Approaches to Learning and Teaching

In document 2 Curriculum Framework (Page 58-64)

4 Learning and Teaching

4.2 Approaches to Learning and Teaching

interests and abilities. Above all, students are required to apply knowledge and skills in real situations. There are various models for integrative learning in the arts which are meaningful to students and at the same time maintain the identity of individual art disciplines. (See Exemplar VI for an example of integrative learning in the arts.)

Integrative learning in the arts enables lateral coherence in students’ learning, which is different from an integrated arts curriculum. The former way of learning enhances students’ motivation when they see connections among ideas and concepts in different art forms. Students’ conceptual development in an art form can enhance and support the understanding of others, e.g. the concepts of form and structure occur in all the art forms. For instance, through the cross-KLA study of the political and social backgrounds of 18th Century Europe, students can easily grasp how Classical Music was developed and vice versa.

In order to provide meaningful learning experiences for students, collaboration between different subject teachers would be the crucial factor of successful integrative learning. Arts teachers and other subject teachers should work together on curriculum planning. They may participate in cooperative teaching and peer lesson observation.

4.2.2 Project Learning

Project learning in the arts is a powerful learning and teaching strategy to enhance self-directed and reflective learning. It is an effective way to develop students’ generic competence such as study skills, collaboration and communication skills. Project learning in the arts also enables students to connect knowledge, skills, values and attitudes within the arts and across other KLAs, and to construct knowledge through a variety of rich learning experiences.

Project learning is not limited by teachers’ knowledge and school hours. It is more flexible in the breadth and depth of the learning it can bring, and it caters well for student diversity. (See Booklet 3 of the Basic Education Curriculum Guide - Building on Strengths (2002) for more details on project learning.)

Project learning can be used in a single arts subject, across the arts or across KLAs. Coordination among teachers of the various KLAs is needed to avoid having students doing too many projects in the same period of time.

Project learning usually starts with identifying issues or problems, challenging questions, and involves students in working either individually or together to make decisions and take actions over a period of time. Project learning in the arts involves various learning processes such as planning, reading, observing/

exploring, reflecting/judging, enquiring, synthesising, communicating/

presenting, and conceptualising.

Project learning in the arts can be divided into three stages: the preparation, implementation and concluding stages. Taking the production of a musical as an example, these three stages involve the students in:


deciding on the theme or story line*;

planning the work schedule, actions and procedures for doing the project;

forming groups and agreeing amongst themselves the role of each student, i.e. playwright, researcher, songwriter, stage designer, choreographer, stage manager, etc.; and

drafting the project proposal and seeking the teacher ’s advice.

* This could touch upon an issue in moral and civic education, or a topic in other KLAs, and might need the assistance from other subject teachers.


working individually on their own parts while constantly liaising with one another and exchanging comments for improvement; and

getting together for rehearsals.


submitting a portfolio of their work to the teacher for appraisal*; and

presenting the project in the form of a performance.

* This may also include self appraisal and peer appraisal of both the process and the product, also taking into account generic skills like collaboration and communication skills

In project learning, one should bear in mind that the process of learning is as important as the end product. When a display of the end product is involved, the student should not simply take this as an opportunity to show off their work, or compete with their classmates. Rather, they should learn to appreciate the work of others and exchange ideas for further improvement. (See also Exemplar V for example of project learning.)

4.2.3 Life-wide Learning

Life-wide learning can happen both inside and outside the classroom. It offers learning in real contexts, wider exposure and experiential learning for students.

There are arts activities that need to be conducted inside the classroom. On the other hand, there are arts activities which take place outside the timetable, e.g.

performing in a band or orchestra. Some arts activities are conducted outside the school walls, e.g. exhibitions and concert performances. All of these modes of learning complement and enrich students’ arts learning experiences and students should be given an opportunity to benefit from them.

Ideally, learning in the classroom should relate to students’ everyday life.

Learning activities outside the classroom should be preceded and/or followed up by related classroom learning activities in line with the current curriculum whenever possible. For example, before the students visit a Buddha statues exhibition, they can be given an introduction to the historical and religious backgrounds of the exhibits. Such background knowledge may raise the students’ interest in the exhibits. During the visit, students may be given some worksheets to help them focus on particular aspects of the exhibition. After the visit, they can discuss the relationship between the artistic expressions of the statues and their historical and religious backgrounds. Such an activity also offers a cross-KLA dimension to the study.

Schools may collaborate with government and non-government organisations and make use of community resources such as concert performances, museums, galleries, architecture, community arts, to provide students with experiences beyond the school walls and further the breadth and depth of their learning.

