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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The importance of the arts and creativity to human development and well-being underpins this module. In the visual arts and music components students engage with the various strands to increase their confidence and competence in making art and music and develop insight into children’s meaning-making in the arts as well as a critical understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of teaching children at primary level.

Learning Outcomes

1. Draw on a critical understanding of the principles that inform the primary visual art and music curriculums and on their working knowledge of the strands of activity and concepts to design, teach and assess imaginative, innovative and engaging activities for children’s learning in music and visual art.
2. Demonstrate a growing personal competence and skill in music and art making, applying an understanding of the fundamental principles and practices of each curriculum area and incorporating the use of digital media in creating, recording of work and in teaching.
3. Confidently lead children’s music-making and art-making with an awareness and understanding of children’s diverse needs and learning processes in music and art in ways that nurture and support children’s growing creative skills while deepening children’s awareness of the expressive potential of music and art.
4. Respond insightfully to music and artworks from diverse historical and cultural contexts, using an appropriate specialist vocabulary in the separate subject areas, to consider both technical and affective aspects and to communicate an awareness of the multiple ways in which visual art and music have a role in individual and societal meaning making.
5. Sensitively use a developing repertoire of music and art works in a range of genres and styles in ways that effectively create a relationship between children and the music or artwork based on their own knowledge and judgement.
6. Integrate a range of ways in which children can represent sounds in symbols and gestures across the strands of activity and express meaning through visual media.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Workshop48Art (24 hrs); Music (24 hrs)
Assessment Feedback18Written lesson plan ,outline progressional scheme(10 hrs); Music portfolio (8 hrs)
Independent Study20Completion of art-works begun in workshops for inclusion in portfolio (10 hrs); Music Independent reading (10 hrs)
Independent Study39Music and Art Independent reading, planning and preparation
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Learning through the arts and movement (B) Music and Visual Arts
Music and Visual Arts focus on unique ways of learning and engaging with the world. While they each have discrete and distinctive modes of engagement and practice, they both draw on aesthetic engagement with auditory and visual media, developing children’s sensitivity to the beauty and power of artworks. They provide an inclusive and non-verbal mode of expression and symbolic meaning-making which can cross cultural and linguistic boundaries and create historical, social and geographical links. In this module through active appreciation, enquiry, expression and creation in music and visual arts, students acquire a basis for the subject specific pedagogical content knowledge necessary for effective teaching in primary schools. In tandem they develop an understanding of the power of the arts to shape and express personal and communal identities, connect and engage participants beyond surface meaning and encourage ways of working that are open-ended while drawing on and affirming a growing set of skills and competencies in ways that are ultimately personally satisfying.

Art Education
Teaching of basic art and design skills in the six art strands and development of visual awareness and understanding of the visual arts elements: (1) Drawing: Looking at and responding to drawings by other artists, observing and photographing the visual elements of line, tone, colour, shape and texture in the environment. Experimentation with mark making using different drawing instruments, drawing from observation, drawing from imagination with attention to the visual elements of line, tone and texture. Working collaboratively through drawing emphasising the social dimension of learning and engagement (2) Creating Form: Looking at and responding to examples of form, natural and man-made. Creating form with an emphasis on shape, balance, texture and line using various media e.g. clay, papier mâché, fabric and fibre. Connecting students learning through art with issues of sustainability e.g. origins of materials and waste (3) Paint and Colour: Looking at and responding to colour in the environment, to colour in the work of artists. Experimenting with colour mixing and matching using primary colours in paint and other media. Working from close observation of colour and tone in natural and man-made objects and through imagination. Special emphasis is placed on Environmental art and possibility for creating ephemeral art connecting with care of the environment, wellbeing, and ecology(4) Fabric and Fibre: Exploring the properties of different fabrics and fibres, creating new fabric and fibre forms (e.g. felting), using fabric and fibre to create two and three dimensional art pieces with increased awareness of texture, colour, pattern, shape and form.. Re-use of clothing waste is emphasised as a vehicle for enhancing student understanding of how to connect children with wider issues of sustainability, environment and global citizenship through art. (5) Printing: Making prints using various techniques e.g. cut card repeat patterns, printing plates, creating templates with close attention to design, shape, space, line, pattern, colour and rhythm. Thematic approaches to creating art are explored with emphasis on the making personal connections through art developing sense of self expression, communicating visually with the wider world developing a visual vocabulary and it's importance in the classroom.(6) Construction: Using a variety of media, creating abstract, semi-abstract and realistic constructions of varying sizes with an emphasis on design, form, line, shape, space and balance. Responding to the work of architects, designers, and developing awareness for the students perspective of their immediate environment as a stimulus for engagement of children with art. Peer learning and assessment, is embedded throughout this experiential course. Special emphasis is placed on the potential of shared learning experiences, for inclusion, social aspects of learning in small group activities, reflection and analysis of the art learning journey through art engagement, as individuals and through small groups presentations.(7) Developing understanding of the components of a visual art scheme, with an emphasis on child as artist, progression in learning- developing a progressional scheme and connecting with the wider curriculum through meaningful integration. Special emphasis on maths art connections through print, awareness for sustainability throughout the course with particular focus on global citizenship, sense of place, and inclusion celebrating different ways of seeing the world.

