Visual Models to Clarify Learning Theories

The Department for Education (DfE) and the education departments in UK-regional governments define the curriculum by publishing subject specifications, and setting out the curriculum expectations either as aims, learning objectives or programmes of study.

Art educators are then expected to interpret these requirements and any additionally published guidance to inform their curriculum and planning for learning before drafting a scheme of work, projects and lessons. 

Curriculum Models and Conceptual Models will assist art educators in their interpretation of curricular requirements. Additionally, research and subject guidance will help teachers conceptualise how learning might be best structured, or map the curriculum in the best possible way.  

Conceptual Structures describe a dynamic and reflexive process rather than describe a list of curriculum content, making them particularly effective in summing up complex relationships between areas of knowledge, skills and process learning. 

Art, craft and design in particular benefit from these because the subject has no agreed UK-wide model of progression or specified content in the national and regional curricula.

In response to broadly defined expectations of skills and knowledge, art educators are expected to define their own content and progression, along with suggested media, techniques and processes that might or should be taught or learned. 

In addition to Conceptual Models that support curriculum understanding, we also reference Models for Teaching and Learning.

These include knowledge domains, learning theory and behaviour models. Some of these are generic across subjects and others are subject-specific.

Despite national curricula in art in design not specifying the exact range and depth of content, concepts and practices, models of teaching are helpful because of the freedom we have to define our own curriculum and the values that we emphasise.

Some of these models explore cognition, behaviour, learning habits and creativity and are designed to offer insight or model useful approaches to structuring learning. 

These models are offered in good faith to assist teachers and subject leaders in conceptual understanding and visualising of their curriculum.

They are not prescribed, required or definitive.

Art educators may consider these and others as they explore further links or background research and guidance to help their understanding, planning, teaching and leadership. 

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