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Practical & Applied Arts

December 22, 2023

What are the Practical and Applied Arts (PAA)?

The opportunities available to students under the Practical and Applied Arts umbrella are numerous. Courses that parents may remember, like Home Ec or Industrial Arts, were PAA courses.

Now, options include robotics and automation, graphic design, interior design, construction and carpentry, accounting and a host of other options.

Courses can help students develop personal and life skills, gain entry level employment skills, or pursue post-secondary education or training. All students have the opportunity to explore and develop career pathways.

In the Technical-Vocational/Comprehensive High Schools Review Committee Report (1987) the following definition was recommended:

  • “The practical and applied arts should include but not be restricted to the subjects within industrial arts, home economics, business education, and technical-vocational education. They are intended to acquaint students with the day-to-day aspects of adult life, including employment, family responsibilities, and leisure. These courses are typically delivered in regular classrooms, or shops, but are sometimes delivered best by outside agencies or through the use of community and distance education resources. ” (p. ix)

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Practical and Applied Arts (PAA) policy does not define what a PAA course is, but does state:

  • “Practical and applied arts courses are an essential element of the basic education of all students and must continue to be an integral part of the curriculum in order to ensure that all students obtain a well-rounded education. Practical and applied arts courses compliment academic courses by integrating theory with practice and giving students an opportunity to apply what they learned in a concrete fashion. ”

(STF, Policy Statement on the Practical and Applied Arts, 1995)

Curriculum Aims and Goals

The overall aim of Practical and Applied Arts is to reinforce essential theory and practice, and to apply a variety of skills in context. The goals describe the types of skills. The PAA area will provide important learning opportunities for all students to apply technical knowledge and to improve technology, planning, personal, and teamwork skills. 

The Practical and Applied Arts are an integral part of the K-12 program of studies and play a significant role in developing the potential of all students. They contribute to attaining the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan, specifically by:

  • enhancing the quality of personal life
  • providing a balance of theory and practice
  • developing appropriate attitudes for lifelong learning
  • incorporating and enhancing the Common Essential Learnings including the acquisition and development of generic and specific entry-level employability skills which include academic skills, personal management skills, and teamwork skills
  • supporting career development principles by providing opportunities for career awareness, career exploration and experience, as students begin selecting career pathways
  • applying and enhancing knowledge, skills and principles developed through a multi-disciplinary approach to education
  • understanding the way technology supports and constrains personal and societal endeavours and how it is shaping culture and society
  • providing specialized learnings to assist students to access post-secondary education and training
  • enhancing opportunities for the transition from the world of school to the world of work.

- Government of Saskatchewan

View the complete Saskatchewan Curriculum (by grade or subject)

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