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Syllabus Years 7-10, Visual Arts


Academic year: 2023

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Published by the

Board of Secondary Education PO Box 460

North Sydney NSW 2059 Telephone: (02) 925 8111

Approved by the Secondary Schools Board in April, 1987, for optional implementation in 1988 and 1989.

© Board of Secondary Education, September 1987.

Schools, colleges or tertiary institutions may reproduce this document, either in part or full, for bona fide study purposes within the school or college.




YEARS 7 - 10






1. Introduction 2 2. Rationale 4

3. Aims of Visual Arts 6 4. Related objectives 7 5. Teacher objectives f 8

6. Syllabus content t 9 - Subject matter

- Media - Processes

- Learning experiences

7. Outline of Visual Arts courses, Years 7-10 13

8. General experience course 14 - Introduction

- Content

9. Elective course 17 - Introduction

- Content

10. Assessment of student achievement , 25 11. Evaluation of programs , 27



This syllabus is based on the Statement of Principles for Visual Arts K-12.

These principles have been endorsed by both study boards and the Department of Education.

This syllabus contains the TWO courses :


Both courses involve students in making and studying artworks and images.

The general experience course is designed to provide a significant experience in the visual arts for all students in years 7-10. It sets out the essential content to be covered for the compulsory general experience in Visual Arts.

The Elective course is designed to provide for students seeking to extend their experience in the visual arts. This course maintains the emphasis on the local and contemporary environment of the compulsory General

experience course. However, the subject matter is extended to include the art of Australia and other cultures. Wider and deeper experiences with media and design also provide an excellent basis for further study of Visual Arts in years 11 and 12.

This syllabus is essentially process based. Particular programs are

determined by individual schools, operating within the syllabus definition of content. Realisation of the syllabus aims and objectives depends largely on the specific environment, community and resources of each school, including the areas of expertise and professional development of teachers.

The syllabus for years 7-10 builds upon the foundations laid by the Visual Arts K-6 Syllabus. This is achieved by developing the students:

- ability to use media expressively

- understanding and appreciation of a wider range of artworks and images


This syllabus integrates the making of artworks with theoretical and critical studies and provides opportunities for students to take an increasing responsibility for their own development and creativity.

The syllabus differs from previous years 7-10 syllabuses in a number of ways:

- it places greater emphasis on the importance of the students' local (Australian ) environment as a stimulus for creative action;

- it reflects current trends in education by bringing theory and practice into alcloser relationship;

- it identifies the processes and experiences essential to learning in the visual arts as presented by this syllabus.




In this syllabus Visual Arts is defined as the process of making and interpreting artworks and images.

By making artworks and images students give visual form to their ideas and feelings. This process provides students with a unique means of expression and communication and develops their capacity to see, think and feel.

By studying artworks and images students come to know and appreciate their culture and their visual world. Through this process students develop their capacity to interpret, form opinions about and respond to the images in their environment.

In Visual Arts students participate in basic learning processes which develop their capacity to make and study artworks and images.

These processes are :

PERCEIVING the world through the senses;

RESPONDING in an individual way;

MANIPULATING media to create new ideas and images;

ORGANISING materials and images to express ideas and feelings;

EVALUATING images to understand, appreciate and make decisions.

Students need positive, continuing and sequential experiences in these basic processes because learning in the visual arts does not take place automatically as a result of maturation.


Visual Arts education is important because it involves the learning of a visual language. This visual symbol system is a non-verbal way of knowing which is the only way some aspects of the world can be comprehended and shared. It enables the student to communicate and express their ideas and


Participation in Visual Arts activities also encourages and assists students to contribute to the social and cultural life of the school and the community.

Visual Arts and the student

Each student is capable of personal vision, insight and creativity. Visual Arts emphasises an imaginative and exploratory approach to learning which encourages personal expression and interpretation. Students use ideas, feelings and imagination to invent images, restructure their world and use materials expressively. It is essential that students develop their ability to use images, objects, materials and techniques to express ideas and respond to their surroundings in their own way. The ability to perceive, respond and interpret with discrimination assists learning in other disciplines. Visual Arts provides opportunities for students to discover interests and talents and this allows them to make informed choices about future vocational and

recreational activities.In many careers creative commitment and the ability to think visually are essential.

