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School arts
plan derided
TEACHERS and students have hit subject that has strong intellectual
back against a proposal that could foundations.
‘‘Visual arts teachers and aca-
mean the end of visual arts as a demics have spent decades
stand-alone subject in high developing scholarly and academi-
school. Eva Tejszerski reports. cally rigorous programs . . . this
would quickly turn the clock back,’’
AN advice paper released by the Dr Maras said.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment ‘‘It’s very disappointing, especially
and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in when we’re supposed to be working
May this year has suggested visual toward a 21st century-oriented cur-
arts could be combined into one riculum in Australia.’’
general field of study – along with Almost 10,000 students chose vis-
music, dance drama and media ual arts as an elective for their
arts. Higher School Certificate last year,
ACARA is responsible for a making it the 10th most popular
national curriculum from kinder- subject.
garten to year 12, in specified learn- ‘‘When you have students select-
ing areas. ing it at that level, it shows how well
The paper suggested reducing the it is valued by students and Save our subject: Students Michael Clark and Paige Donnelly want to keep visual arts as a separate field of study.
allocated time spent on visual arts parents,’’ Dr Maras said. Picture: Chris Lane
and music in years 7 and 8 from the ‘‘The government just keeps test-
NSW mandatory 100 total hours to ing and testing, and we just don’t fit we are bombarded with images,’’ he ects from HSC students – show- dedicate enough time to visual arts
two hours a week across the five that mould because visual arts is said. cased the strong passion students in junior years because it helped to
prescribed art forms. labelled with artistic creative con- ‘‘Students need that literacy to have for the subject. strengthen artistic skills.
Teachers say that would force vis- tent so we don’t get the curriculum make interpretations – it’s a com- Year 12 visual art students from Aspiring visual arts teacher Mat-
ual arts to compete with other arts time. munication tool. De La Salle Senior College, thew Manahan, 20 – who is studying
disciplines, resulting in students ‘‘It makes you wonder where ‘‘It is thoroughly based on Cronulla, Michael Clark and Paige a visual arts and education degree
spending less time on a subject that future artists will come from.’’ research into children’s cognitive Donnelly, said the course should at university – said the idea to slash
had proven career paths. She also said teachers’ jobs would development, where they are taught not be altered. the hours spent on visual arts was a
Senior lecturer in visual arts edu- be threatened. to respond to what they see. ‘‘It would diminish the oppor- ‘‘harsh move’’.
cation at the Australian Catholic Byron Hurst, a visual arts teacher ‘‘And career-wise, there is a huge tunity we have to be expressive,’’ ‘‘Students need it because it can
University in Strathfield, Karen at De La Salle Senior College, demand to produce those images, Michael said. eventuate into a profession.’’
Maras, said it was a ‘‘dumbing Cronulla, said the subject helped such as in the film or television ‘‘It also links in with, and provides
down’’ of the arts curriculum. students develop a ‘‘second industry.’’ support to, other subjects, includ- ❏ What do you think of the proposal
Dr Maras, who lives at Caringbah, language’’, vital for life after formal Mr Hurst said the successful ing English and history, and helps to cut visual arts as a stand-alone
said lumping the subjects together education. annual exhibition, Art Express – with essay-writing.’’ subject in high school? Tell us at
forced ‘‘a common approach’’ to a ‘‘We live in a visual world where which displayed the best art proj- Paige said it was necessary to theleader.com.au

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