Project Proposal: ‘Art for English’ and ‘Art in English’: Object-centred learning programs at the Art
Gallery of New South Wales designed for ELICOS and other international students in
higher education, VET and TAFE courses in NSW.
The objective of this project is to bring international students including those studying
higher education, VET (Vocational Educational and Training) and TAFE (Technical
and Further Education) to the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) and in
particular those studying ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas
Students) to participate in object-centred learning programs.
The programs aim to help international students in the following ways:
1. Help them to socialise more with each other and with Australian citizens;
2. Help them to develop their learning skills in general;
3. Help them to develop their English language skills in particular;
4. Help them to develop an appreciation and understanding of art in general;
5. Help them to develop an appreciation and understanding of Australian art and
culture in particular.
The target audience is international students undertaking a variety of courses for
different purposes including:
1. Higher education either under-graduate or post-graduate courses;
2. VET and TAFE courses; and
3. ELICOS courses;
‘Art for English’ program will target ELICOS students;
‘Art in English’ program will target higher education, VET and TAFE students.
In Australia as of July 2014 there were 237, 527 enrolments in Higher Education an
increase of 8.7% from the year before; 118,388 enrolments in VET with an increase
of 9.6%, in ELICOS there were 90,994 with an increase of 23.5% from 2013 and for
non-award courses 30,572 enrolments an increase of 22.6%.(1) The top five
(1) ‘Monthly Summary of International Student Enrolment Data – Australia – YTD July 2014’, Australian Government, Department of Education, http://www.aei.gov.au/research/International-
nationalities, which contributed to over 50% of Australia’s enrolments in all sectors,
include: China, India, Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, and Malaysia. All experienced
growth from 2013. Chinese students make up a 27% share of all nationalities, while
India is the second largest with 10.4%.(2)
There is an issue with statistics as the number of ELICOS students in the Department
of Education’s summary for 2013 is substantially less than English Australia’s ‘Fact
Sheet’ Industry Statistics 2013’, the latter records the number of students at
147,828.(3) The former is 90,994. For ELICOS students the average length of courses
is 12.9 weeks with students staying an average of 16.8 weeks.(4)
Approximately 39% of all English language students will continue into other
educational pathways either higher education or VET or TAFE, while 61% will
pursue further English language studies for tourism or career enhancement. The state
with the largest percentage of these students is NSW 40% followed by QLD with
27%.(5) A survey of ELICOS students showed 48% were studying EAPS (English for
Academic Purposes) and 36% general English and 53% gave their reason to study
English is preparation for further study.(6) Approximately 50% of international
students are between 20-24 years old and about 29% are aged between 25-29 years.(7)
The potential audience participation from ELICOS courses alone in NSW is
approximately 36,397 based on the Department of Education statistics.
Background to Methodology:
The AGNSW’s Education programs from kindergarten to tertiary students are multi-
varied and addresses syllabus requirements. For Primary (Years K-6) they are aimed
across the ‘Key Learning Areas’.(8) For Secondary (Years 7-12) they ‘address the
NSW syllabus for Visual Arts, History, Languages, and the Chemistry of Art’.(9) For
Tertiary (higher education) there are a variety of specialist activities, tours, study (2) Ibid. (3)‘Fact Sheet ELICOS Industry Statistics 2013’, English Australia, May 2014. (4) Ibid. (5) Ibid. (6) ‘Maximising the ELICOS student experience – May 2012’, English Australia, p. 18, p. 24. (7) ‘International Students: Australian Social Trends – December 2011’, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue No. 4102.0, www.abs.gov.au/socialtrends (8) ‘Primary (Years K-6) - Education’, AGNSW, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/k-6/. (9) ‘Secondary (Years 7-12) – Education, AGNSW, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/7-12/.
areas, scholarships and internships.(10) However, compared to the number of
participants from the Primary and Secondary sectors participants from the Tertiary
sector is very small and international students whether ELICOS or higher education
or VET or TAFE are not considered as an educational sector.
The project will have two foci: ELICOS students and other international students (i.e.
higher ed., TAFE and VET) as the learning aims for the former are different from the
latter. The main focus for the former is on English language acquisition, which
includes the four language skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking and a
lesser focus on general learning, understanding of art and socialising. The focus for
the latter will be on the acquisition of general learning skills, and an appreciation and
understanding of art and socialising.
As almost half of ELICOS students are studying EAPS their level of English should
be at least upper-intermediate and above and they will progress to higher education.
Therefore starting with ELICOS students is a good foundation level to develop
interest in art as new participants with the potential for returning participants in the
Identity-related motivation will play an important factor in the design of the object-
centred learning activities, content and subjects so that it appeals to all six types
The needs of ESL students are different from higher education students, as they need
‘cultural instruction’; ‘bridges towards integration’ and ‘hands-on English lessons
suitable for their immediate needs’ and ‘Art for English’ programs can supplement,
develop, and expand on these students needs as stated in the objectives above.(12)
The structure of the program will be in stages following Griffin’s model:
1. Teacher Engagement; (10) ‘Tertiary (higher education) – Education, AGNSW, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/tertiary/. (11) Falk, J. H., Dierking, L. D., Museum Experience Revisited, (Walnut Creek, CA, USA: Left Coast Press, 2012), pp.61-62. (12) Bell, K., ‘How ESL and EFL classrooms differ’, Oxford University Press ELT, 12 July 2011, <http://oupeltglobalblog.com/2011/07/12/how-esl-and-efl-classrooms-differ/> (viewed 2.10.14)
2. Pre-Visit Orientation;
3. Gallery Visit Engagement;
4. Post-Visit debriefing;
The nature of the project:
‘Art for English’ programs will be grounded in object-centred learning and in
particular Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) developed by Housen and Yenawine over
30 years of research and study, which focuses on teaching through art and about
art.(14) See Fig. 1 here for practices to be used, developed by VTS in New York:
Fig. 1. (From Method and Curriculum, VTS, < http://www.vtshome.org/what-is-vts/method-curriculum--2>,
Viewed 19 October 2014.)
Content for the programs will be objects on display selected by curators under
consultation with the Education department from the collections, including:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art;
(13) Griffin, J., School-Museum Integrated Learning Experiences In Science: A Learning Journey, UTS, 1998. (14) Housen, A., ‘Aesthetic Thought, Critical Thinking and Transfer’, Arts and Learning Research Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2001--2, pp.99-131.
VTS Facilitation Method 101 In VTS discussions, teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art. Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:
• What's going on in this picture? • What do you see that makes you say that? • What more can we find?
3 Facilitation Techniques:
• Paraphrase comments neutrally • Point at the area being discussed • Linking and framing student comments
Students are asked to:
• Look carefully at works of art • Talk about what they observe • Back up their ideas with evidence • Listen to and consider the views of others • Discuss multiple possible interpretations
Functionality in mobile apps and online content will allow teachers and participants to
construct their own object-centred learning tours based on themes across collections
or relevant to functional language, idioms or phrasal verbs in the art objects.
Only Pre-Visit Orientation (Stage 2) and Gallery Visit Engagement (Stage 3) will be
detailed here and relevant for ELICOS students. For Stage 2, teachers will lead
ELICOS students through an introduction about objects in the gallery’s collection via
mobile digital apps and online content in the classroom by:
Language Skills Activities:
a) Audio files from the AGNSW iTunesU collection targeted to the specific English
level of the students;
b) The teacher will ask sample questions used by VTS facilitators for group sessions,
• What’s going on in this picture?
• What do you see that makes you say that?
