This section provides some background and theory on how the arts can be particularly effective in developing literacy and numeracy skills. If you need to make the case to colleagues or funders for using the arts to help meet LNF requirements, this could be helpful.
The arts have a unique way of using language to describe, reflect on and analyse the world. When pupils write or talk about their own performances or the work of others, they develop an understanding of audience and purpose.
Here are some of the ways that learners can develop their literacy skills by learning in the arts:
In its broadest sense, literacy is evident in the way pupils use language to talk, read and write about their own work, as well as other artists’ work. It is also evident when students use and understand symbols, images, movement, sound and artistic conventions.
Literacy can be developed both in and through the arts by:
1. focused reading and writing activities that address specific skills identified in LNF outcomes e.g. grammar, spelling, comprehension
2. the use of appropriate text scaffolding, such as narrative, response, review and procedures to develop skills in oracy, reading and writing
3. arts content and pedagogy that enhances literacy learning, including the integrated practices of making and appreciating, experiential learning, strategies such as side coaching (when peers provide comment on performance ‘from the side’), hot seating, and specific texts such as artist statements.
As students develop skills, knowledge and understanding in making, performing, organising sound and images, listening, composing and appreciation in the arts, they are required to apply numeracy skills and understanding, in the widest sense.
Students learn to:
The arts draw on mathematical ideas in a number of ways:
Numeracy in its broadest sense can be developed both in and through the arts by:
1. focused numeracy activities that address specific skills identified by LNF outcomes e.g. identifying number patterns, calculating volume or size
2. the use of numeracy strategies, such as counting, identifying rhythmic patterns, graphing, mapping, perspective and scale to develop numeracy skills
3. focusing on arts content and pedagogy that enhances numeracy learning, e.g. constructing three-dimensional artworks, notating rhythm patterns and form in music, composition in music, dance and visual arts.
Adapted and inspired by the State Literacy and Numeracy Plan of New South Wales.