Visual Arts and the community

As students grow they become more aware of the many ways information is communicated in their environment. Their world is changing rapidly with knowledge, ideas and beliefs being presented in an increasingly visual way.

Images and objects are used extensively in the community to convey meaning. Through Visual Arts activities students become visually literate which enables them to participate fully in the community.

Visual Arts and the culture

The values and beliefs of a society are reflected in the things people make and do. For example, Aboriginal art is a living tradition in which beliefs about the environment and lifestyle are expressed through painting, carving, weaving, ceremonies and body art. Making and investigating visual arts helps students become aware of this significant aspect of human life. This enables students to express their cultural heritage through their artworks and contribute more effectively to the diverse aspects of Australian cultural life in the classroom, home and community.













discover ideas for making artworks by having experience of people, places and things around them;

use feelings, imagination and memory as a source of ideas for making artworks;

experiment with the various ways materials can be used to express ideas and feelings.

acquire confidence and skills using a range of materials and techniques;

become aware of the world around them by learning through seeing and the other senses;

respond to the visual world with imagination in order to explore new ways of looking and seeing;

understand their responses to the world by finding, using, and talking about visual qualities and relationships.

investigate the many ways artists express their ideas, feelings and beliefs in visual form;

make and appreciate their own artworks;

use their imagination to explore ways of responding to artworks;

appreciate the art of others by discovering meaning, forming opinions and giving reasons;

become aware of the way place, time, material and culture affect the meaning of artworks and images.

explore new ways of communicating thoughts and ideas through artworks and images;

think imaginatively in order to raise questions, solve problems, experiment, discover and invent;

experience the satisfaction and enjoyment of working creatiyely.

increase self-esteem through activities that are self-motivated and self-directed;

become aware of themselves as thinking and feeling individuals by expressing imagination and insight in their artworks;

value their own art and the art of others by contributing, considering and sharing new ideas.


In order to assist students to achieve the aims and objectives of this syllabus teachers must:

consider the needs and interests of their students. These will vary considerably and will be influenced by their:

- individual differences, levels of maturation and range of abilities;

- physical environment, including school conditions and locality;

- social and cultural environment, including their

relationship with the values, ideas and achievements of other people.

provide students with experiences that will develop:

- sensory awareness and imagination;

- powers of expression and communication;

- understanding and appreciation of'artworks and images of the past and present;

- their potential to think and act creatively.

Plan learning experiences which develop new interests as well as provide for the needs and aspirations of students. These experiences should provide for continuity and cumulative learning.

Plan positive and constructive learning experiences, based on careful consideration of students' individual differences and interests, which encourage:

- confident personal expression

- the development of a strong consciousness of self-worth - an active commitment to the visual arts

Structure a learning environment in which the processes basic to Visual Arts education take place.



The content of the Visual Arts syllabus for Years 7-10 comprises :




Sequential programs for the General experience and Elective courses are constructed by combining appropriate learning experiences with subject matter, media and processes.


The subject matter of Visual Arts is the student's world which includes the world of art.

The students' world, which is both real and imagined, is comprised of ideas and feelings, people and animals, materials and objects, events and

situations. Students learn in Visual Arts by exploring the images, visual qualities, structures and relationships of their immediate surroundings and their imagined world.

The world of art is made up of a rich variety of visdal ideas, images and forms. An understanding of the different ways artists respond to their real and imagined worlds helps students to appreciate a wide range of artworks and the role of art in the society. Such an appreciation can motivate students in their own creative activities.



In this syllabus "media" means symbols and materials. Both interact in the expression and communication of ideas and feelings. Symbols indicate meaning. Materials give form to symbols.

In the visual arts ideas and feelings are expressed through visual symbols.

