Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts (Published)

In the past few days, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has published the shape paper for the Arts in the upcoming Australian Curriculum. The draft shape paper was released for consultation last October and by January this year had received over 1,600 responses nation-wide.

The shape paper for the Arts covers all five arts disciplines:

  • dance
  • drama
  • media arts
  • music
  • visual arts

This final version of the shape paper will be used to write the actual arts curriculum for Australian schools. Some notable changes include:

  • K has been replaced with ‘F’ for Foundation (year)
  • the strands of generating, realizing and responding have been replaced with making and responding
  • under the previous strand of generating, the terms apprehending and comprehending have now gone
  • the clunky table in the draft version no longer exists
  • the large band definitions for all arts disciplines as 3-8 have now been altered to accurately reflect teaching and learning models, and are now defined in bands of 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8
  • ambiguous and/or contentious terminology appears to have been largely eradicated
  • the 20-definition glossary has been replaced with a broader, slimmed down 5-definition glossary

The final shape paper for the Arts is now more logical, less complicated and significantly more user-friendly. The shape paper in my opinion has been strengthened and on the whole uses terminology and concepts drama educators should readily understand. These changes are particularly crucial for non-specialist teachers of drama across the country who will be teaching a curriculum that may not be native to them or one in which they have little or no formal training.

Of course, there will still be issues and questions to be raised with the final Arts shape paper. Even though formal consultation for change no longer exists and the process of writing the Arts curriculum will soon be in process, debate is still healthy and should merely affirm the fact that we will have a robust curriculum.

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