Tag Archives: academic performance

Arts Education and Work Performance: A Match Made in Heaven?

article-banner-arts-educationMove over, math and science. It’s time to make room for art.

Employers and government alike have long advocated math and science as the primary subject areas for those who want to excel in today’s knowledge-based careers. But now art is earning its rightful place alongside its more popular and heavily promoted sister subjects. And its biggest support is coming from employers.

But the value for employers isn’t in the actual learning of how to play an instrument, draw the human figure or compose poetry. The real benefit from employers’ standpoint is the skill set that seems to come primarily from studying the arts.

According to Fred Behning, an IBM retiree who has a music background, “The fine arts carry additional developmental benefits. Whether it’s music or dance notation, sculpture or painting, or translation of written word to emotion and action, all fine arts experience is built on conversion of the abstract into reality. This is Creativity 101 as taught in no other academic setting.

“The positive correlation between possessing an arts education and achievement in the workplace isn’t proven conclusively, but there’s mounting data to suggest it” (Behning, 2007).

Some of that data comes from employer survey results. In a report published by The Conference Board, an organization that researches marketplace and business issues, 97% of employers considered creativity to be “of increasing importance in the workplace,” while “85% of employers seeking creative employees said they were having difficulty finding qualified applicants with the right characteristics” (Lichtenberg, 2008).

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The Joy of teaching arts to children

What children know about art, grown artists are at pains to recapture. This is the joy of teaching art to children. It is also the great challenge. This website is for any adult teachers, parents looking for step-by-step guidance in how to instruct and develop, without overwhelming or dampening, the artist inside every child.

Arts classes- Improve students’ overall academic performance

“We feel we need to change the conversation about the arts in this country,” said Ms. Winner, a professor of psychology at Boston College and a senior research associate at Project Zero. “These instrumental arguments are going to doom the arts to failure, because any superintendent is going to say, ‘If the only reason I’m having art is to improve math, let’s just have more math.’ “

“Do we want to therefore say, ‘No singing,’ because singing didn’t lead to spatial improvement?” Ms. Winner added. “You get yourself in a bind there. The arts need to be valued for their own intrinsic reasons. Let’s figure out what the arts really do teach.”

In their new study Ms. Winner, Ms. Hetland and their co-authors, Shirley Veenema and Kimberly Sheridan, focused on the benefits accrued through classes in painting, drawing, sculpture and the other visual arts. The results are to be published in their book, “Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education” (Teachers College Press).

They observed students taught by five visual arts teachers in two high schools in Massachussetts: three at the Boston Arts Academy, a public urban high school, and two at the Walnut Hill School for the arts, an independent secondary school in Natick. At both schools, all students specialize in an art form but are enrolled in a regular academic curriculum.

The authors videotaped a two- to three-hour class of each teacher once a month for one academic year. They then zeroed in on what they deemed to be crucial segments of teaching and learning, showed those clips to the teacher after each class and interviewed them about their intentions.