International Journal of Art & Design Education

Autonomy to Accountability: Changing Hegemonies in Australian Arts Education

Volume 17.3   1998



This paper examines the changing role of Australian art teachers in the period 1966 to 1997. During 1966 to 1978 art teachers were autonomous professionals responsible for their own curriculum planning and classroom methodology. The second period 1978-1989 saw the writing of many state and national level documents which attempted to articulate clear goals and directions for art education with variable impact. In the third period, 1989 to the present day, art teachers seem to see themselves as being totally accountable to ‘the system’, i.e., externally imposed learning outcomes for students, and more systematic assessment procedures and employment conditions for teachers. The author adopts Michael Fullan’s view that the (art) teacher of the future must become a change agent with four particular skills: personal vision-building skills; a critical sense of inquiry; mastery of skills; and the ability to engage in collaboration.