Education Update #6

Another week, another Education Update, another collection of articles and weblinks that will hopefully be of assistance for teachers of all persuasions. This week includes articles about the importance a spelling across all subjects, teaching innovation, assessing understanding, classroom management ideas, writing strategies and much more, including the importance of the arts and other so-called ‘extra’ subjects.

There is also a link to an article titled 12 Things You Should Never, Ever Say to Teachers which might be funnier if it weren’t so true in representing the myriad misconceptions about teachers and teaching.

Don’t have time to read them all straight away? Then simply use an application such as Readability, Delicious, Pocket, Instapaper or Flip It to save the articles for easy reference later on.

Does Spelling Count?

What is the purpose of learning spelling? Grammar? Math? Why do we break these subjects down? Why do these subjects seem so parsed from our students’ lives that they need to know if something “counts?”….read more

10 Ways to Teach Innovation

One overriding challenge is now coming to the fore in public consciousness: We need to reinvent just about everything. Whether scientific advances, technology breakthroughs, new political and economic structures, environmental solutions, or an updated code of ethics for 21st century life, everything is in flux—and everything demands innovative, out of the box thinking….read more

Beyond Worksheets, A True Expression of Student Learning

We live in a world where we are constantly connected to information. This vast ocean of information, the best knowledge of mankind — almost all of it — can be accessed at any time in just seconds. But simply being able to access information is not all that impressive. It in no way means that we can understand the information, evaluate it, or grasp its implications….read more

No Courses, No Classrooms, No Grades — Just Learning

It took just a few weeks for a group of Boston-based teenagers to develop an affordable prosthetic hand for children. These teens took a brief hiatus from school to enroll in NuVu Studio, a project-based learning program in Cambridge, Mass. that pairs students with real-world projects….read more

4 Steps to Better Writers

Clarity. It is what we long for when we travel through a student’s essay. Yet our struggling writers make us wander through a cluttered maze of thoughts, leading to dead ends….read more

Teaching Students to Embrace Mistakes

For the last ten years, we’ve worked one-on-one with students from elementary school through graduate school. No matter their age, no matter the material, when you ask what they’re struggling with, students almost universally name a subject: math, English or, in some instances, school….read more

10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout

“Why did I want to be a teacher?” We all face burnout, sometimes on a daily basis, and in my case, especially after fourth period. Most of the time, we can pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and go back to the drawing board to try another strategy to find success with student learning. I have to admit that it is getting more and more difficult to make that transition….read more

Resources and Downloads for Collaborative Learning

Educators from The College Preparatory School in Oakland, California, have provided these resources and tools for collaborative learning….read more

Struggle Means Learning: Difference in Eastern and Western Cultures

In Japanese classrooms, teachers consciously design tasks that are slightly beyond the capabilities of the students they teach, so the students can actually experience struggling with something just outside their reach….read more

A Simple Notebook System for Classroom Management

When I taught middle school, I tried lots of different methods for classroom management, but I found that basic notebooks were ultimately the thing that saved me, in two ways….read more

Low-Income Schools See Big Benefits in Teaching Mindfulness

“We tell kids be quiet, calm yourself down, be still. We tell them all these things they need in the classroom, but we’re not teaching them how to do that.” Schools across the country are beginning to use mindfulness as part of an effort to address the social and emotional needs of children, improving student achievement in the process….read more

Extracurriculars Are Central to Learning

Subjects such as art, music and foreign languages have long-lasting benefits….read more

12 Things You Should Never, Ever Say to Teachers

Here are 12 things you should never say to teachers. Not to your neighbor who is a teacher, not to your brother. Just don’t….read more

Young and Beautiful

A carefully constructed work that reflects the style and pace of previous films from director Francois Ozon, Young and Beautiful tracks a 12-month period in the life of 17-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth) as she explores her sexuality by taking up the world’s oldest profession, unbeknownst to her parents or friends. Typically in films exploring young women turning to prostitution, such actions are driven by financial necessity or social circumstances. However, what is most interesting about this particular story is that neither Ozon, nor Isabelle herself, offer any reason for her decision. Safely entrenched in a French middle class family that comprises mother Sylvie (Geraldine Pailhas), step-father Patrick (Frederic Pierrot) and younger brother Victor (Fantin Ravat), Isabelle does not want for much and shows little interest in the money she earns. What results is a psychological study of sorts as we try to unravel the motivations of a young woman who gives very little away.

