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Exploration and innovation


Exploration is encouraged:

  • when the teaching and learning environment fosters curiosity and questioning
  • when students’ current knowledge, identities, experiences, and worldviews are used as a platform to build on and a guide for navigating new learning
  • through productive partnerships within the school and beyond for students working both independently and collaboratively.

Innovation is encouraged:

  • when arts teachers engage with their students as inventive artists and researchers
  • when arts teachers stimulate intellectual curiosity by encouraging their students to take risks, challenge the status quo, and seek innovative solutions
  • when students explore new technologies and virtual worlds to transform the known to the unknown
  • when students challenge beliefs and assumptions and apply imaginative processes to create new works.

Example: Music – sound arts

Music – sound arts learning spaces are environments where students can take risks, try new concepts, and challenge the rules of harmony and form, timbre, and the combining of instruments and genres.

Students can be agents of change and lead these social challenges through skilled use of collaborative sound/sonic technologies and Web 2 tools, through studying and creating music for protest, music for celebration, or simply by using music to spread a message.

  • Give permission for students to be loud or barely audible, consonant or dissonant, balanced and unbalanced, in and out of sync and time.
  • Collaborate and develop new musical ideas as examples of living and evolving sound culture.
  • Channel strong emotional responses to triggers and events (whether global or personal) into transformative musical expression that challenges and questions human ideas and actions through creative expression.

Example: Visual arts

Challenge students to explore and question beliefs and assumptions through studying and making art works.

  • Challenge students to make drawings using fashion photographs and makeup to critique conventional notions of beauty.
  • Have students generate image(s) and co-construct a still life that is about identities. They then scan this work and make a computer-generated image, adding other imagery or effects to reinforce ideas of identity. (These can be personal or more global notions of identity.)
    • Students then give their works to another student where they have to work on them to reflect more their own individual identity.
    • Students discuss the process particularly around having to give their original work to some one else to construct another or multiple identity.
    • Ideas discussed could include notions of originality, appropriation, globalisation, authorship, multiplicity, and so on.
  • Screen capture (appropriate) real-time online news-stream text and imagery, and re-compose as 'current affairs' maps/collages in the style of David McCandless or re-contextualise as sculptures in the style of Hans Rosling.
  • View TED Talks by internationally renowned, future thinking artists and designers. Facilitate group discussions where learners feel safe to examine how these people are 'breaking rules' through engaging in creative and critical thinking, and innovative and revolutionary visual arts practices.
  • Challenge students to take risks, think, and act outside the square and seek innovative solutions to art making. For example, ask photography students to produce one photograph overnight in response to a prompt, which may be interpreted in different ways, for example:
    • apple (object, food item, form, symbol, brand, from a scientific perspective)
    • inside out (looking from inside a room to the outside, turning an item of clothing or a bag inside out, personal perception)
    • measurement (space, 3-D, time, space-time continuum, measuring devices, precision, geometry, numbers, weight, size, volume, density, mass, gravity, velocity, proportion, scale).
  • Exhibit student art works through a variety of means including gallery settings, local primary schools, local businesses, projections during school assemblies to accompany music performances, and online, for example, via the Virtual Learning Network or the Arts Online Student Gallery or on the school website. On some occasions it may be useful to show works in progress accompanied by annotations or developmental images.
  • Connect visual arts with the ideas and content of other subject areas.
    • Use Dadaist collages, for example, to learn about World War I and post-war socio-political conditions in Europe.
    • Teach basic physics of the light spectrum to facilitate understanding of the use of a light meter to measure correct exposure in photography.
  • Use the Internet, mailing lists, and art museum websites for virtual learning experiences that reach far into the world beyond the classroom.
    • Teachers and students can watch podcasts from the Tate Modern that spark discussion and present new ideas.

Example: Dance

The following are two examples of exploring digital technologies in ways that both excite and engage students but also keep core dance practices at the forefront of their learning.

  • Make contact with your teaching network in other areas of the country or other parts of your city or town.
    • Use a video-conferencing tool to set up the opportunity with another teacher/school for your class to virtually visit one of their performances or rehearsals.
    • Have your students provide live virtual feedback to the other schools’ group and then have your students perform for the class watching on the other end.
  • With a few local network or national network dance teachers, arrange to have short examples of your students dance creations uploaded to the Arts Online Student Gallery. (Ensure that you seek and complete the appropriate permission forms with students and parents.)
    • Then have the other school’s teacher view the clip and have their students/class learn and develop the sequence further before reposting it to the student gallery.
    • Have your students watch the sequence again noting the developments and changes the 'away' class has made. Follow the process until both classes are happy with the end product.

Example: Drama

Use a social networking site or blog site or the school intranet server to create a class page.

If using Facebook, adjust the security settings of the page so that it is a safe, secure, neutral ground for students and for you as the teacher – where you can’t see the students’ personal pages and they, in turn, cannot view yours.

The online 'class base' can then be used to challenge students’ opinions through you or the student providing subject-based, thought-provoking statements on lesson content or the current learning context and contributing to the resulting comment threads.

In addition, you can provide visual clips for students to view and respond to.

Discussions could also involve ongoing feedback around achievement and group preparations.

Example: Art history

Enhance the relevance of new learning in the art history classroom.

Students who are challenged and involved learn more effectively.

Effective teachers ask open-ended questions that create possibilities for deeper learning.

Art history challenges students to think about deeper ideas from philosophy or to form and share opinions.

Initiate debates to encourage students to develop arguments within and outside their own experiences and knowledge. For example:

  • 'Abstraction is a truer representation of reality than realism.'
  • 'Once an image has gone digital or operates in a digital space it is no longer art.'

Wide use of the Internet, list serves, and art museum websites enables virtual learning experiences far beyond the physical boundaries of the classroom.

Google Art takes virtual tours into the great art galleries and museums worldwide, with the capacity to zoom in close and create a personal gallery.

Teachers and students can together watch podcasts from the Tate Modern that spark discussion and present new ideas.

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Last updated August 28, 2020