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Programme planning: Design decision making framework - Context

How does the programme fit into the three year progression in this subject?

Visual arts (in a rural year 7–13 co-ed school)

Each student is on an individualised programme, designed to meet each student’s individual needs. It starts with where each student is at, and is not based on conventional year level classes. As three levels are working together in the same room, students have been prepared to work at different levels. So year 13 students are more willing to be assessed by level 2 achievement standards than they used to be when they were with all in one class of year 13 students.

There is no apparent transition from year to year. The transition is seamless; students seem to start working from where they left off the previous year with this approach. They recognise their own progression.


Integrated programme (in a large urban co-ed school)

In year 11, students are offered two arts courses:

  • painting
  • photography and design.

Both of these courses contribute to the skills and knowledge that the year 12 and 13 programme demands in producing a magazine, although there is perhaps a more logical transition from the photography and design course into the ‘art project’. As the programme involves year 12 and 13 students and both level 7 and 8 (mainly assessed at NCEA levels 2 and 3, although some level 1 standards are used), there is a seamless transition.


How does the programme connect to the school's priorities?

Drama (in an urban Pasifika school)

The school is very focused on achievement goals, generated and measurable throughout the year. So the assessment structure needs to provide tangible evidence of student achievement term by term. Drama contributes a lot to those because the achievement rate is really high for the students who take drama. For example, all students achieved the level 1 mihi that we did this year.

Our school mission statement says we “are committed to nurture in each student a belief in self, a commitment to achieve, and the spirit of aroha”. In the drama programme the idea of caring and innovation is definitely a large focus. For example, I really encourage the year 13s  to do solo work because what they gain from doing a solo piece in front of an audience, in terms of confidence, resilience, risk taking and self-management, will help them as a person in life, and that becomes the most valued outcome for them.


Visual arts (in a rural co-ed school)

The school has been part of the He Kākano programme and has put a big emphasis on values and a common language for learning to raise the achievement of Māori students. The art department embodies these into its actions and approaches to teaching and learning, and for building a conducive learning culture. A strong emphasis on values underpins our classroom culture -  Kahurangi rito whakaaro akonga.

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How does the programme contribute to raising student achievement?

Dance (in a large co-ed urban school)

The students most at risk of underachievement at this school are boys and Māori and Pasifika students. I intentionally make decisions focused on fostering the boys’ enjoyment of dance that enables them to find ways into the subject so they can see themselves reflected in the work. There is lots of choice built into the selection of content that is formed around large themes such as youth culture and things that are relevant or meaningful to them in their lives outside the classroom.

For Māori, I make explicit decisions around the context for learning that is aimed at engaging and enabling them to share their knowledge and kaupapa, their upbringing, and their past experiences. Those things that they bring into the class are going to be inherently valued and valuable to their learning in class.


Music – sound arts (in a large co-ed urban school) 

As the programme is tailored to meet different student needs, all students’ capabilities and interests are catered for. For example, we offer a performance-oriented course for year 13 students who may not have taken NCEA music. This means that students who perform for cultural groups such as kapa haka, in school for talent quests, or at the ASB Polyfest are able to get credits for music-making activities.

This pathway has been provided so that year 13 students who need another university accredited subject are able to use music credits to gain 14 plus credits for university entrance. This allows them to get up to 14 credits and opens opportunities for them in music that did not exist in the past.

During the first two weeks of the school year we discuss with each of the year 12 and 13 students where they want to go with their music, what they want/should learn. Part of this discussion also covers aspects of key competencies such as managing self and participating and contributing.


Where does the programme lead to for students?

Drama (in an urban Pasifika school)

I research what students need to get into tertiary, because I want to make sure that I’m giving them what they need to get to the next level. I’ve had to research tertiary institutions and find out different ones and what they offer, their strengths, and what their weaknesses are. I try and get to know them by talking to their graduates and people in the industry who know about them. I try and maintain destination data so I can anticipate what students need to achieve for success beyond school.

I have a goal that each class will have one EOTC opportunity a term, whether it’s to go and watch live performance or do a workshop with an artist or another professional. I connect with Auckland Theatre Company and the Performing Arts Centre, so when they have auditions for plays I encourage the students to go to those, pushing them to take those opportunities. So making connections as well with our professional communities is really important for our students so they can see and access those pathways for learning and qualifications.


Music –sound arts (in a large co-ed urban school)

There are two pathways for students. There are those for whom music becomes an academic pursuit and they study contemporary or classical music at universities, and for others who enjoy the technical nature of music, it leads to careers such as sound engineering. For others, music is a passion or an interest so they may play in their own bands or perform with community groups. The emphasis for these students is to continue to enjoy and play music beyond school.


Visual arts (in a rural co-ed year 7- 13 school)

The personalised programme has led to a number of new pathways for our students. Achieving excellence and scholarship results is now seen as achievable and a worthy aspiration for level 8 visual arts students. Students, who in the past didn’t see the arts as an option for their futures, are now pursuing tertiary courses (and succeeding). They now believe they can compete with the best and get into courses that have limited entry. Three ex-students are presently participating at various stages of tertiary visual arts and design programmes at the Auckland University of Technology and Canterbury University.

For “at risk” students the visual arts programme, being available on three of the six timetable lines, means they can make choices to spend more time on art options. This has kept some students engaged, achieving, and attending school, something that is not always happening in their other subjects.


Last updated September 5, 2013