Symbols indicate meaning within a personal, social or cultural context by representation, typification, association and analoqy. Students learn in the visual arts by inventing visual symbols which give personal meaning to their ideas and feelings.

Materials are substances which give form to symbols. Students use materials such as crayons, paint, film and clay as a means of expression in drawing, painting, modelling and constructing. Students must be given opportunities to:

- experiment with a range of materials to explore the ways they can be used to visually express ideas;

- find new ways of working with familiar and unusual materials;

- acquire confidence and skill using a range of materials and techniques.

Skills should be taught if they are appropriate to the learning activity and grow directly from the expressive needs of the student.



The students must be provided with opportunities^ engage in all of the following of processes:

PERCEIVING - Students use their senses to see, understand and interpret the world around them.

Perceiving with curiosity and imagination is necessary to heighten sensory awareness.

When students are perceiving tney look, think, notice, recognise, detect, examine.

RESPONDING - Students respond to the world around them in an individual way. Personal response is valuable and necessary to create and interpret images, objects and events. When students are responding they question, wonder, encounter, feel, react, experience, visualise, empathise, value.

MANIPULATING -Students experiment with materials to discover ways to make artworks. Students also manipulate images and ideas as they investigate and solve problems. When students are manipulating they explore possibilities, experiment, invent,

assemble, reassemble, combine.

ORGANISING - Students select, order, refine and arrange materials and images to express ideas,

feelings and beliefs in visual forms. . - When students are organising they collect, compare, classify, order, design, enlarge, simplify, plan, improvise.

EVALUATING - Students evaluate images and objects by discovering meaning, forming opinions and giving reasons. Evaluation occurs while students make decisions about further creative activity:

When students are evaluating they ponder, compare, imagine, reflect, interpret.suggest, favour, explain, justify, prefer.

The processes interacting with media and subject matter are essential to learning in this Visual Arts syllabus.



In this syllabus the six types of learning experiences which teachers must use in developing programs are :



These experiences identify and describe essential areas of learning in the Visual Arts. Sequences of learning experiences must be planned so that students :

use DIRECT experience of people, places, events and objects for making and appreciating artworks;

experiment with materials and images in an INTUITIVE way in order to discover new ways of making artworks;

REMEMBER events and images from their experience to extend their capacity to create and interpret

images and artworks;

IMAGINE, visualise, fantasise and dream in order to develop new visual ideas;

use MEDIATED images and objects for appreciation analysis and expression;

respond to visual QUALITIES AND RELATI6NSHIPS in the world around them in order to make and

appreciate artworks.





C SUBJECT MATTER - The student's world (local environment) The world of art (contemporary Australian) 0 MEDIA The expressive and communicative potential

of a variety of 2 & 3D materials, symbols

N and images is to be explored.

T PROCESSES Perceiving, responding, manipulating, organising and evaluating.


LEARNING Direct experiences are compulsory.

N EXPERIENCES Combinations of intuitive, remembered, imagined, qualities and relationships, and mediated, are to be used with direct

T experiences in the programming of

learning sequences.









The student's world (local environment) The world of art (the art of Australia and other cultures with further study of media and design)

The range and depth of experiences with the communicative and expressive potential of symbols, images and materials are to be extended towards individual specialisation.

Perceiving, responding, manipulating, organising and evaluating.

Direct experiences are compulsory.

Combinations of intuitive, remembered, imagined, qualities and relationships, and mediated are to be used with direct




The General experience course in Visual Arts involves students in making and studying artworks and images in direct response to their environment.

These must include contemporary Australian artworks and images. Both making and studying artworks and images must be interpreted within the Visual Arts program.





The students' interpretation of the environment is the basis for this course.

The particular subject matter selected will largely depend on where they live.

This subject matter must be related to their study of the wider environment of Australian artworks and images.

The student's world

Students will respond to aspects of their immediate and accessible environment, for example:

appearances, aesthetic qualities, ideas, values, feelings, personal belongings, family, friends, home, room, school, local area, advertising, television...

The world of art

In order to understand their world and make relevant images, students must be provided with opportunities to develop an appreciation of Australian contemporary artworks and images, for example :

painting, sculpture, architecture, design, craft, mass media imagery ...

