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- Reprinted with permission from "The Parent's Guide: Getting
- Out Of Your Child's Band or Orchestral Experience"
published by The
- Selmer Company.
- This article comes from a review of the federal report
"Champions of Change."
- The author of this review is N.M. Weinberger. The
"Champions of Change"
- report was released in 1999 by the Arts Education
the President's Council on the Humanities.
- The Impact of the Arts on
- "The ultimate challenge for American education is to place
- children on pathways toward success in school and in
- Through engagement with the arts, young people can better
- lifelong journeys of developing their capabilities and
- to the world around them. "Champions of Change: The Impact
- the Arts on Learning" also shows that the arts can play a
- in learning how to learn, an essential ability for
- achievement and growth throughout their lives. (It)
new and important findings of actual learning experiences
- involving the arts. (It) presents these research findings,
- with ground-breaking data and analysis, as articulated by
- leading American educational researchers. Perhaps what
- their findings so significant is that they all address ways
- nation's educational goals may be realized through enhanced
- learning. As these researchers have confirmed, young
- can be better prepared for the 21st century through
- learning experiences in and through the arts."
- -- Richard Riley, Secretary of Education
- These quotations from Dr. Riley, Secretary of Education, are
- from the introduction to a remarkable report that was issued
- October of 1999. This "Champions of Change" document
- was funded by The GE Fund and The John D. and Catherine
- Macarthur Foundation under the auspices of The Arts
- Partnership and The President's Committee on the Arts and
- The COC report is not restricted to music or any single
- within arts education. However, music education forms a
part of arts programs included in this document. It contains
- reports of seven major projects in arts education. The
- article will first list some of the major findings. After
this, we will
- discuss the results of some of the studies in greater
- Overview: The Arts Change the Learning Experience in Special
- - The arts reach students who are not otherwise being
- - The arts reach students in ways that they are not otherwise
- - The arts connect students to themselves and each other.
- - The arts transform the environment for learning.
- - The arts provide learning opportunities for the adults in
- of young people.
- - The arts provide new challenges for those students
- considered successful.
- - The arts connect learning experiences to the world of real
- - The arts enable young people to have direct involvement with
- arts and artists.
- - The arts support extended engagement in the artistic
- - The arts encourage self-directed learning.
- - The arts engage community leaders and resources.
- The Findings of Specific Projects
- In the main section of this article, we will report the
- three specific projects from the COC report. They might
- considered in any order but I have chosen a particular
- highlight a special aspect of the findings, the local
- environment for learning. I believe this is particularly
- at least two reasons. First, it has been largely ignored.
- effects of arts education take place within real walls, as
- interaction between students and teachers. We need to
- this ongoing educational dialogue to fully understand why and
- the arts have such a beneficial effect on students. While all
- reports are extremely important. I think you will find that
- information obtained within specific school setting provides
- uniquely valuable resource.
- The first project concerns the broadest report of
- performance, the relationship between involvement in arts
- education and academic performance for 25,000 students
- the United States. It provides an interesting contrast for the
- project, which is the most specific type of program. This is
- Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) which
- professional arts practitioners from various disciplines to
- schools. The final - and longest - report, is about schools in
- arts are an important and continuing part of the normal
- It concerns the performances of students, teachers and
- interactions. This report brings new and important insights
- how and why arts education facilitates intellectual and
- development in students. It has major implications.
- "Involvement in the Arts and Human Development"
- The first report is that of James S. Catterall, Richard
- John Iwanaga of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and
- Information Studies. They analyzed the extensive database
- the National Educational Longitudinal Survey
- survey obtained information on more than 25,000 secondary
- school students over a period of 10 years. The very large
- size is noteworthy because it avoids problems encountered with
populations, such as a few classes in a limited number of
- school settings. The authors studied both the arts in general
- then focused on music and theater arts. They were
- interested in how arts education impacted students from
- lower socio-economic resources (low SES), compared to those
higher levels (high SES).
