Experiences in the arts – dance, drama, media arts, music, and the visual arts – play a valuable role in the education of all students. Through participation in the arts, students can develop their creativity, learn about their own identity, and develop self-awareness, self-confidence, and a sense of well-being. Since artistic activities involve intense engagement, students experience a sense of wonder and joy when learning through the arts, which can motivate them to participate more fully in cultural life and in other educational opportunities. The arts nourish the imagination and develop a sense of beauty, while providing unique ways for students to gain insights into the world around them. All of the arts communicate through complex symbols – verbal, visual, and aural – and help students understand aspects of life in a variety of ways.

The expectations identified for each course describe the knowledge and skills that students are expected to develop and demonstrate in their class work, on tests, and in various other activities on which their achievement is assessed and evaluated. Two sets of expectations – overall expectations and specific expectations – are listed for each strand, or broad area of the curriculum. (The strands are numbered A, B, and C.) Taken together, the overall and specific expectations represent the mandated curriculum. The overall expectations describe in general terms the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of each course. The specific expectations describe the expected knowledge and skills in greater detail. The specific expectations are grouped under numbered headings, each of which indicates the strand and the overall expectation to which the group of specific expectations corresponds (e.g., “B2” indicates that the group relates to overall expectation 2 in strand B). This organization is not meant to imply that the expectations in any one group are achieved independently of the expectations in the other groups. The subheadings are used merely to help teachers focus on particular aspects of knowledge and skills as they plan learning activities for their students. Most specific expectations are accompanied by examples and “teacher prompts”, as requested by educators. The examples, given in parentheses, are meant to clarify the requirement specified in the expectation, illustrating the kind of knowledge or skill, the specific area of learning, the depth of learning, and/or the level of complexity that the expectation entails. The teacher prompts are meant to illustrate the kinds of questions teachers might pose in relation to the requirement specified in the expectation. Both the examples and the teacher prompts are intended as suggestions for teachers rather than as an exhaustive or a mandatory list. Teachers can choose to use the examples and prompts that are appropriate for their classrooms, or they may develop their own approaches that reflect a similar level of complexity. Whatever the specific ways in which the requirements outlined in the expectations are implemented in the classroom, they must, wherever possible, be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the student population and the population of the province.

Students have many responsibilities with regard to their learning. Students who make the effort required to succeed in school and who are able to apply themselves will soon discover that there is a direct relationship between this effort and their achievement, and will therefore be more motivated to work. There will be some students, however, who will find it more difficult to take responsibility for their learning because of special challenges they face. The attention, patience, and encouragement of teachers can be extremely important to the success of these students. Taking responsibility for their own progress and learning is an important part of arts education for all students, regardless of their circumstances. Students in arts courses need to realize that honing their craft is important and that real engagement with the arts requires hard work and continual self-assessment. Through practice, and through review and revision of their work, students deepen their understanding of their chosen arts discipline. Students can also extend their learning in the arts by participating in school and community arts activities.

The rapid advancement of computer technology has transformed art at all levels. Art-making, whether in the professional world or in schools, often is aided by computer programs that allow artists to create and manipulate images electronically. This new capability raises aesthetic questions about the nature of art. For example, must a finished artwork be frameable? When, for that matter, should a work be considered "finished"? In the commercial world, an illustrator's work may exist only as a computer file until it finally appears in a book or magazine. As an electronic file, the image also can be altered repeatedly by the artist or by a publisher's art director until the moment it is printed. Computer technology also provides resources for art history and criticism. Images for classroom study are routinely available in electronic formats, such as CD-ROM, making it easy for a school to maintain an extensive collection of visual references. Electronic editions of encyclopedias and other texts offer "extras" not found in print, such as film footage and sound bites. These extras enliven and enlarge the resources so that students do not merely read the information, but experience it. The number of "wired" classrooms continues to increase. Electronic connections between a classroom or laboratory computer and the Internet make virtual field trips increasingly available as instructional tools. If teachers cannot take their students physically to a museum, they may be able to take them electronically. Virtual tours of many of the world's art galleries and museums are expanding instructional horizons. Some institutional sites, such as the website of the Louvre Museum in Paris, also encourage cross-cultural studies by allowing electronic visitors to take the virtual tour in several languages and by providing links to other historical and cultural websites.

The number of students offering the arts courses is growing considerably. especially at this time when the official curriculum has finally provided courses that foster integration among the students.