Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning

 
 Synopsis by Bob Bryant, Fine Arts Director in Katy ISD:

The following are findings reported in Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning  (Fiske, 1999) that should be noted by every parent, teacher, and administrator:

  • The arts reach students not normally reached, in ways and methods not normally used.  (This leads to better student attendance and lower dropout rates.)
  • It changes the learning environment to one of discovery.  (This often re-ignites the love of learning in students tired of just being fed facts.)
  • Students connect with each other better.  (This often results in fewer fights, greater understanding of diversity, and greater peer support.)
  • The arts provide challenges to students of all levels.  (Each student can find his/her own level from basic to gifted.)
  • Students learn to become sustained, self-directed learners.  (The student does not just become an outlet for stored facts from direct instruction, but seeks to extend instruction to higher levels of proficiency.)
  • The study of the fine arts positively impacts the learning of students of lower socioeconomic status as much or more than those of a higher socioeconomic status.  (Twenty-one percent of students of low socioeconomic status who had studied music scored higher in math versus just eleven percent of those who had not. By the senior year, these figures grew to 33 percent and 16 percent, respectively, suggesting a cumulative value to music education.) 
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