- The overall findings were quite clear. Performance in a wide
- of academic subjects and on standardized tests was
- higher for students involved in sustained arts education.
- analyses of academic performance from the 8th through 12th
- further showed that the beneficial effects increased over
- particular importance, low SES students also showed
- improvements if they were involved in arts education. In fact,
- relative gains were as great or larger than the high SES
- Given these findings, it is somewhat troubling to note that
- authors also found a significant decrease in arts
- involvement from grades 10 to 12. For example, the percent
- students taking lessons outside of school hours decreased
- 11% to 3%.
- An analysis that focused on instrumental music and
- was also quite revealing. Dr. Catterall and his
- discovered that music students were far more likely to achieve
- highest levels of proficiency in math tests than non-music
- Again, low SES students also benefited. In fact they not
- scored higher in math than low SES students who were not
- involved in music but also better than the average of all
- The positive effects of instrumental music instruction
- increased from the 8th to the 10th grades. For example, 21%
- eighth grade music students from low SES households scored
- in math compared to 11% of non-music low SES students. By
- grade 12, these figures were 33% and 16%, respectively.
- Do these findings definitely show that consistent involvement
- arts education, particularly in instrumental music education,
- the high levels of general academic and math performance?
- Catterall and his colleagues are quite aware of the challenges
- must be met to be able to draw a causal connection. However,
- point out that there is good reason to suspect that arts
- helps cause the findings because other studies have reported
- that children are more engaged and cognitively involved in
- when the arts are part of, or integrated into, the
- Nonetheless, it might be argued that better students select
- involvement. However, the authors also emphasize that
- improvements are greater within the same students over time,
- the 8th to the 12 grades. This is difficult to explain if the
- performance levels were not caused by continued involvement
- the arts.
- Learning In and Through the
- "We conclude this review by considering an extensive
- performed by Judith Burton, Robert Horowitz and Hal Abeles,
- the Center for Arts Education Research at Columbia University.
- involved 2046 children in grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 in 12 public
- in New York, Connecticut, Virginia and South Carolina. Instead
- focusing on academic test performances and arts
- these researchers dug into the basic intellectual processes
- personal attributes that are at the foundation of
- development and resultant enhanced test performance. They
- studied the school situation, the effects of arts curricula on
- and on their interactions with students.
- Creative Thinking -- Students involved in high arts schools
- superior to those in low arts schools in each of the
- - Solutions: a greater number of ideas or approaches to
- - Originality: more innovative approaches to solving
- - Elaboration: mentally constructing more detail in
- - Resistance to Closure: tendency to keep an open mind, to
- rushing to premature judgements or being satisfied too
- with a possible solution
- General Competencies -- Students in the schools with high
- involvement were superior to students in low arts schools in
- important areas.
- - Expression: better able to express their thoughts and ideas
- teachers and peers and to do so in different ways.
- - Risk-taking: they were more willing to take a risk, showing
- increased willingness to try new things, use new materials
- approaches, even at the risk of failing; more willing to
- expressing their own novel ideas to peers and parents
- - Cooperation: they worked better with peers and with
- - Synthesis: better at unifying divergent thoughts, feeling
- Perception of Self as Learner -- High arts students also had
- self concepts regarding school:
- - Higher self-concept in reading, math and general
- - Teachers rated them as having more self-confidence.
- The Perspectives of Teachers -- As noted above, the teachers
- participated in the testing. Those in schools with high levels
- education identified five effects of arts learning.
- - The ability to express ideas and feelings opening and
- - The ability to form relationships among different items
- arrange them to solve problems.
- - The ability to imagine a problem from different points of
- and work toward a resolution.
- - The ability to organize thoughts and ideas into
- - The ability to engage in sustained and focused attention.
- Source: http://www.musica.uci.edu/mrn/V7I2S00.html
- Source: http://faculty.washington.edu/demorest/News13-1.html
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