Program Planning 1.


This file was prepared by Max Darby in 2010


This file is the first in a series of three that address various aspects of program planning. It summarises the three essential stages that need to be considered.

Planning an effective Art Program should be less daunting that it first seems.


Sadly, for some art teachers, Program Planning seems to just involve finding classroom activities for students.


An effective Art Program is much more than that. The ‘Program’ part requires those classroom activities to be related, sequential and justifiable. If they are not, what is prepared is often simply a list of unrelated activities, and not a program at all. While there are other contingencies to take on board (such as available facilities and resources) these three stages should provide sufficient information for teachers to design their programs.


The following approach allows you to generate and develop an endless number of activities while also allowing you to organize them into a cohesive and successful program. Schools today increasingly demand such action to be taken by all of their teachers.


There are 3 sequential stages for teachers to address.


These are:

Stage one: Determine WHY students should be doing the Art

This is a philosophical issue that relates to why the subject (Art in this case) exists in the school’s curriculum and the nature of the essential experiences in which students need to be engaged. Why Art exists in the school curriculum is directly related to General Education expectations and to Art Education expectations.

For example: One of the Why’s could be to develop an appreciation and understanding of artworks made in different cultures.


Stage two: Determine HOW students should engage in Art experiences.

This is a process issue that relates to how students should engage in activities and the various ‘process’ skills and experiences that need to be developed in students. How Art should be taught is directly related to General Education and Art Education learning styles, attitudes and processes.

For example: One of the How’s could be to engage students in their own personal analysis and interpretation of artworks from a variety of cultures.


Stage three: Determine WHAT particular activities allow all of the above to be achieved.

This is a practical issue that relates to the actual content that will be introduced to students. While the activities might have additional value they will be specific Art activities rather than general activities.


For example: Students could be taken to an exhibition of artworks made by a local artist to find about the ideas and techniques used, and to enjoy the experience of seeing artworks first hand.


The three examples in the stages above provide information that is far more than an activity. Put together they allow you to see how the different parts work together and how they are sequentially related as in the following –

Whydevelop an appreciation and understanding of artworks made in different cultures.

Howengage students in their own personal analysis and interpretation of artworks from a variety of cultures, and

Whatvisit an exhibition of artworks made by a local artist who works in the community to find about the ideas and technique used.


Why Art is taught should determine How Art should be taught and both of these should together determine What should be taught.


Imagine your whole program being laid out so logically and clearly for everyone to see. It avoids an obvious weakness in some existing programs where individual activities are included but there is no relationship between them and the expectations of art education or general education philosophy. Further examples will be presented in the other Program Planning files on this website –

Program Planning 2 will address the first two of these stages (Why? and How?). Examples of each will be provided. Of course, there is also the capacity to include your own ideas and opinions.

Program Planning 3 will address approaches to designing and planning of activities (the important consideration of available resources, facilities and teacher expertise will be included in this file). Many examples of activities will be provided but you might like to look at the separate file titled Art and the Environment which is an extensive example of Program Planning with many activities suggested (it’s currently being developed and will be included as it progresses. It might be interesting to see its progressive development).


I welcome any contributions and ideas you have. You might like to outline different approaches you think might be useful. I am also willing to provide advice or suggestions should you contact me (see my contact details in the Home Page Menu).



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2 Responses to “Program Planning 1”

  1. max says:

    Good advice Lisa. I’ll check it out. I need to get back to this file and maybe it can be addressed under Program Planning 1 and Program Planning 2, which accompany this file (see the menu).

    Thanks Max

  2. Lisa Quentin says:

    Thanks, that’s really good and sequential. Maybe ‘When’ is also important to think about after the other 3 stages have been done, but I mean like when in a students school life would be useful I think. How to decide when students are ready for some experiences. Perhaps that could be talked about in the other 3 blogs on this. Or maybe you do. Oops. Thanks again for this blog Lisa Q

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