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EDAR500 The Arts Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment (F-6) , EDAR504 The Arts Curriculum

Unit rationale, description and aim

Teachers must be equipped with knowledge and skills in The Arts disciplines and pedagogy in order to provide learning experiences for children that assist them in making sense of their world.

This unit is designed to provide pre-service teachers with a critical pedagogical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of curriculum practice in Arts education in diverse early childhood and primary classrooms. Consideration is given to how Arts curriculum is shaped by broader educational policies and how the Arts make a unique inclusive contribution to the education of diverse students. Unit content includes the study of Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework: The Arts, and other state/jurisdictional documents and resources, in Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, Visual Arts. Pre-service teachers will consider their own role in Arts making as artists and as pedagogues by participating in Arts based experiences in the university classroom. Through understanding how Arts knowledge is represented in curricula and Arts practices in broader society, pre-service teachers will create authentic activities and resources of contemporary relevance to support inclusive, ethical Arts learning in the 21st century early childhood and primary classroom. 

This unit will challenge students to investigate and reflect on how to plan and implement culturally responsive Arts experiences in the early years and primary classroom for diverse student needs, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Outline a broad knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the Arts as distinct forms, of their place in communities and within the Australian Curriculum frameworks and relevant state-based documents (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 2.1, 6.2; ACECQA B1, B2, B7, B9)

LO2 - Combine knowledge of distinct Arts pedagogies, theoretical foundations and assessment strategies to describe how children engage in, through and about the Arts in the early childhood and F-6 classroom (GA5, GA9; APST 1.2, 2.1, 5.1; ACECQA C1, C2, C3, C4)

LO3 - Evaluate a range of resources, including digital resources, for engaging diverse students in their learning in Arts education (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA10; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.6, 3.4, 4.5; ACECQA C1, C3, C5)

LO4 - Apply current theories and pedagogy to design and implement learning sequences employing a range of teaching strategies that engage and respond to the needs of diverse learners and respects the cultural heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners (GA1, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1; ACECQA C1, C3, C5, C6, C7, D1, D3, D4, D5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - Demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - Locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - Demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

ACECQA Curriculum specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

B. Education and curriculum studies

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

B2. the Australian curriculum

B7. creative arts and music

B9. curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Teaching pedagogies

C1. alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. play based pedagogies

C3. guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4. teaching methods and strategies

C5. children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C6. working with children who speak languages other than, or in addition to, English

C7. contemporary society and pedagogy

D. Family and community contexts

D1. developing family and community partnerships

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4. socially inclusive practice

D5. culture, diversity and inclusion


Following an introduction to The Arts as an area of study in the curriculum, The Arts disciplines will be investigated as distinct subject areas. Subject-specific investigations may consider ways to integrate The Arts into the early years and primary classroom.

Introduction to Arts education

  • Theoretical and pedagogical perspectives of Arts education
  • An overview of the various disciplines comprising the key learning area ‘The Arts’
  • The role of the Arts in society and the relationships between artist, audience, artistic output and society
  • The Arts’ contribution to learning
  • Curriculum / learning framework policy implementation in The Arts


The Arts disciplines

  • An introduction to the concepts, elements, and practices of each distinct Arts discipline
  • Curriculum structure and practices of making and responding in each Arts discipline
  • Educational Arts research in the 21st century
  • Strategies for facilitating learning in and through the Arts, including play-based pedagogies, creative and collaborative exploration, and acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of knowing
  • Planning, implementing and evaluating learning experiences in each art form
  • Strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the strengths and needs of diverse learners
  • Appropriate resources, including art outputs from diverse cultures, ICTs, which engage learners in The Arts
  • The integration of ethically resourced information and communication technologies in The Arts
  • Literacy and Numeracy strategies and their application in The Arts
  • An overview of assessment strategies
  • Relevant sources of professional learning for teachers in The Arts

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In this unit, pre-service teachers will have the opportunity to explore and reflect Arts education in action. Through engagement in and reflection on authentic Arts making and responding activities, they will build knowledge and skills in The Arts. Through the application of the above, pre-service teachers will build their knowledge of the Arts curriculum and Arts-specific pedagogy, developing the ability to work autonomously, and locate, organise and synthesise information through undertaking planning tasks. The ability to work collaboratively will be developed through designing teaching and learning activities, culminating in presentations to the class and/or an audience. Reflective practice will be promoted through critical reflection on these learning experiences.