Young and Beautiful poster

The story is told over the course of four seasons, kicking off in summer with Isabelle and her family enjoying a beachside vacation. When we first meet Isabelle, she is sunbathing topless on the sand, unaware that Victor is watching her through binoculars from above the beach. Whilst their relationship seems strained at first, we quickly learn that the bond between the two siblings is actually quite strong. When Isabelle loses her virginity on the eve of her 17th birthday, the experience leaves her somewhat underwhelmed and seems to serve as the catalyst for her explorations into the world of prostitution. Somewhat disconnected from her well-meaning but misguided mother and displaying a disenchantment with people in general and sex in particular – there is no obvious motivation behind her actions – Isabelle is able to go about her business with impunity until an unfortunate incident brings the police to her door.

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Ozon, who also wrote the screenplay, seems to be making a statement about the hypocrisies surrounding morality and sex. At one point, Sylvie is encouraging her daughter to go out and meet men, even leaving condoms for her, but is then outraged when she finds out that Isabelle has been doing exactly that, only charging for the pleasure of her company. Why is it okay for her to seek sex with men for pleasure but not for profit? Furthermore, Isabelle is protected from prosecution because, at 17, she is considered a victim in the various interactions with her customers. The fact that somebody can go from being a victim to a criminal simply because they have turned 18 seems ludicrous and it is a point well-made given the fact that Isabelle is not beholden to anybody; she works alone and has not been coerced into anything. Furthermore, Sylvie’s efforts at occupying the moral high ground are undermined by the fact that she seems to be having an affair with family friend.

Of course, the film also has plenty to say about men and the various sexual and emotional insecurities they possess that enable Isabelle’s business to flourish. Isabelle’s beauty mesmerises all around her and results in a few awkward moments – such as Victor watching her masturbate and Patrick lingering just a moment too long when he accidentally stumbles upon her in the shower. However, whilst there is nudity and numerous sex scenes, Ozon never fixates on the flesh; a contrast to the approach in other recent releases such as Nymphomaniac or Blue is the Warmest Colour. In many ways though, Isabelle is a typical teenager; she attends high school and treats her parents the way any teen might. That is, she sees them as the enemy and is reluctant to engage with them unless absolutely necessary. However, she never blames her parents for the choices she makes and admits to the therapist she is forced to see that her mother provides her with everything she wants.

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The tone and pace of Young and Beautiful is akin to Ozon’s earlier works such as Swimming Pool and In the House, rather than his more outlandish Potiche. It is sedate but never dull and his refusal to indulge in backstory or justifications for Isabelle’s actions is evidence of his faith in an audience to make up their own mind. With a hauntingly effective performance from newcomer Vacth, an ambiguity that maintains intrigue and a fabulous final scene featuring Charlotte Rampling, this is a coming-of-age story that is refreshingly devoid of simplicity and predictability in its exploration of identity and sexuality.

Muppets Most Wanted

I think you either love The Muppets or you don’t and, as such, your response to their most recent cinematic outing is probably going to be influenced by your appreciation, or otherwise, of the various characters that populate this world. As an unabashed Muppets fan, I was ecstatic when The Muppets hit cinemas in 2011, proved a critical and box office success and spawned the inevitable sequel, Muppets Most Wanted. This eighth big screen incarnation of The Muppets is nothing more, or less, than you would expect from this merry troupe of furry friends, with the countless number of blink-and-you-miss-them cameos from celebrities and Hollywood A-listers a clear indication of the cultural cache that The Muppets still possess more than 35 years since they first hit television screens.

Muppets Most Wanted Poster

As always, the storyline is simply about creating a scenario that allows the various Muppet characters to engage in all manner of hijinks and visual gags that, for me at least, never fail to amuse. In this instance, the aptly named Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) takes over as manager of our ragtag troupe amid promises of worldwide stardom. Of course, Badguy is merely using The Muppets for nefarious means, teaming up with criminal mastermind Constantine – a spitting image of Kermit the Frog – who has escaped from a German gulag with plans to steal England’s crown jewels. Along with Gervais, others who feature prominently include Tina Fey as clueless prison warden Nadya and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell as bumbling French detective Jean Pierre Napoleon. There are few surprises in how it all pans out but there is much fun to be had in the sheer cluelessness of the collective with regard to Constantine’s infiltration of their ranks, and it is subsequently the most unlikely member of the group who emerges as a hero of sorts, the only one who is alert to the fact that something is amiss.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED

Whilst on the surface The Muppets seem very much aimed at young audiences, it has been their ability to transcend generations that have enabled them to remain relevant. Whilst Muppets Most Wanted contains a copious amount of colour, movement and musical numbers to keep kids happy, there is plenty more going on that is clearly aimed at a much older demographic. From the opening song in which Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Animal and the gang celebrate the opportunity to make a sequel, the film takes aim at many industry practices and there are pop culture references galore. The film parodies movies such as The Shawshank Redemption, Mission Impossible, Silence of the Lambs and even Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, references clearly aimed at adults. Furthermore, whilst the hijinks inside the prison are funny enough regardless, the humour that results from the appearance of Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo in a series of song and dance routines would be lost on anybody unfamiliar with their more typical on-screen personas.

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While Gervais does a serviceable job as the smarmy Dominic and Fey is great as Nadya, it is of course the puppets and their masters who are the stars of the show. All the regulars are on hand, including the wise cracking Statler and Waldorf, while Sam the Eagle takes on a prominent role as an FBI agent teamed with Burrell’s Napoleon, poking fun at the French work ethic along the way. This particular relationship mocks the endless array of cop movies featuring mismatched partners that emanate from Hollywood, and is much more amusing than most of the films it is lampooning. Writer/director James Bobin, who helmed the 2011 Muppet reboot after a lengthy run in television comedy that included Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords, does a good job in maintaining the right balance between the human characters and the puppets to create a film that, whilst maybe not quite as good as its predecessor, is pretty darn good all the same. It seems that Jim Henson’s legacy will live on for some time to come with The Muppets seemingly as popular and profitable ever.

The Most Important Day of the Year?

There is less than a week until THE day of the year! Given Australia’s penchant for public holidays for any reason imaginable (including the “birthday” of some multi-millionairess from England), it baffles me that we are yet to be granted the same privilege for a celebration that truly matters. Yes, of course I am talking about Star Wars Day – May 4th. Now, this is something worth celebrating. An opportunity to recognise and reflect upon the greatest movie franchise ever created. Of course, we should never, ever lose sight of the significance of Star Wars as a cultural beacon, but May 4th allows us to come together as a nation to celebrate together and share our Star Wars experiences.

Star wars Day 2

Not only should it be a public holiday, the Government should be providing free access to screenings of all six Star Wars films in cinemas across the country. Anything less shows utter contempt for the people of Australia.

May the Fourth be with you.

Star Wars Day

Chinese Puzzle

As an avowed fan of both The Spanish Apartment (2002) and Russian Dolls (2005), it was with much anticipation that I awaited the arrival of the third film in the series – Chinese Puzzle – into Australian cinemas. Of course, such anticipation can often lead to disappointment, but I am pleased to report that this wasn’t the case in this instance, with Chinese Puzzle proving a more than worthy next chapter in the lives of this disparate bunch of characters. Written and directed by Cedric Klapisch, Chinese Puzzle is a truly cosmopolitan film with a predominantly European and Asian cast inhabiting a story set amid the hustle and bustle of contemporary New York. From the moment the opening credit sequence began – comprising images of the various key characters from all three films over a fabulously funky soundtrack – I had a smile on my face that remained firmly in place for much of the running time.

Chinese Puzzle poster

For those who have seen the previous two films, it is a familiarity with these flawed but utterly likeable characters that make the film so enjoyable. The narrative centres on Xavier (Romain Duris) who, at the beginning of the film, is living in France with girlfriend Wendy (Kelly Reilly) and their two kids. However, when Wendy announces that she and the kids are uprooting for a life in New York with new beau John (Peter Hermann), the story kicks into gear. Desperate to remain a part of his children’s lives, Xavier follows in hot pursuit and temporarily moves in with lesbian pal Isabelle (Cecile De France), who has also recently relocated to the Big Apple and shares an apartment with her girlfriend Ju (Sandrine Holt). Xavier finds himself in the midst of all manner of predicaments. He needs to find a job and somewhere to live and is under increasing pressure from his Paris-based editor to finish his new novel. Complicating matters further is the fact that Isabelle is pregnant thanks to a sperm donation from Xavier.

