Tag Archives: Arts Education

Adding the arts to science produces STEAM

25 Feb

In STEM majors profit college students of color, moi wrote:
The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM defines STEM:

What is STEM Education?
Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics
In 2001, Judith A. Ramaley, a former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division was credited by many educators with being the first person to brand science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum as STEM. It was swiftly adopted by numerous institutions of higher education as well as the scientific communities as an important focus for education policy focus and development.
TIES always views STEM instruction and the STEM resources that support the instruction with a trans-disciplinary lens. Issues in our world arise and are demanding of solutions. Since before Da Vinci, we have taken up this call to action through the design process. It asks for a multiplicity of pathways to offer a series of plausible solutions. From that process has come the power of prototyping, and beta testing. Rarely have our classrooms offered children the chance to engage in such questioning and processes. Now, through STEM education we have the chance to invite our children to look at their school work as important to the world.
For information on how TIES STEM Consulting can work with your organization to launch a comprehensive STEM curriculum program contact us at 443-955-9168 or via email . http://www.tiesteach.org/stem-education.aspx

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/stem-majors-profit-college-students-of-color/

Many are asking whether the focus on STEM education is too narrow and arts should also be added to the curriculum to produce STEAM.

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

Berkowicz and Ann Myers wrote a thoughtful Education Week essay, The Arts Are Essential:

In his February 18th article in Edutopia, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, director of Stanford Humanities Lab at Stanford University wrote about the arts and said,
It is both a form of serious play governed by rules and techniques that can be acquired through rigorous study, and a realm of freedom where the mind and body are mobilized to address complex questions — questions that, sometimes, only art itself can answer: What is meaningful or beautiful? Why does something move us? How can I get you to see what I see? Why does symmetry provide a sense of pleasure?
The answers to those questions are both very personal and somewhat universal. But none can be answered without activating a different part of the brain than the part that accumulates all the information presented in 13 years of education. The arts are where we expand our ability to transcend generations and cultures. The recognition that the current dynamics of human interaction happened centuries ago as well and are recorded in literature offers a perspective no lecture or textbook can offer. The masterpieces of painters and composers, long gone, move us still. And, we can learn about textures, colors, light and sound. Producing art is an expression that connects one from the inside to the world. Music offers a study in changing times, experimentation, and expression that reveal the undertones of each period. Art is both about the creation of the piece and the appreciation of it. Simple appreciation needs attention and development these days….
Most teachers are confident that if their students were engaged and motivated, they could teach them. Well, we suggest that the evidence is telling us that presently we have students with a wider range of values about education, abilities, disabilities, challenges both in and outside of our buildings, health issues, and socio-economic and cultural differences. At the same time, we are pressed to finally make changes to our system that offer a more relevant education to our students, preparing them for the world in which they will live as adults. We have to make it different. Without art, we deny students the opportunity for
…serious play governed by rules and techniques that can be acquired through rigorous study, and a realm of freedom where the mind and body are mobilized to address complex questions — questions that, sometimes, only art itself can answer (Schnapp, 2014).
And it is through those experiences students will be better able to attend to other complex problems in science, technology, engineering, math, and society with the skill, engagement and motivation that every teacher wants for their students. Minimizing the arts makes no sense but neither does preserving them as a separate and apart from academics, especially in this time of focus on STEM subjects. They are interrelated. While we are struggling to find the best way to best educate today’s students, we cannot let the arts slip away. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/leadership_360/2014/02/the_arts_are_essential.html

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 http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~faae/why.html

All areas of the brain need to be stimulated.

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

Learning and mastery of a subject is important. But, so is nourishing the “whole child.” The arts are just as important to learning as are the sciences. STEM should become STEAM.

Resources:
STEM Education Coalition http://www.stemedcoalition.org/

What Is STEM Education? http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5995/996.summary

Importance of Arts Education
http://www.educationfund.org/programs/artoffoundobjects/

Why Arts Education is important
http://www.lacountyartsforall.org/our-approach/why-arts-education-is-important

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Parent homework: University of London study, classical music in assemblies and classes increased pupils’ listening power and aspirations

8 Jan

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. http://journaltimes.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/mozart-s-legacy-early-music-lessons-may-help-children-later/article_75110c66-bd8d-5579-92ae-222c06aa5103.html

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 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/health/vital-signs-mental-abilities-more-music-yields-more-words.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/C/Children’s%20Health&emc=eta1 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 http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Can_Music/

Sarah Harris of the Daily Mail reported about a University of London study in the article, Playing classical music to your child can improve their listening skills later on in life:

