Studies prepared, by James S. Catterall and Edited by Richard J. Deasy were published in January 2002 introducing their work – a compendium of summary analyses of 61 high quality research studies about learning through the arts. From piano to painting, class play to dance concert, the arts were exposed as engineers of language skill, mathematical prowess, self-worth, and other fine points of cognitive development.
Compendium studies suggest that well-crafted arts experiences produce positive academic and social effects, but they long for more research that reveals the unique and precise aspects of the arts teaching and learning that do so.
After research was published, when the revelry calmed and the crowd had shrunk to one, there arose a final question from the audience, “So what!”. Answer to this question continues in James S. Catterall, 2006 published work How Can Positive Research Findings Help a Policy Weakling?
So what, indeed! This work highlights several important issues in public policy-making by looking at key questions: should we expect our schools to invigorate curricula in the visual and performing arts? Would new private philanthropy find its way to high school theatre clubs and art rooms? Would the National Endowment for the Arts recast its mission?
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