An Artist's Journey in Providing Engaging Tasks that Assist with the Curriculum

June 24, 2021
Scott Galbraith
Fiona Hunt


School: Boyare Primary School

Year Group: 1/2 

Teacher: Fiona Hunt 

Creative Practitioner: Scott Galbraith

Creative Practice: Dance

The schooling curriculum may seem boring or not engaging to everyone. So, how can an artist help bring a new perspective to the school curriculum?

It is important to keep the students engaged and focused during a task to help optimise their learning. As a Creative Practitioner, this is probably the most difficult task as it involves a lot of discipline. So, trying to engage year 1 and 2 students with a repetitive task was definitely challenging for me. Repetitive tasks improve discipline and show restraint from the individual. By shining new light on areas of the same task, it can make the task seem new and exciting, yet we are still working towards the same goal. When partnering with the year 1/2 teacher Fiona, we found that this was an important role for what needed to be accomplished in terms of keeping the interest of the students. 

The partnership needed to deliver 8, one and a half hour sessions in term 4 to the year 1 and 2 students. The sessions needed to consist of the Five Creative Habits of Learning (disciplined, imaginative, persistent, collaborative and inquisitive) and a curriculum focus which for us, was English. The process was so enjoyable and Fiona and I got along and worked together like a well-oiled machine. I believe this was the key to our success when delivering our Creative Schools sessions.

Our task was to allow the students to create a story about their favourite toy and deliver it through technology, which was done through an app called Puppet Pals. This app proved to be extremely useful as most of the students were so technically savvy, they just whizzed through leaving me in the dust when operating such equipment. Even with the students being very proficient in the program, we still had some difficulties in recording the process and most of them had other noises in the background of their stories. Without too much direction they shortly started taking control and asked if they could go somewhere quieter to record their stories so that their plays could be well heard (something that was discussed as being an important part for this task).

The whole story process was led by the students. They created and drew the characters, they designed and painted the background/setting, and they wrote the script. The script was the key component in this process as we were assessing their English. However, the students didn’t realise that this was the assessment and they thought it was fun to write their own stories and play, act, draw and take control of the outcome of their imaginations.

I really enjoyed my time as a Creative Practitioner during this process as I found that the students, teachers, principal and some parents and carers noticed some small difference in the children’s behaviour, attention span and outlook towards schooling. After all, I think it is important to be investigators, collaborators and thinkers in learning, not just being able to recite lines that are forgotten the next week.