MEDIA Symbols

Students will learn to make personal, rather than stereotyped, symbols and images. They will also learn to interpret the expressive and communicative symbols of other artists.


Students will interpret and express their visual ideas and feelings through activities such as drawing, painting, printing, modelling, constructing and carving. They should experience a variety of 2 and 3 dimensional materials in order to develop imaginative, manipulative and organisational skills.



The course emphasises the development of the students' ability to : respond to the expressive visual qualities of things, people, places and events in the immediate environment.;

perceive qualities of shape, form, colour and surface and their relationships in the immediate environment;

manipulate ideas, images and materials to make new images;

organise images and materials to express and communicate ideas and feelings;

evaluate the artworks of themselves and others.


In this course learning experiences must be sequentially organised. Direct experiences must be included in every program sequence.

Learning experiences must be planned so that students :

DIRECTLY observe and record particular people, things, events and artworks in their immediate and accessible environment;

become aware of the QUALITIES of such visual elements as form, colour, space and surface and their RELATIONSHIPS in the environment;

REMEMBER events and images in order to clarify their perception of direct experience, increase their visual vocabulary and create and interpret images and artworks;

make artworks INTUITIVELY by changing known images, experimenting with materials and spontaneously developing new forms;

IMAGINE by remembering images from direct experiences, visualising new organisations of images, placing images in new contexts and

suspendingbelief about the meaning of objects;

interpret and appreciate Australian contemporary MEDIATED images such as artworks, posters, video clips and photographs as a basis for the

development of their own images. Mediated images are ideas which have been visually expressed by someone else and they must be reinterpreted




The Elective course involves students in making and studying artworks and images by :

- directly encountering and acting upon their immediate and accessible environment;

- responding to the broader Australian environment;

- discovering relationships between their own environment and the wider environment of the world of art.

In this course the wider environment of the world bf art may be understood as the art of Australia and other cultures, the use of visual media and design concepts.

Both making and studying artworks and images must be integrated within the school program.

Schools should develop a documented program for the implementation and evaluation of the course and for the valid assessment of student




In this course sequential programs are constructed by combining appropriate learning experiences with subject matter, media and processes.

SUBJECT MATTER The student's world Students will respond to:

- their immediate accessible environment;

- the broader Australian environment;

- the wider world as perceived, imagined and invented by the student.

The world of art

Students will respond to:

- local accessible artworks and images, including folk arts, popular art forms, street sign?, buildings, mass media images;

- Australian art, past and present, including Aboriginal art forms;

- themes and issues underlying artworks selected from:

African, American, Asian, European, Oceanic and contemporary art which have either influenced art in Australia or provide contrasts to Australian art;

- images which communicate ideas and feelings through the use of media;

- problems of design and aesthetics In past and present artworks.

In order to gain a broad understanding of their world and make relevant artworks students should develop some appreciation of:

paintings, buildings, sculptures, designs, ceramics, mass media imagery, jewellery, photographs

fibre constructions, computer graphics, films, videos.



Symbols and images

Students will learn to develop inventive symbols and images which communicate their individual ideas and feelings, they will also learn to interpret the symbols of other artists and other cultures.


Students will explore the expressive potential of a range of 2 and 3 dimensional materials. They will express their visual ideas and feelings through activities such as drawing, painting, printing, design, sculpture, photography film, video, weaving, jewellery, ceramics, computer graphics.


The course emphasises the development of the students' ability to:

respond - to their world, including the world of art, with increasing sensitivity, intensity and individuality;

. - to images and artworks. Response is achieved by encouraging students to feel, think and act in individual ways so that they may develop their potential for empathising with images and artworks;

perceive - their world accurately, selectively, aesthetically,

holistically and analytically; ___

. - artworks and images through :

• accurately observing and describing the images;

• making suppositions about the intentions of the artist;

• discovering aesthetic qualities;

• analysing the relationships within images;

• apprehending the synthesis of those qualities which unify and create the whole image;

• exploring the contexts in which images are made and used;


manipulate ideas, images and materials with increasing confidence in experimentation;

ideas and make new connections in relation to the meaning and interpretation of artworks and images;

organise - images and ideas in imaginative and expressive ways;

images and artworks by selecting, ordering, comparing, contrasting and classifying in order to clarify ideas, feelings and


evaluate - their own artwork as it progresses in order to clarify their expression of ideas and feelings;

images and artworks through:

• continually applying their perceptual and conceptual discoveries to their own art making;

• appreciating and placing a personal value on artworks and images;

• examining the ideas and methods used by artists, critics and historians and comparing them with the various value systems

operating in the community.



The six types of learning experiences which teachers must use in developing programs for this course are



Direct experiences must be included in every program sequence.


Learning experiences should be planned so that students:

- develop a keener sensory awareness of the immediate accessible environment by:

* using media expressively, aesthetically, symbolically and descriptively;

* observing and studying local places, events and artworks in a spirit of active searching inquiry, giving attention to the social

reasons and aesthetic considerations underlying them;

- create artworks and images in response to their observations of particular aspects of the immediate and broader Australian environment;

- encounter contemporary Australian artworks and images directly through visits to galleries, museums and

exhibition centres;

- develop imaginative artworks by responding directly to their immediate environment and relating these experiences to their awareness of issues, themes and problems

encountered by artists from different cultures.



Learning experiences should be planned so that students:

- focus their attention upon recalling images from previous activities to promote greater awareness of the environment;

- practise their recall of images and record them visually;

- enrich and extend their verbal/visual vocabulary by reference to prints, photographs, visual diaries, scrapbooks, written records and discussion.

When mental images are recalled this is known as imaging. To create new visual ideas such images must be manipulated; this is known as imagining.

Experiences in which memory recall is used should be extended so that students become aware that memory must be used imaginatively for expressive communication.


Learning experiences should be planned so that students:

- are given the opportunity to generate and build mental images through use of insight and imagination;

- make projections and speculations about artworks and images;

- perceive and evaluate known aspects of artworks and images and invent ideas of their own;

- use materials and symbols in various ways to express their imagination, feelings and thoughts.

Experiences in empathy and imaginative play with ideas and images should be encouraged. Students could imagine themselves as other beings. They could imagine the appearance of objects and people as seen from different vantage points. Students could reverse commonplace relationships, invent new forms from traditional ones, project possibilities and create alternatives for the future.



Learning experiences should be planned so that students:

- create personal symbols and images by experimenting with materials in order to discover expressive

possibilities, aesthetic qualities, communicative potentials, appropriate skills and techniques and structural properties;

- manipulate mental images into seemingly illogical or unexpected relationships in order to suggest ideas for development into an artwork;

- understand that by acting spontaneously and intuitively with materials and images, they will sometimes create visual forms which, through their vitality, stimulate

further creative action;

- intuitively apprehend the interaction of those qualities which unify and create whole artworks or images;

- understand that their inner resources of vision need to be refreshed through perceptive responses to their external environment.


Learning experiences should be planned so that students:

- are encouraged to perceive visual qualties and

relationships in the environment, differences in colour, textural variations, transitions in light and changes in movement. General classifications, which involve naming or labelling, should not be relied upon and stereotyped notions, such as the naming of grass as green and water as blue should be broken down;

- respond to artworks and images in order to perceive visual qualties and relationships such as unity, the illusion of space, harmony and rhythm;

- manipulate visual qualities through simplification, rearrangement and synthesis in order to create new expressive images and objects.

These learning experiences allow students to develop the sensibility necessary for the imaginative organisation of images, the invention of new meanings and the discussion of visual concepts.