Different community sectors can contribute to life-wide learning opportunities in the arts in line with the current trends in curriculum development. Networks

should be built to facilitate information exchange and the sharing of experience in the arts. (See Exemplars III, V-VII on examples of life-wide learning.)

Collaboration with peers, teachers, parents, and community members also helps to promote the awareness of the arts in our daily lives. For instance, artistic school and home environment contribute much to the artistic development of children. Arts activities with parental support and participation can stimulate students’ learning motivation and facilitate learning in the arts. In turn, it will enhance parents’ understanding of arts education. Parent-teacher associations (PTAs) can be good supporters and useful promoters of life-wide learning activities. Apart from offering financial assistance, PTAs can mobilise their parent-members to assist in the arrangements for activities and to help supervise the students on outdoor activities.

4.2.4 IT for Interactive Learning

Information technology is a powerful tool for facilitating learning and teaching in the arts.

The use of technologies provides a whole new range of artistic tools for exploration and application. Students can explore the arts

through the use of IT in an almost infinite variety of possibilities, e.g. a far greater range of tone colours, staging, choreography, etc. Students can gain access to an unlimited source of information about the arts through the Internet.

IT provides a favourable environment for learning since the breadth, depth, pace and choice of content can be decided by students. (See Booklet 3 of the Basic Education Curriculum Guide - Building on Strengths (2002) for more details on using IT for interactive learning.)

Technologies have the potential to enhance students’ motivation and thus make a vital contribution to learning in the arts. They enhance self-directed and reflective learning and provide opportunities for students to construct their own knowledge. They can, through the use of computers, freely explore the arts on their own. For instance, technologies allow students to develop their creative musical ideas through recording, playing and editing on computers.

Students can critically evaluate their compositions, and more complex musical ideas can be developed and refined. In the area of visual arts, the use of graphic

software can help students to develop creative ideas by transforming them into concrete images, which can then be compared to the original thoughts, revised and further developed. Students do not merely learn to use the software, but can use it as a tool to create. Moreover, various online museums and galleries provide many resources for students to explore so that they can enhance their artistic experience.

Through the use of multi-media, students can develop an aesthetic and artistic sense in the process of incorporating sound and visual images into their artistic creations. They can also experience the use of multimedia tools and technology.

Multi-media presentations of artwork enhance students’ motivation and the effectiveness of their learning.

The use of IT is one of the many effective means for improving learning in the arts, but it should not be treated as an end in itself. It cannot replace creating in the arts, nor can it substitute the role of the teacher. For instance, while to cultivate students’ creativity and critical thinking is an end, the use of a sequencing or notation music software in the process of music composition and arrangement is merely a means. There are a number of computer programmes designed to enhance the learning experience of students. Some of them are somewhat rigid, however, and have a limited value in the music classroom. They should be used sparingly. Care needs to be exercised when selecting programmes to fulfil the Four Learning Targets of Arts Education.

4.2.5 Reading to Learn

The arts encompass the areas of performing arts and visual arts. Students make use of a range of senses, i.e. tactile, visual and aural senses, to express themselves and communicate with others through different art languages. However, arts learning is not limited to the above senses. The understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the arts could be deepened through reading related literature. Reading, therefore, is also contributory to the “Understanding Arts in Context” which is one of the Four Learning Targets of arts education. Students can draw upon the resources in their own school and the community, e.g.

libraries, the mass media, internet, etc., to look for reference materials.

Students should be encouraged to adopt reading to learn as one of the learning strategies for better understanding and for widening their scope of experience.

(See Booklet 3 of the Basic Education Curriculum Guide - Building on Strengths (2002) for details on Reading to Learn)

4.2.6 Moral and Civic Education

Quite often, the expression of the arts requires the use of different subject matters.

For example, a play needs a storyline and composers often use a ‘programme’

to express their imagination. On the other hand, the arts are often used as a powerful means to bring out messages. Some examples are ritual dance, religious paintings and patriotic songs.

As Moral and Civic Education is integrated into the whole school curriculum, many of its key messages can be brought out as contents of artistic expressions.

In most cases, messages through the arts give a much greater impact to students than straightforward lecturing. For example, through writing the lyrics of a song on “Keep Hong Kong Clean”, students will have a sense of ownership of the positive attitudes to be taken.

The Life Event Approach recommended in the Basic Education Curriculum Guide - Building on Strengths can be manifested through different art forms, especially through drama. (See Exemplar VII for the use of Drama-in-Education approaches in teaching environmental protection). (See also Booklet 3 of the Basic Education Curriculum Guide - Building on Strengths (2002) for details on Moral and Civic Education)

In document 2 Curriculum Framework (Page 58-64)