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In an effort to secure American citizenship, Xavier enters into a marriage with Nancy (Li Jun Li), the niece of a man to whom he lends assistance during a road rage attack. All the while, Xavier is complicit in an affair between Isabelle and a babysitter (also named Isabelle) and, when old flame Martine (a beguiling Audrey Tautou) arrives in town with her two children in tow, it seems as though everything might come crumbling down for our hapless protagonist. There are wonderfully comedic moments galore, along with splashes of sentiment and introspection as Xavier takes stock of his own life and desperately tries to prevent everything from falling apart. Duris is terrific in the lead role, presenting Xavier as desperate yet charming with a genuine affection for the various people in his life. The film has plenty to say about love, friendship and the passing of time. All the main characters have, for the most part, matured both physically and emotionally and the friendships have endured across time and space.

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At times, the film seems like a paean to the city of New York as much as anything, with Klapisch showing us parts of the city that are rarely seen in the myriad action films and romantic comedies that emanate from here. Not only do we see this other side of New York, but Klapisch seems to want us to truly appreciate the sights, sounds, energy and idiosyncrasies of the place, all of which add to the charm of the film. Whilst all the lead performances are fine, as you would expect given their familiarity with their characters, those in supporting roles also shine. In particular, both Holt and Li are fabulously understated but effective in their portrayals, while Jason Kravits is funny as Xavier’s two-bit lawyer. It is also great to see child characters that are a far cry from the whining, petulant monsters that we typically see in Hollywood productions. Throw in some magic realism by way of fantasy sequences that summon famous European philosophers to impart words of wisdom upon Xavier and you have a thoroughly delightful cinematic experience.

More than anything, it is the various implications and complications of the relationships that make Chinese Puzzle such a treat. Whilst the ending does seemingly wrap things up somewhat neatly, it also leaves open the possibility of more to come from this group and I would certainly welcome an opportunity to spend more time in their company.

Education Update #5

Welcome to the latest edition of Education Update, a new batch of news articles, features and teaching ideas for educators gathered from across the internet. This week includes some classroom activities and ideas to assist with teaching maths, writing and academic language. There are also articles addressing issues such as connecting with students, believing in students and the social and emotional learning needs of teachers.

Education News 3

8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields…read more

Speed Learning: A Classroom Activity

When I explain speed learning to the students, it is inevitable that one of them will say… is this like the learning version of speed dating, and the answer is, Yes….read more

Writing Superhero Conclusions with the Phantom Endings Exercise

Students are taught that a closing paragraph should accomplish three things:

1.Restate an essay’s thesis
2.Summarize main points
3.Provide a finished feel

In response to this information, young writers often exhibit confusion….read more

Tips For Connecting With Your Students

A teacher’s day can be crazy. We’re helping kids, answering questions, trying not to lose all twenty-three, no, twenty-four of students, dealing with crisis, and make sure learning is taking place simultaneously….read more

Believing in Students: The Power to Make a Difference

Believing in students is not simply telling them that you believe in them. These words matter only if they are true and if you demonstrate them by your actions. There is no way to fake it, because kids have built in crap detectors….read more

17 Terribly Rotten Things Teachers Do to Ruin Students’ Lives

Recently, we read about all the terrible things parents do to make their kids’ lives miserable. Like making them take showers, wiping their noses, and wear clothes even when they don’t feel like it. Unforgiveable, really. And that made us wonder, could teachers be worse? We had to find out….read more

Poetry: Time Tested, Proven and Brain-Based

The term “brain-based” is often thrown around by educators in all different contexts. It’s made of vague, literal terms and seems logical when applied to almost everything. So what is it, and does poetry fit the bill….read more

9 Strategies for Motivating Students in Mathematics

Effective teachers should focus attention on the less interested students as well as the motivated ones. Presented in this blog post are nine techniques, based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which can be used to motivate secondary school students in mathematics….read more

