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Arts Education
Development Guide

Step 6: Identify Key Learning Goals

Identifying learning goals and learning activities can be a confusing endeavor. While most believe it's best to determine your activities first, this is not usually the best approach. A more effective approach is to determine what students need to learn, then to build activities around those goals. In considering learning goals first you are better able to design learning activities that are more effective for driving what you want students to acquire.

Questions to consider when identifying your learning goals and activities:

  1. What specific knowledge, ideas, concepts, facts, vocabulary etc. do my students need to know?
    (This will be connected to the art form(s) associated with your project. Learning goals can actually help you determine what art forms to use.)

  2. What specific hands-on skills and techniques do my students need to acquire, nurture, or refine to make or perform the art at a level of proficiency in line with their level of development?

  3. What activities will best deliver the learning students need?
    (Be sure to consider the physical environment where the project will take place and the abilities and limitations of your students.)

  4. How can I extend the learning beyond the typical experience and make the most of my resources?
    (Consider making your project more than an art-making or performing experience. Be creative about providing students with opportunities for "real life experiences," presenting to live audiences, or serving and engaging the community.)