in the air
I could see the sky
If I had wings
I think I could fly
written by student, Chris Hartwig.
and arts activities provided an excellent learning environment for
14 young school leavers in western NSW. Their self-esteem, self-confidence
and motivation levels increased during the 10-week course. Individual
learning programs were developed by a skilled facilitator with a
strong background in the creative arts. Several participants subsequently
returned to study and one found employment.
OCTEC, a community
based organisation with its head office in Orange, provides services
to a large section of rural NSW, including Broken Hill, Bourke,
Brewarrina, Wagga Wagga and West Wyalong. OCTEC develops and manages
services that help people improve their ability to seek, obtain
and retain employment. The organisation's training and education
branch runs HELP and Time Out programs for young disadvantaged people.
staff had noticed a drop in the level of student interest and attributed
this to the generalised nature of literacy and numeracy activities
on offer. They decided it would be worth experimenting with addressing
literacy and numeracy needs in the context of what interested students,
namely music, watching videos and playing video games.
Pilot Project was aimed at school leavers with higher literacy and
numeracy levels than the average HELP student. The project's objectives
- provide access
to and tuition in electronic music, video and audio equipment
an opportunity for the young people to express themselves through
self-esteem and self-confidence levels
the young people to consider pursuing further study and work in
Pilot Project offered a ten-week course over the Christmas/New Year
period, a time when services are closed and there are less opportunities
for community activities. By running the course at this time, OCTEC
hoped to motivate students to return to school in the new term.
covered basic aspects of music and songwriting including overdubbing
and mixing, radio broadcasting, video production, theatre, painting,
drawing and photography.
were developed in line with the interests and talents of each client.
Contrary to the trend in HELP programs run by OCTEC, most clients
of the Strategic Pilot Project were young women. Access to the internet,
reading scripts, timing scenes, reading instructions and setting
up equipment provided unstructured learning opportunities.
local arts organisations, e.g. Orange Community Radio, the Orange
Theatre Company, the Orange Regional Gallery, ABC Radio, Orange
Civic Theatre and a local photographic studio. This gave them an
opportunity to see what earning a living in the creative arts industry
completed a major project in their chosen art form. Music was prepared
and posted on the internet, short plays were produced, artworks
created, videos made and CDs burnt.
developed their creative skills, but the most dramatic results were
seen in the area of self-esteem and self-confidence. As the project
proceeded, the more timid participants engaged in direct eye contact,
spoke more clearly and made more of an effort to project their voices,
which was in stark contrast to their behaviour at the start of the
participated in the project, three of whom completed the course
and received certificates. Of those, two enrolled in a HELP course
and intend to continue their arts training by taking drama and singing
courses. The third accessed the JOBNET Program. There were also
positive results for some of the 11 who did not complete the course.
One found employment, four left to undertake further study and one
returned to school.
were high and many students achieved considerably more than they
had anticipated. Participants helped each other with projects, were
keen to put forward ideas, took part in preparation and planning,
and showed respect for the work and opinions of others in the group.
As a result
of the project, tutors now include arts-based activities in their
mainstream HELP programs.
succeeded because it provided an alternative range of activities
that enabled young people to explore their creative potential in
new ways. It provided a fresh stimulus to staff, who had the opportunity
to introduce new activities and equipment into the centre, and to
expand community networks.
experience and patience of the facilitator with a strong background
in the creative arts, also contributed to the success of the project.
course over the festive period was not as successful as OCTEC had
envisaged. Holiday activities and family commitments led to irregular
attendance. In future, OCTEC would schedule such a project at a
different time of the year.
participants gained a comprehensive introduction to the creative
arts, staff felt that the project was too long and will condense
the course when it is run again.