A Secret to Great Teaching: Maintain a Beginner’s Mindset

Twenty-eight boundless students have just left my classroom. Some of their energy still hangs in the ceiling tiles after 48 minutes of planning, plotting, and scheming to carry out their idea to put on a Literary Character Dinner Party featuring figures we’ve read throughout the year. With my head spinning and my hand frantically capturing a list of all the details to work out in the next couple of weeks, I sent a message to a colleague….read more

It’s Time for Social and Emotional Learning for All

Over the last decade, increased attention has been paid to the social and emotional learning (SEL) needs of children. This area of learning is necessary and essential to address — for children and adults. It’s time that schools take responsibility for meeting the entire range of learning needs that educators have….read more

The Importance of The Arts in Education

Teachers and students have long known the benefits of arts education, whether it be formal teaching and learning in specific subjects such as Art, Music, Drama, Dance or Media, or whether incorporating arts into more traditional ‘academic’ subject areas such as Maths and Science. The problem is, of course, that school administrators and the education bureaucracies to whom they are beholden do not always understand or appreciate the enormous value of arts education for young people. Far too often, arts subjects are seen as the ‘fun’ options suitable for those students who “can’t handle the hard subjects”. I remember a recent experience of a student transferred into my Film, Television and New Media class. Upon enquiring to the Deputy Principal who facilitated the subject change, I was advised that the student had been doing Chemistry but was struggling and wanted to do something ‘easier’. Needless to say, this student struggled with the workload and academic rigour of FTV&NM and subsequently transferred again, no doubt still seeking that elusive ‘easy’ subject. I was far from happy with such an assumption about the subject, but I wasn’t surprised. I had experienced such attitudes in other schools with regard to this subject and other arts subjects. This was the same Deputy Principal who had also decided, without any consultation with teachers, that Film, Television and New Media should be part of the English faculty, rather than the Arts faculty, which provides some indication of their complete lack of understanding about this subject specifically and The Arts more broadly.

Arts Really Teach

It’s not that I wanted this student to fail. It’s just that school administrators don’t fully understand the fact that The Arts are not an easy option. I would have preferred that he stay in the class and reap the benefits that only arts education can offer. Art cannot simply be dismissed as “painting pictures” or “making movies”. The Arts enable young people to develop new ways of thinking and communicating, encourage creativity and imagination and the opportunity for personal expression in ways that other areas of study do not. The Arts encourage young people to be creative and provide access to the tools to do so. The Arts can be hard work, but ultimately they provide young people with the skills that will enable them to participate effectively and successfully in a rapidly changing world.

Research undertaken by the University of Sydney examined the academic and personal wellbeing outcomes of students from 15 Australian schools over two years. The research found that “students who engaged with the arts in schools as active participants – as makers and doers of the arts – were more likely to do better in academic and social spheres than those who passively consumed the arts.” Furthermore, research undertaken by The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) concluded that “involvement in arts programmes has a positive impact on students’ engagement” and that “there are strong demonstrated relationships between arts in education and students’ broad academic (including literacy and numeracy) and social achievements.” Nobody who teaches The Arts would be surprised by such findings, however we still too often find that it is Arts subjects the first to be jettisoned when the “demands of a crowded curriculum bear down on time and resources.” Clearly, reducing access to arts education in our schools is compromising student outcomes and reducing their opportunities to achieve in other areas of their lives.

Think Again

The special report Why Arts Education Must Be Saved provides a range of perspectives and insights through a series of accompanying articles about the importance of arts education. Whilst arts teachers already know of the enormous benefits that arts education offers our students, it is vital that this understanding is shared by those who ultimately determine what subjects are offered, how they are offered and to whom they are offered. School Principals and Deputy-Principals must understand the value of arts education if we are going to see these subjects afforded the respect and privilege assigned to other fields of study. Not only do schools need to be offering a wide range of arts subjects, they also need to make sure that students are to able to develop a program of study that incorporates multiple arts disciplines, should they so desire. I have experiences in one school that offered Art, Drama, Music and Film Television and New Media but had timetabling structured in such a way that all four subjects were on the same ‘line’ which therefore meant that no student could study more than one of these. What about the student/s who might want to study more than one of these subjects (or even all four)? I have seen similar timetabling clashes in other schools and it is infuriating because, whilst it is a common scenario with the scheduling/timetabling of arts subjects, I have never ever seen students forced to make such compromises in other subject areas. Heck, Kate Miller-Heidke was forced to change schools just so that she could study both Music and Drama and it doesn’t seem as though much has changed since then. Of course, choosing multiple Maths or Science subjects is perfectly okay, but heaven forbid that any student might want to select a course of study focussed primarily on Arts subjects.