• What else can you find?(15)
a) Object labels in the digital applications for artworks will display with traditional
art-historical information, e.g.:
• Artist (if known)
• Title (if known)
• Date (if known)
• Place (if known)
b) Open-ended questions on labels will also display as they generate initial
engagement and visitors prefer a mix of questions and suggestions.(16) E.g.:
(15) Reilly, J.M., Ring, J., Duke, L., ‘Visual Thinking Strategies: A New Role for Art in Medical Education’, Shapiro, J., (ed.) Family Medicine: Literature and the Arts in Medical Education, Vol. 37, No. 4, April 2005, pp. 250-252
• Purpose/Intention – Why do you think this object was made? /Was it intended
for a specific person or purpose?
• Value/Usefulness – What value or usefulness would have been attached to the
• Situation – Where would this object have originally been used or seen?
• Affect – How would the original users/recipients felt about it?
• Relevance – What do you think and feel about this object? /Does it have value
or usefulness for you?
a) Students create their own open ended-questions for a partnered student either in the
digital apps or in on paper.
a) Students respond to the teacher’s VTS facilitator questions;
b) Students respond to the open-ended question labels or visitor-focused labels
(VFLs) in the apps and online content with a partner;
c) Students then respond to each other’s self-created open-ended questions.
Stage 2 will be a sample only of Stage 3, which, the latter will be facilitated by a
trained Tour Guide in VTS at the gallery. In Post-Visit debriefing (Stage 4) a
discourse is initiated by the teacher in the classroom about the students’ expectations
and whether they were met or not. For Stage 5 students will complete a self-
evaluation, called ‘talk back time’ via the digital applications to assess their levels of
motivation, engagement, interest, learning and their views on the gallery’s exhibits.
This will be discussed with their teacher at a later date, while the recorded data will be
Visual: the art collection of the AGNSW itself, object labels, mobile apps, online
content, ‘Student trail’ booklets which will be a less interactive hard copy version of
the mobile apps and online content.
(16) Gutwill, J. P., ‘Labels for Open-ended Exhibits: Using Questions and Suggestions to Motivate Physical Activity’, Visitor Studies Today, (2006), Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 1-9
The use of the above materials in the programs, the content and context, the structure
and the group facilitated approach of tours appeals to a majority of the learning styles
defined in Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, being:
3) Visual and Spatial;
4) Mathematical and logical; and
If AGNSW policy allows, an additional component to the programs can be integrated
in the form of ‘object-handling’, which studies have shown ‘provide educational and
aesthetic learning opportunities for visitors as well as opportunities for
psychologically transformative experiences’ and is most suited to kinaesthetic
learners.(18) Also the ‘Arts for English’ program would be modified and adapted for
non-ELICOS students for the ‘Arts in English’ program.
Examples of materials used for the temporary exhibition Archibald Prize 2014 that
can be used with the AGNSW collections or other temporary exhibits for the project
are shown in Figs. 2-4 below:
Fig. 2 – Vincent Fantauzzo, All that’s good in me (self-portrait as son Lucas);
Fig. 3 – Open-ended questions part of the ‘Children’s trail’ program from the
Archibald Prize 2014, AGNSW.
Fig. 4 – ‘Children’s trail’ booklet from the same exhibition.
(17) Learning Styles Activity, Inspiring Learning, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, 2008, < http://www.inspiringlearningforall.gov.uk/resources/resources.html> (18) Chatterjee, H., Vreeland, S., Noble, G., ‘Museopathy: Exploring the Healing Potential of Handling Museum Objects’, museum and society, Nov. 2009. 7(3) pp. 164-177.
The benefits of the project:
Benefits for participants of the programs – please refer to the Objectives stated earlier
on page 1.
Benefits for the AGNSW:
1. Increase visitors numbers overall as they have steadily decreased from
1,706,000 in 2008 to 1,162,00 in 2012-13;(19)
2. Increase the number of tertiary student visitors as most international students
fall into this category. The number of education program participants being
tertiary students in 2012-13 was only 6,000 compared to secondary students
which was 48,000, primary students with 20,000 and public program
3. Bring a new visitor type to the gallery that had not been attended previously;
4. Increase revenue by charging ESL schools for programs specifically designed
for ELICOS students as well charging VET and TAFE colleges and
universities for programs for other international students;
5. Developing new educational and public programs that target ELICOS and
other international students will expand the Education department’s range;
6. The success of the programs could determine their expansion as a general
public program or for use in Tertiary programs overall;
7. Its international reputation as a cultural and learning institution will increase.
Chronology of developing the project:
Details of a chronology of the programs for Stages 2 and 3 have been discussed
above, as important is a chronology of the project divided into the following phases:
Project team assembles to determine: goals, schedules, the allocation of
responsibilities, budgets, extra staffing requirements if necessary, and outsourcing if
(19) Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2012-2013, AGNSW, p.14. (20) Ibid.
ESL practices that will fit with object-centred learning practices will be the core of
the programs to be undertaken by the Education Department staff. Research different
digital technologies and apps used by museums worldwide to find best practice and
best fit for the programs.
Meetings held to assess progress for: the marketing strategy, the Education
Department staff developing the programs structures with the Project Development
staff, also liaison with Technical staff on the digital components, training of Tour
guides in VTS facilitation with the VTS centre in New York, and finance to ensure
expenses are within budget.
An ELICOS school and a VET or TAFE college is selected for trial runs. Studies,
surveys and visitor evaluations are undertaken to determine student and teacher
responses and satisfaction and learning achievements and success of the programs.
Negative responses require investigation and possible changes and then re-trialling.
Once the team is satisfied with the results of the trials or re-trials marketing begins.
Once programs are sold implementation begins for participants following Stages 1-5.
7. Post-Implementation Evaluation:
The Education department evaluates the ‘talk-back time’ of participants and feedback
of VTS facilitators to assess if modifications are required or not.
Challenges with the project:
A major potential challenge for the project is the perceived usefulness of the programs
in ELICOS schools for their students. This also applies to the other international
student learning institutions. If it’s not perceived as beneficial then sales will not be
generated and whether the ongoing running costs of the programs can be subsumed
into the overall operating costs would be difficult to assess until after implementation.
Offering initial free trial programs to schools and other institutions will hopefully
encourage a positive reception and generate in due course increasing sales.
Technology should not be a challenge as the AGNSW already has a mobile app for
iPhones in English and Chinese. However digital content needs to be modified and
enhanced to allow for the programs to be integrated with the iPhone app and for iPads
and also online content for laptops or new apps developed instead for the programs.
Advertising / marketing plan for the project:
The marketing strategy will focus on two distinct areas:
1. ELICOS (or ESL) schools;
2. VET and TAFE colleges and universities.
Marketing in both areas can include the following:
1. Direct promotion with the different schools, colleges and universities to buy
2. Attendance at ELICOS and higher education conferences, fairs and open days;
3. Advertising on websites for ELICOS information sites, international student
sites, and social websites used by international students;
4. Promotion with Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Malaysian
community groups and the Consular offices of China, India, Vietnam, the
Republic of Korea, and Malaysia in Sydney;
5. Offering incentives, loyalty bonuses, discounts, frequent user benefits to
schools, colleges and universities and their students will encourage sales.
The AGNSW had a budget surplus as per its financial statements of $16.6 million for
the financial year 2012-13, so it has the funds necessary to cover initial development
and research expenses.(21)
Expenses will be for the employment of additional staff if required in the following
areas of the project:
1. Marketing staff to develop marketing and advertising strategies;
2. Project Development staff to develop details of planning, structure, materials,
and coordinate other staff members of the project’s programs;
3. Education Department staff to advise Development staff about integration into
the Education Department, develop materials and train guides on program
tours for the project and continue the ongoing management and
implementation of the project’s programs once in place;
4. Technical staff to develop digital technology on mobile applications for iOS,
Android, iPads, and iTunesU and online content on the gallery website;
5. Tour Guides required to be trained as facilitators in VTS tours.
1. Marketing and advertising campaigns;
2. Production of program materials both written and digital;
3. Agencies to conduct visitor satisfaction surveys of programs;
4. Ongoing costs of maintaining and updating digital technology, i.e. mobile
apps, and online content;
Income for the project will be derived from sales of the programs to ESL schools,
TAFE and VET colleges and potentially universities in the Sydney region and also
sales of tours to the gallery to those same institutions.
