 2017, p. 95). In The Arts it is important that the challenges be teacher-led but not so much to reduce the input of students, so that teachers can guide their students through the exploration of new ideas, concepts and technical skills; and then guide their students towards the challenge with specific criteria that goes towards assessment, but allow room for students to express their own ideas. For example, in the visual arts, students could be challenged to photograph Light and Dark in my school, which would allow them to examine the interplay of light and dark in their own school environment and reflect upon how these places and images affect their daily lives.


Expression may be the most fundamental part of The Arts education. During the process of exploration and engagement, students are continually reflecting on what they find important, what it makes them think or feel, and whether they like the art work or not (Dinham, 2013b, p. 39). Through this iterative process they create their own meaning and begin to express it in an environment which emphasises ‘art as experience’ (Dinham, 2013b, p 42). These experiences, which are a co-constructions between teacher and student (Dinham, 2013a, p. 14) are affirmed by the teacher and students, allowing them to develop their own sense of self (Dinham, 2017b, p. 25).

[Expression: Retrieved from:

Reflection: This process of expression, in conjunction with exploration and open-ended inquiry challenges allows students to study the forms in ways meaningful to them. Supported by teachers giving students adequate scaffolding of the ideas, techniques and concepts, should allow students the chance to reflect on how they feel and produce works of art that are meaningful and authentic to themselves.


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