Education trends: ‘Artful Thinking’

31 Aug

In Adding arts education to STEM to produce STEAM, moi said:

Mozart was a child prodigy. Most of us don’t come close to possessing his gifts. The Journal Times reported about the “Mozart effect.” Mozart Effect

Scientific research has found some basis for the notion that music instruction stimulates general intelligence. About 10 years ago that was called the Mozart effect, the result of some research that reported that listening to a Mozart sonata increased the ability of some college students on a test of mental ability. Popular wisdom twisted that into the notion that listening to music makes you smarter, which is more magic than science. What scientists say at the moment is that music instruction will make you smarter about music, and that for music to help children they need to begin instruction really, really early.

Music consists of rhythms and mathematic like patterns which change a child’s brain and way of thinking. Research which was published in the Journal of Neuropsychology suggests that children who study music will as adults will benefit from music study. The research shows “….that the region of the brain involved in verbal memory is larger in adult musicians than in those who are not musicians.” Mental Ability Affected by Music Study  Further, Rauscher’s study concludes “the research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling.” Music Affects a Child’s Cognitive Ability

Steven Ross Pomeroy writes in the Scientific American article, From

David Markus blogs about the education trend, “Artful Thinking” in the article, The Social and Emotional Benefits of Being Weirdly Creative:

The boy is small in stature, bespectacled, and unnaturally articulate for a sixth grader. I have heard from his teachers and principal at Annapolis, Maryland’s Wiley H. Bates Middle School about the academic benefits of arts integration, how various forms of artistic expression (PDF) are employed to learn math and science as well as language arts. I have also learned about the virtues of a critical-thinking technique known as Artful Thinking, developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, that deepens students’ intellectual understanding generally by deepening their understanding of the multiple layers of artistic expression.

The Harvard School of Education has an “Artful Thinking” site:

This is the description of the program:

Artful Thinking is a program that was developed by Harvard Project Zero in collaboration with the Traverse City, Michigan Area Public Schools (TCAPS). The program was one component of a larger TCAPS grant from the US Department of Education that aimed at developing a model approach for integrating art into regular classroom instruction. The purpose of the Artful Thinking Program is to help teachers regularly use works of visual art and music in their curriculum in ways that strengthen student thinking and learning.

The Artful Thinking program is designed to be used by the regular classroom teacher. While it originally targeted grades K-12, the Artful Thinking approach is also currently used in post-secondary education and in museums. The program focuses on experiencing and appreciating art, rather than making art. It has two broad goals: (1) To help teachers create rich connections between works of art and curricular topics; and (2) to help teachers use art as a force for developing students’ thinking dispositions.

The program takes the image of an artist’s palette as its central metaphor. Typically, a palette is made up of a relatively small number of basic colors which can be used and blended in a great variety of ways. The artful thinking palette is comprised of 6 thinking dispositions – 6 basic colors, or forms, of intellectual behavior – that have dual power: They are powerful ways of exploring works of art, and powerful ways of exploring subjects across the school curriculum.

The Artful Thinking palette comes alive through the use of “thinking routines.” Each thinking disposition has several thinking routines connected to it. Thinking routines are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. They are used flexibly and repeatedly — with art, and with a wide variety of topics in the curriculum, particularly in language arts and social studies.

 Artful Thinking Approach
 Thinking Dispositions
 Artful Thinking Palette
 Thinking Routines
 Curriculum Connections
 Art Resources
 Study Groups
 Related Websites
 Related Reading


There are reasons why arts education is important:

The Arts:

  • Engage students in learning.
  • Help children build thinking skills.
  • Enhance self-discipline, perseverance, hard work and creativity.
  • Provide a gateway to other subject areas.
  • Promote cross-cultural learning.
  • Teach the ability to utilize resources.
  • Enhance interpersonal skills of cooperation and teamwork.

The Arts Help Students Become:

  • Better Students
  • Innovators
  • Better Employees
  • Problem-solvers
  • Lifelong Learners
  • Collaborators

Current Research says:

In 1995, those who studied the arts more than four years scored 59 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math portions than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
The College Board, Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, 1995

Arts education contributes significantly to general academic achievement, including achievement in science, mathematics, social studies, language arts, other subjects and to the development of general cognitive skills, self-expression and fluency.
The Schooled Mind: Do the Arts Make a Different Way of Knowing?

Arts education is related to certain fundamental indicators of education success. For example, the arts in early childhood help prepare children for their first years of school.
Evaluation of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts

Arts education programs are related to safer and more orderly school environments.
Safe Havens: Portraits of Educational Effectiveness in Community Arts Centers

Arts education programs are related to keeping students interested and staying in school.
The Humanities Program Evaluation

Arts education programs make strong contributions to cross-cultural understanding.
North American Indian Music Instruction: Student Self Concept Influences Upon Attitudes, Cultural Perceptions and Achievement

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein


Importance of Arts Education                   

Why Arts Education is Important          

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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