“If there are less than 12 students who enrol in the subject it won’t be offered.” This was the message I was given one year when student numbers for one of my FTV&NM classes was below this figure in the early days of the period allocated for students to make their subject selections for the following year. This was the justification as to why Drama was not currently being offered and it could be argued that such a policy is reasonable given the demands on school funding. In the end though, the final student numbers were more than sufficient and my classes went ahead as planned. However, I was extremely annoyed to discover that both Chemistry, Maths C and Ancient History were also proceeding even though each class had less than 10 students (one class had as few as 6). I was not amused and when I raised my dissatisfaction with the power-that-be, I was advised that “these subjects are important and it wouldn’t be fair on the students if we didn’t offer them.” Such a statement makes it clear that subjects such as Drama and FTV&NM and the students who want to study them are not important and can therefore be sacrificed. Nobody will ever convince me that the likes of Chemistry or History or any other subject for that matter are any more, or less, important than any Arts subject.

To suggest that The Arts are in anyway inferior or somehow less important to other subjects is nonsense. To suggest that The Arts are easier than other subjects is nonsense. To suggest that The Arts are only for fun is also nonsense. Sure, The Arts can be fun (as can every other subject), but the demands and challenges of any arts subject are no less than any other area of study. A 2009 study of New York High Schools by the Center for Arts Education compared arts resources in schools grouped by graduation rate and found that “schools in the bottom third in graduation rates (less than 50% graduation rate) offered the least access to arts education, fewer arts teachers per student, fewer dedicated arts spaces, fewer arts and culture partnerships and so forth.” In their study Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools – a report that draws upon information provided by submissions from a variety of sources, reviews of existing studies and data in the field and insights gathered from site visits – The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities declared that “education in the arts is more important than ever. In the global economy, creativity is essential. Today’s workers need more than just skills and knowledge to be productive and innovative participants in the workforce…To succeed today and in the future, children will need to be inventive, resourceful, and imaginative. The best way to foster that creativity is through arts education.” This report concluded that “All of the research points to the success of schools that are arts-rich – in which students who may have fallen by the wayside find themselves re-engaged in learning when their enthusiasm for film, design, theater or even hip-hop is tapped into by their teachers. More advanced students also reap rewards in this environment, demonstrating accelerated learning and sustained levels of motivation.” In an article titled What is Brain-Based Learning? Brain-Based Education is the purposeful engagement of strategies that apply to how our brain works in the context of education, Eric Jensen cites studies from five universities examining the impact of arts on the brain, the results of which show that “certain arts boost attention, working memory, and visual spatial skills. Other arts such as dance, theater and drama boost social skills, empathy, timing, patience, verbal memory and other transferable life skills.” Subsequently, Jensen declares that not only should arts be mandatory, students should be given a choice of several with support from expert teachers and the necessary time to excel. “Arts support the development of the brain’s academic operating systems in ways that provide many transferable life skills.”

Motivating Arts

We need all schools to take The Arts seriously and hopefully the development and implementation of the National Curriculum will go some way to achieving this, although this won’t necessarily be the case in senior secondary studies which is where The Arts is often seen as being somehow less important or worthwhile, as ludicrous as that sounds to those of who know better. Only when all schools are demonstrating a commitment to arts education that is genuine and equal to their level of commitment to all other areas of study can we be assured that students are being afforded an opportunity to secure an education that provides them with the opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to find success and fulfilment in their life beyond school. In fact, any school that is not affording all their students the opportunity to study a comprehensive program of arts study is fundamentally failing in their responsibilities to prepare young people for a world in which creativity, imagination, resourcefulness and innovation are considered THE critical skills for success in the world beyond school.