The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. Participants will be involved in a variety of learning and teaching strategies including:

  • Face-to-face lectures and/or online lectures (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Professional readings for both independent and collaborative tutorial work
  • Face-to-face and/or online tutorials (Arts making and responding activities)
  • Individual and collaborative learning opportunities

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Technology Enhanced Learning

The online teaching and learning in this unit will be offered via a Learning Management site. This will include resources and materials to support on-campus learning in a blended mode. Additionally, online communication tools, such as forums and webinars, will be used to support pre-service teachers’ completion of the learning and assessment requirements of the professional placement.

Lectures or lecture summaries will be recorded to support student learning. Workshop activities may be recorded as appropriate. Students will be notified when an activity is being recorded prior to the commencement of the activity.

Face-to-face/Online Learning support

Students enrolled in both face to face and online learning modes are required to regularly log into the Learning Management System to access recorded lectures and important announcements, to communicate with other students and lecturers, and to submit assessments and access feedback and grades. Students who are enrolled in either face to face or online learning will have equal access to support from the lecturer in charge and tutors.

Additional equipment requirements for online learning:

  • Reliable broadband access is recommended.
  • Headset with microphone to listen to podcasts, view videos and interact in synchronous classes.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures is designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes and to develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Assessment tasks will address the full range of Arts subjects offered in the various jurisdictions and comprise two assessments.

Assessments in this unit engage pre-service teachers in practical and/or written tasks that investigate ‘real-world’ arts education in Australian schools. The ability to design learning and teaching sequences, and the capacity to think analytically and work autonomously, will be developed through undertaking individual and shared tasks. Arts skills will be developed through preparing special interest tasks and sharing with peers. Reflective practice is encouraged through critical reflection on these learning activities.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate the achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, representing all Arts disciplines, to meet the learning outcomes of the unit. In addition, they must attain a Pass in Assessment 2 and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Assessment task submission and return of marked assessment will be done through Turnitin on the Learning Management System. Tasks will be marked and returned three weeks after the assessment is completed.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Write a reflection on the role of Arts in the education of young children. Describe the ways in which young children engage in and respond to The Arts, including an exploration of its role in developing imagination and creativity and the role of play. Include a rationale for The Arts in young children’s education.

Must demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the constructs of the Arts learning framework
  • Critical reflection on the importance of The Arts in young children’s education, incorporating current literature.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2 – The Arts Making/Practice

Select one of the following, focussing on 2-3 Arts disciplines:

  • Design an Educational Resource Kit that develops areas of the Arts – making – for implementation for a specific stage level of an early years or F-6 classroom.
  • Develop an Arts Practice journal, based on university workshop experiences.
  • Collaboratively develop and present an Arts making product relevant to the early years or F-6.
  • Collaboratively present/teach an Arts learning activity to your peers.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3:

Sequence of Learning Activities

(NB: must select different Arts disciplines to Task 1, to ensure all disciplines are assessed).

Develop a sequence of learning activities in two or three of the Arts disciplines studied, for and F-6 class. The sequence must demonstrate knowledge, understanding, analysis and synthesis of:

  • The concepts and structure of the chosen discipline(s) and their Primary school curricula;
  • Learning in the Arts;
  • A range of pedagogies and teaching strategies appropriate to the Arts;
  • Effective sequencing for developing skills and conceptual understanding in the Arts;
  • Appropriate resources, including ICT, to engage learners in the Arts;
  • Differentiation strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners;
  • a range of assessment strategies for supporting diverse learning in the Arts and guide further teaching and learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Required Texts

Arts Curriculum Documents - various state/territory and national authorities

Russell-Bowie, D. (2014). MMADD about the arts! An introduction to primary arts education (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia. 

Other Arts references

Australia Council for the Arts. (2012). Protocols for producing Indigenous Australian music (2012). (2nd ed.). Surry Hills, NSW: The Australia Council for the Arts.

Dinham, J., & Chalk, B. (2018). It's arts play: Young children belonging, being and becoming through the arts. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Dinham, J. (2019). Delivering authentic arts education: Visual arts, drama, music, dance, media (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Roy, D., Baker, W., & Hamilton, A. (2019). Teaching and the arts: Early childhood and primary education (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Sinclair, C., Jeanneret, N., & O'Toole, J. (2017). Education in the arts (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press Australia.

Further references

Daubney, A. (2017). Teaching primary music. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Poston-Anderson, B. (2012). Drama: Learning connections in primary schools (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Rank, K. (2014). Teaching primary dance : A primer for generalist primary teachers. Carlton South, Vic: Education Services Australia.

Scarratt, E., & Davidson, J. (2012). The media teacher's handbook. New York: Routledge.

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