Learning experiences should be planned so that students:

- encounter a wide range of artworks, images, events and ideas;

- interpret artworks and images in order to understand:

* the creative process;

* the meaning, purpose and context;

* the use of symbols and materials;

* the use of concepts such as abstraction, realism, idealism, naturalism, functionalism;

* their personal response and values;

- learn to appreciate images and artworks;

- evaluate their own art and relate it to the ways artists have interpreted similar themes;

- use mediated images, such as works of art, popular imagery, folk art and mass media images, as a source of ideas for making their artworks. Through the perception of mediated images a collective convention can be

internalised, modified and expressed as personal invention;

- study artworks and images in order to understand the various means of communication and problem solving of designers.

The study of artworks and images should relate closely to the students' responses to the environment and assist them to make artworks.



Current rules state that all students, Years 7-10, must satisfactorily study Visual Arts, either through a General experience course or through the combination of the General experience course and the Elective course.

To help validate this requirement, the school may develop a plan and

appropriate methods for assessing student achievements in Visual Arts and reporting them in terms that have meaning for the student, for the school and the community.

It is essential that the purpose of the assessment and the intended audience be clarified before schools devise their plan and assessment methods.

Schools' assessment methods rely on various measurement instruments.

Those instruments chosen for Visual Arts should be evaluated to ensure that they support the aims and do not have a negative effect.

Class exhibitions and discussions provide opportunities to assess each activity, project or unit of work undertaken, in terms of effective use of the processes, subject matter and media.

Traditionally, assessment has been used to rank students' achievements in order of merit. In Visual Arts it is educationally important also to compare past performance in order to assess each individual's progress towards the aims.

A collection, folio or diary which records the student's use of the processes, motifs, thoughts and visual ideas could be used as an aid to assessment of the student's development.

The questions suggested for classes in the section on Evaluation of

programs, if applied to the work of individual students, could also serve as a basis for a student achievement assessment scheme.

Although student achievement may be required, on occasions, to be

reported by numerical or grade systems, the need to support a positive self- concept in adolescent students makes this system less desirable for regular assessing and reporting in Visual Arts. Where marks are required, the assessment of a student's work by more than one assessor improves the reliability of the results by increasing the number of informed subjective responses to the work


Assessment should concentrate on the degree to which students have

progressed towards attaining the aims while being effective in the processes.

Students need to know how to value their own achievement, development and progress in relation to the course being undertaken and their peers' achievement.

The substantially subjective nature of assessment in Visual Arts requires flexible and appropriate methods of reporting. Written or verbal reporting provides the opportunity to make unambiguous, positive statements about individual student achievement. These achievements should be reported in terms that have meaning for the student, for the school and its community, and are best expressed in terms of the aims and objectives upon which the teaching programs have been designed.



It is essential that each school regularly evaluates programs designed to implement the Visual Arts courses offered to students, in terms of the course aims and the teacher objectives.

To do this effectively it is necessary to consider:

1. the students' use of the PROCESSES, SUBJECT MATTER and MEDIA :

have the students gained adequate experience in all of the PROCESSES ?

did the students respond to SUBJECT MATTER ? how successfully did the students use MEDIA ? 2. the effectiveness of the sequences of LEARNING

EXPERIENCES (programs) in assisting each student towards the achievement of the AIMS of Visual Arts :

have the sequences of learning experiences developed the students' visual perception, sensory awareness and

imagination ?

have the sequences of learning experiences developed students' visual expression and communication ?

have the sequences of learning experiences developed the students' abilities to understand and appreciate

artworks and images from the past and present ?

have the sequences of learning experiences developed the potential of students to think and act creatively ?

have the sequences of learning experiences assisted the students to achieve a positive self-concept ?

3. the quality of the learning environment, as it reflects a progression towards the aims;

4. the appropriateness of the resources used.

(Resources include time allocation, spaces, equipment,


5. whether the aims, processes, subject matter and media were unified in the programmed sequences of learning experiences;

6. whether the students understood how processes, media and other subject matter were integrated in their

learning experiences.

Opportunities should be provided for students to evaluate their involvement in the processes, the relevance of the course objectives, the selection of subject matter and the ways of using media in their artworks.

By collecting and interpreting all the information that might be of assistance, those making the evaluation will be better able to place a valid estimate of worth on courses of study derived by the school from this syllabus.


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