Teaching elementary students art is important!
• It's been proven that early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes activity in the brain.
• Art helps children understand other subjects much more clearly—from math and science, to language arts and geography.
• Art nurtures inventiveness as it engages children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation.
• Participating in art activities helps children to gain the tools necessary for understanding human experience, adapting to and respecting others' ways of working and thinking, developing creative problem-solving skills, and communicating thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways.
A growing body of studies, including those in the research compendium Critical Links presents compelling evidence connecting student learning in the arts to a wide spectrum of academic and social benefits. These studies document the habits of mind, social competencies and personal dispositions inherent to arts learning. Additionally, research has shown that what students learn in the arts may help them to master other subjects, such as reading, math or social studies.
Students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. In a well-documented national study using a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Moreover, the high arts-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school.
The concept of transfer, in which “learning in one context assists learning in a different context,” has intrigued cognitive scientists and education researchers for more than a century.
A commonly held view is that all learning experiences involve some degree of transfer both in life and learning outside the school as well as learning within the school. However, the nature and extent of these transfers remain a topic of great research interest. Recent studies suggest the effects of transfer may in fact accrue over time and reveal themselves in multiple ways.
Researchers continue to explore the complex processes involved in learning and the acquisition of knowledge and skills. One promising line of inquiry focuses on how to measure the full range of benefits associated with arts learning. These include efforts to develop a reliable means to assess some of the subtler effects of arts learning that standardized tests fail to capture, such as the motivation to achieve or the ability to think critically.
- Excerpt from Critical Evidence - How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement