The Advantages and Disadvantages for Boys with the Postmodernist Shift in the Art Syllabus

By Carmen Stewart.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: September 30 $US5.00

Redressing the Visual Arts Curriculum has implications for student learning and for boys; change has not necessarily been commensurate with better participation or outcomes. The postmodernist shift has resulted in the redress of artistic practice, with contemporary art now being eclectic, accepting of range of styles, themes and conventions. The influence of modernism and postmodernism can be tracked throughout the history of art education, but contemporary art by its very nature, challenges educators by redefining the possibilities for student learning. As we enter another phase of change in response to the proposed implementation of the Australian Curriculum, educators need evaluate the advantages and disadvantages that future change will bring for the art education of boys. My research (Stewart 2011) into the changes in the Western Australian Year 12 Visual Arts syllabus (Curriculum Council 2008) has shown evidence of plurality in art making and critical theory in art interpretation. A relationship exists, between contemporary art practice and art education, which has implications for syllabus writing, teacher training, professional learning and classroom teaching in the Visual Arts. Visual literacy and an understanding of visual culture are gaining momentum in our classrooms. The low participation of boys and relative lower achievement of boys to girls in the state examinations would indicate that syllabus change has not resulted in improved educational outcomes for boys. My discussion extends my previous research by looking at what is working for boys in a course without specific content and what is potentially disadvantaging them. Is plurality in the Visual Arts syllabus equitable or is the way in which we assess students not considering the nature of boys’ learning?

Keywords: Postmodernist, Art, Syllabus, Boys, Disadvantages, Advantages

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp.33-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: September 30 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 624.664KB)).

Carmen Stewart

Visual Arts Teacher, Catholic Education, Lumen Christi College, Perth, Western Australia, Australia