Dr. Ros McMillan
Honorary Senior Fellow in Arts Education
University of Melbourne

Singapore’s enlightened teacher directive: “Engage your students in the spirit of exploration and innovation”

Arts teachers in Singapore have been given a special gift. The 2018 Arts Education Conference has invited them to examine the potential for creative arts activity to facilitate engagement, innovation and optimism.  Creativity in the arts is a phenomenon that has produced centuries of enlightened thinkers, daring innovators and bold risk-takers: today’s students are no less capable of thinking boldly and being daring in their arts making.

It is vital that arts teachers foster creativity, not only for the ongoing growth of their particular discipline but for a better world.  Creative thinkers are sorely needed to tackle some of the great problems our society faces today.  Thus, the earlier we support our students to think and act creatively, the sooner will they be able to contribute to a society that cares for all people, promotes equality and cherishes the natural world.

In encouraging creativity, teachers should feel confident to provide empowering and inspiring lessons. Topics that are relevant to students at their particular age are essential.  Of equal importance is to allow students to have input into their own learning, to make artistic decisions and to express their own creative ideas.

Our subject, music, is unique in its ability to communicate through sound.  As a learning area, it has the distinct benefit of connecting with every learning area in the curriculum, not only the other arts disciplines but also studies of society, language, mathematics and science, amongst others.

The masterclass will examine ways in which teachers can provide the conditions for their students to flourish creatively.  Curriculum ideas such as composing and improvising will be workshopped to show how these can involve other disciplines.  If our students are being encouraged to develop a spirit of exploration and innovation it is up to us all not to fail them.


About the Speaker

Dr. Ros McMillan is an Honorary Senior Fellow in Arts Education in the University of Melbourne.  Over a teaching career of more than 50 years she established the Yamaha Music Courses in Australia (1970-1974), was Director of Music at Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Melbourne (1974-1987) and Senior Lecturer then Head of Music Education at Melbourne University from 1987 until her retirement from fulltime teaching in 2005.  Currently she supervises PhD students in the University’s Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) and presents workshops and master classes in both the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music and the MGSE.

Ros has written seven school music texts with over 13,000 students and teachers using her books in Australia and throughout the world.  She is a keyboard player with a particular interest in improvisation and has a discography of 30 CDs and LPs, 26 of those as keyboard player with her late husband, the acclaimed Australian jazz improviser Brian Brown.

Location : Stamford