According to Duke, ‘People can learn how to learn from experiences’ and structured
aesthetic experiences by galleries and museums can facilitate and enhance this while
VTS provides ‘discussion facilitation techniques and guidelines for selecting art
objects for them.’(22) Combined with foci on the four language skills ELICOS in
particular and other international students can acquire new learning skills, improve
their English skills, socialize and integrate more into Australian culture and gain
personalised aesthetic experiences by participating in the ‘Art for English’ programs.
Even if only a quarter of ELICOS students participate that will be 9,000 more visitors
annually aged between 20-30 years and a whole new visitor sector established with
the potential of returning visitors for the AGNSW. Revenue will be increased and its
reputation as a cultural and educational institution enhanced. (22) Duke, L. ‘The Museum Visit: It’s an Experience, Not a lesson’ in Curator: The Museum Journal, 2010, vol. 53, issue 3, pp.271-279
Bell, K., ‘How ESL and EFL classrooms differ’, Oxford University Press ELT, 12 July 2011, <http://oupeltglobalblog.com/2011/07/12/how-esl-and-efl-classrooms-differ/> (viewed 2.10.14) Chatterjee, H., Vreeland, S., Noble, G., ‘Museopathy: Exploring the Healing Potential of Handling Museum Objects’, museum and society, Nov. 2009. 7(3) pp. 164-177. Duke, L. ‘The Museum Visit: It’s an Experience, Not a lesson’ in Curator: The Museum Journal, 2010, vol. 53, issue 3, pp.271-279. Falk, J. H., Dierking, L. D., Museum Experience Revisited, (Walnut Creek, CA, USA: Left Coast Press, 2012). Griffin, J., School-Museum Integrated Learning Experiences In Science: A Learning Journey, UTS, 1998. Gutwill, J. P., ‘Labels for Open-ended Exhibits: Using Questions and Suggestions to Motivate Physical Activity’, Visitor Studies Today, (2006), Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 1-9. Housen, A., ‘Eye of the Beholder: Research, Theory and Practice’, Visual Understanding in Education, NY, 2001, pp.1-26. Housen, A., ‘Aesthetic Thought, Critical Thinking and Transfer’, Arts and Learning Research Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2001--2, pp.99-131. Reilly, J.M., Ring, J., Duke, L., ‘Visual Thinking Strategies: A New Role for Art in Medical Education’, Shapiro, J., (ed.) Family Medicine: Literature and the Arts in Medical Education, Vol. 37, No. 4, April 2005, pp. 250-252 Rice, D., Yenawine, P., ‘A Conversation on Object-Centered Learning in Art Museums’, Curator: The Museum Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2002, pp. 1-10. Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2012-2013, AGNSW. ‘Primary (Years K-6) - Education’, AGNSW, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/k-6/. ‘Secondary (Years 7-12) – Education, AGNSW, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/7-12/. ‘Tertiary (higher education) – Education, AGNSW, http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/tertiary/. ‘Fact Sheet ELICOS Industry Statistics 2013’, English Australia, May 2014. ‘International Students: Australian Social Trends – December 2011’, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue No. 4102.0, www.abs.gov.au/socialtrends ‘Maximising the ELICOS student experience – May 2012’, English Australia.
‘Monthly Summary of International Student Enrolment Data – Australia – YTD July 2014’, Australian Government, Department of Education, http://www.aei.gov.au/research/International-Student-Data/Pages/default.aspx Method and Curriculum, VTS, < http://www.vtshome.org/what-is-vts/method-curriculum--2>, Viewed 19 October 2014. Title Page image credits: 1. Front of AGNSW - http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/syd/arts.htm,
(Viewed 10.10.14). 2. AGNSW iPhone App – The Nest, http://www.wearethenest.com.au/work/art-