Professional learning: unlocking your project's full potential

There’s a big difference between understanding something in theory and understanding it in practice. There are two main models of learning for teachers and creatives discussed in the film resources and planning tools below: the formal dedicated session, and the informal learning that occurs during the project. Both are equally valuable and should be considered early on in a creative school residency project.

Teacher Learning - Enriching Practice

In this film resource, teachers and creatives who have undertaken a creative partnership project talk about effective teacher learning and that feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable can be a good thing!

Dystopian Dreams – a teacher learning case study

In this film resource the teachers from Hume Anglican Grammar speak about what they got out of the residency professionally and David Kelman from Western Edge Youth Arts, talks about his role in supporting that learning.

The teachers engaged in two full professional learning days in the project. Not only was it an excellent way for the artists and teachers to meet but it paved the way for discussions on shaping the program to suit the students.
- Beverley, teacher.

Artist learning – enriching practice

In this film resource artists and a school principal who have undertaken a Creative Victoria artist-in-residence project talk about what effective artist learning looks like which includes building respectful relationships through clear communication, understanding the school context and that learning to 'let it go for a bit and see what happens' can be valuable in keeping the students at the centre of a project.

Electric Corpse – Brunswick East Primary School, an artist learning case study

In this film resource audio-visual and animation artist, Georgie Pinn, talks about what she learnt about working with young children during her first school residency.

Exploring artist learning – why have a 'dedicated' learning session for an artist?

In this film resource artists and a principal reflect on what types of formal learning would be beneficial before starting the project.

Planning tool

The project plan

A strong concept should come before a plan. Once you and your partner have a broad concept, the success of your project will depend on planning.

Frequently creative professionals work in flexible, exploratory ways and to a teacher that may look chaotic. Frequently teacher's work in structured ways to address specific learning outcomes. Both approaches have merits and limitations, the important thing is to discuss which approach will be appropriate for which situations and agree on that beforehand.

A plan is just a plan and it can change. If you haven't made and shared a plan with your partner though, they may not understand how they can contribute. Communication about ideas is vital.

A plan usually includes a description of the conceptual journey (how you think your exploration of the concept might evolve over time), a curriculum integration plan, a timeline outlining the number and duration of artist visits and meetings to reflect, make changes and evaluate, as well as a budget.

Planning tool

Student learning - integrating your project into the curriculum

Identifying the natural links to learning in your project will be your key to integrating a project successfully into curriculum.

Look for opportunities in:

  • Your concept - What are you exploring? What kinds of investigation will need to be done? What knowledge will contribute to the conceptual journey? Look for links to The Arts, English, Science, The Humanities and Mathematics
  • Your process - What kinds of thinking, creativity, collaborative practice and research will students be undertaking as they work on the project? Are they using new skills, learning new ways of working or being challenged to think in new ways? Look for links to capabilities in Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social, Intercultural and Ethical
  • Your creative outcome - Are students makers and co-creators of the artistic work? Look for links in Design and Digital Technologies, Critical and Creative Thinking as well as in English and The Arts learning areas.

Curriculum design

Every project's curriculum plan will be different. Depending on the number of students, their year level and the topic for exploration it may be more appropriate to:

  • Work with a small group of students within one or two learning areas such as The Arts or English
  • Use an 'expression of interest' process to select and target students from different year levels and create individual student learning plans
  • Use your project as the focus for a whole school integrated inquiry unit
  • Target lower secondary students, have them form teams and embed your project in small Project Based Learning tasks
  • Base your project in Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Learning or Health and Physical Education and have students work in groups to support your school's student wellbeing program
  • Focus on the big ideas in your artistic concept and embed your project to enrich a History, Geography or Science unit

Planning tools

Financing your project

Unless you have a sponsor with bottomless pockets, you will need to make a budget. It is important that you develop your budget together with your partner.

Budgets do not have to be complicated. They show all the project expenses as well as where the money is coming from. This is usually represented in an expenditure column and an income column.

Expenditure items may include venues, buses, staff and artist wages, casual relief teaching costs, purchase or hire of equipment, documentation costs, materials or the purchase of props.

Also include donations of goods, volunteer hours and the free use of facilities in your expenditure column and label them as 'in kind'. Approximate how much these might have cost if you had to pay for them and put their nominal dollar value in your tally along with cash expenses.

Income may include contributions from either partner, a grant, fundraising or earned income from DVD sales or ticket sales. It will also include any 'in-kind' contributions that you have identified in expenditure.

Once you have a total for each column, you can see if you have enough funds and resources to meet the demands of your project plan. If not, you may need to scale back your project or seek additional funds.

Finding a funding source for your project can be a task shared between creative professional or organisation and school.

Creative Victoria offers grants which may meet your project needs. More information is in our funding opportunities section.

Many philanthropic organisations, local governments and service clubs (eg. Lions, Rotary) also provide grants to schools, creative organisations or individuals.

Planning tool