Looking at and Responding to the work of artists
In each of the strands and to natural art forms in the environment. A visit to an art gallery. (Written assignment with two components (a) Art appreciation; (b) Teaching children about art works).

An understanding of Curriculum Art in Primary Education
(1) The creative process in art making. The need for the child to "be the designer"; (2) Children's art and how it develops from early childhood to the mid-teens; (3) Planning how to help school children engage with a work of art; (4) How to plan an art lesson: Suitable theme, stimuli, use of media, dialogic techniques; (5) Classroom management during an art lesson; (6) Integrating art with other curriculum areas; (7) Use of photography and digital imagery; (8) Display of 2D and 3D art work.

An understanding of the strands and concept of the Music Curriculum
Through 12 hours of mixed workshops/lectures students gain an understanding of the principles underpinning the primary music curriculum and how the strands and concepts can be used as a framework for planning. They critically engage with the idea of music expressed in the curriculum and the understanding of a spiral curriculum in music that it contains. They further their understanding of embodied learning and knowing and of recognising and observing children’s tacit knowledge in music through practical work with the eight music concepts. They develop an understanding of how they can use a range of music materials to develop children’s ‘sense’ of these music concepts.

Child Centred methods of teaching and working with notation
This 5 hour set of workshops introduces students to an expanded concept of music notation and of using musical representation in gesture and graphic and other symbols to develop children’s music understanding while listening, performing and composing. They further develop their own skill in using standard notation.

Independent Listening workbook
This Moodle based workbook engages students with music of different genres and times and provides models of activities to create a relationship between the child and the music. Worksheets help students to know how to create a context for listening, how to engage pupils thoughtfully with significant aspects of selected pieces and challenge students to source their own listening materials based on the principles presented and to design other ways of engaging children.

This 5 week workshop based course introduces students to composing as inventing and shaping sound and through a range of practical activities supports students in developing their own group composition on a chosen theme. Following a performance of their group composition students reflect on children’s creative thinking in music.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Auer, Elizabeth: 2015, Learning to see the world through drawing : practical advice for the classroom. Grades one through eight, Association of Waldorf Schools of North America,
  • Gloria Callaway,Abigail Leach,Mary Kear: 2016, Teaching Art and Design in the Primary School, Routledge, 1138177695
  • Peter Clough: 2007, Clay in the Primary School, A&C Black, 071368819X
  • Government of Ireland: 1999, Primary School Curriculum, Music & Visual Arts, Dublin,
  • Government of Ireland: 1999, Primary School Curriculum, Visual Arts & Music: Teacher Guidelines, Dublin,
  • Glover. J. & Young, S.: 1998, Primary Music in the Early Years, Falmer, London,
  • Higgins, Y. & Buckley, J: 2007, The Right Note 3rd and 4th Class, Folens,
  • Nigel Meager: 2006, Creativity and Culture, Collins Educational, 090468430X
  • Murphy, R. & Espeland, M: 2007, Upbeat, Carroll Heinemann,
  • Umansky, K., & Pierce, M: 2016, Three Tapping Teddies: Musical Stories and Chants for the Very Young, A&C Black,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes