Is it time to rethink what and how we teach. If so, how do we approach such an established social infrastructure with the intent on changing it. I have to imagine that in order to gather data you have to conduct experiments, and there is something that deters people when you mention an alternative or experimental teaching program. They may find it interesting and even potentially beneficial, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are willing to risk their child’s chance at being educated. It can be an intimidating concept, being schooled on a different curriculum than the rest of your peers. The perceived risk of being disadvantaged due to alternative education methods can easily be enough to limit the amount of parents choosing these methods for their children. This apprehension limits the amount of research that we can learn from in order to learn the truth about our teaching effectiveness and how it could be increased. As more research becomes available and is being conducted on the effectiveness of different teaching and learning methods. The social value system of specific skills and knowledge may be shifting, how will our schools react to this? And how will it effect our understanding of teaching and learning.
After looking for some other opinions on this I found plenty of art education advocates. Every type of person from doctors, psychologists, child specialists and even neuro-analysts have agreed on the benefit of artistic implementation through music and design based courses. They seem to agree that the brain activity encouraged by these artistic activities is stimulating the brain in a collective increase when compared to standard or traditional math and science courses.
The Florida Educational Music Association has a page on their website dedicated to exploring the trends and statistics that have been realized in the past 20 years.
” Research made between music and intelligence concluded that music training is far greater than computer instruction in improving children’s abstract reasoning skills.(Source: Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, “Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial-temporal reasoning,” Neurological Research, vol. 19, February 1997 )
The University of Montreal researched brain imaging techniques to study brain activity during musical tasks. Researches concluded that sight-reading musical scores and playing music “activate regions in all four of the cortex’s lobes” and “parts of the cerebellum are also activated during those tasks.” (Source: J. Sergent, E. Zuck, S. Tenial, and B. MacDonnall (1992). Distributed neural network underlying musical sight reading and keybpard performance. Science, 257, 106-109. )
Florida Education Music Association WEB SITE also provides everything from legislative details, forums, and extensive links. They support an advocacy program witch seeks to educate the public on facts such as the one ones mentioned above.
The National Arts Education public awareness campaign strongly promotes the importance of artistic inclusion into the education of growing individuals, and the benefits of starting earlier than later. Their list of stats include statements such as….
“Did You Know?
Young people who participate in the arts for at least three hours on three days each week through at least one full year are:
4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools
4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem”
I also read recently about skills that are enhanced at a higher rate when kids are involved in consistent artistic involvement. They argue that societies obsession with science and math is depriving us of a natural experience that could potentially help us retain and understand what we are learning in a better way. They offer a specific list of 10 important skills that are enhanced and better developed by the use of art in education. Check out witch skills The Washington Post declared art dependent.
Art In Action was another organization I came across that was selling a art based curriculum. This was interesting to me because it hinted to a possible future market of personalized curriculum being hand delivered as a product, this interested me because when education and curriculums become more competitive, they will be held more responsible for their effectiveness and relatable quality and value.
Finally I will leave you with a video hosted and narrated by Lisa Kudrow in promotion for arts and the mind, arts in education. It helps to give perspective from the teachers and how they feel about the limitations that standardized curriculums present.
Would you risk your child’s traditional education to provide them with experimental methods? Do we have enough evidence or is this questionable? I see potential for positive change.