Playing classical music such as Beethoven and Mozart to young children boosts their concentration and self-discipline, a new study suggests.
Youngsters also improve their general listening and social skills by being exposed to repertoires from composers including Ravel, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn.
In addition, they are likely to appreciate a wider range of music in later years, according to a study from the Institute of Education, (IoE), University of London.
Susan Hallam, professor of education and music psychology at the Institute of Education, University of London evaluated a programme developed by Apollo Music Projects which introduces children aged seven to ten to classical music and its composers.
The scheme involves a whole school assembly followed by six lessons at class level, with children experiencing different instruments and musical concepts and a formal concert.
Musicians explain what children should listen for and launch question and answer sessions. As the sessions progress, the listening tasks become more complex.
The programme has been delivered to 4,500 children in 26 primary schools in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, East London, as well as to over 22,000 youngsters in assemblies and concerts.
26 members of staff and 252 children in nine primary schools were questioned about the programme.
Teachers rated developing the ability to listen as the main benefit, followed by musical knowledge and development and the boosting of concentration levels, aspirations, self-discipline and personal and social skills. Some staff also pointed to improvements to English…
BENEFITS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC
Playing classical music to children boosts their concentration and self-discipline, according to the study.
It improves their general listening and social skills.
Children exposed to the works of Beethoven and Mozart, for example, are more likely to appreciate a wider range of music in later years.
Some teachers involved in a scheme to expose seven to 10-year-olds to classical music reported seeing an improvement in their English.
Another study found that musicians have sharper minds and are less likely to suffer a mental decline.
Mastering instruments such as the piano, flute or violin improves people’s ability to pick up mistakes and fix them quickly.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2536032/Playing-classical-music-baby-improve-listening-skills-later-life.html#ixzz2pscqsdPO

The question is not whether children should be exposed to and study music. Children should be exposed to a wide range of the arts. The issue is what content is appropriate. A Book Rags Student Essays lays out the issues with hip hop music and its sometimes negative effects on the culture. Negative Effects of Hip Hop http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/9/21/202351/048/ The late C. Delores Tucker and Tipper Gore were ridiculed when they pointed out the negative effects of glorifying violence and demeaning women by calling them “bitches and hos.” Lest people think that hip hop music and hip hop culture only affect children of color, think again. NPR had a segment entitled “why white kids love hip hop.” Why White Kids Love Hip Hop http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4773208 The negative life style choices and clothing glorified by many “gangsta” artists are affecting mainstream culture.

There is no one right type of music, good music comes in all genres. There is music that feeds the soul and music that destroys the soul, psyche, and culture. There is a positive hip hop movement. Essensce, a magazine targeted at Black woman and the Berklee College of Music joined forces to produce Positive Hip Hop

Berklee College of Music, in an effort to influence the direction of rap, is joining Essence magazine’s Take Back the Music campaign, meant in part to encourage young artists who offer alternatives to the violent and sex-laden lyrics found in some popular hip-hop music. http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2006/01/30/aiming_for_an_alternative_hip_hop/

Pandora and Youtube has information which helps to promote positive hip hop. Amazon has a positive hip hop guide. Just as parents want to provide a nutritious menu of food, they need to make sure that young minds are properly nourished as well. http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Hip-Hop-Music-Guide/lm/2H4NNZYVON2YD

Resources:

Importance of Arts Education http://www.educationfund.org/programs/artoffoundobjects/

Why Arts Education is Important http://www.lacountyartsforall.org/our-approach/why-arts-education-is-important

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Studies: Music training sharpens the pathways of the mind

27 Nov

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. http://journaltimes.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/mozart-s-legacy-early-music-lessons-may-help-children-later/article_75110c66-bd8d-5579-92ae-222c06aa5103.html

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 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/health/vital-signs-mental-abilities-more-music-yields-more-words.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/C/Children’s%20Health&emc=eta1 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 http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Can_Music/

The question is not whether children should be exposed to and study music. Children should be exposed to a wide range of the arts. The issue is what content is appropriate. A Book Rags Student Essays lays out the issues with hip hop music and its sometimes negative effects on the culture. Negative Effects of Hip Hop http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/9/21/202351/048/ The late C. Delores Tucker and Tipper Gore were ridiculed when they pointed out the negative effects of glorifying violence and demeaning women by calling them “bitches and hos.” Lest people think that hip hop music and hip hop culture only affect children of color, think again. NPR had a segment entitled “why white kids love hip hop.” Why White Kids Love Hip Hop http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4773208 The negative life style choices and clothing glorified by many “gangsta” artists are affecting mainstream culture.

There is no one right type of music, good music comes in all genres. There is music that feeds the soul and music that destroys the soul, psyche, and culture. There is a positive hip hop movement. Essensce, a magazine targeted at Black woman and the Berklee College of Music joined forces to produce Positive Hip Hop http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2006/01/30/aiming_for_an_alternative_hip_hop/:

Berklee College of Music, in an effort to influence the direction of rap, is joining Essence magazine’s Take Back the Music campaign, meant in part to encourage young artists who offer alternatives to the violent and sex-laden lyrics found in some popular hip-hop music.

Pandora and Youtube has information which helps to promote positive hip hop. Amazon has a positive hip hop guide. Just as parents want to provide a nutritious menu of food, they need to make sure that young minds are properly nourished as well. http://www.amazon.com/Positive-Hip-Hop-Music-Guide/lm/2H4NNZYVON2YD

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, Music Training Sharpens Brain Pathways, Studies Say:

New research suggests that the complexity involved in practicing and performing music may help students’ cognitive development. Studies released last month at the Society for Neuroscience meeting here find that music training may increase the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decisionmaking, and complex memory, and they may improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once. Research also found that starting music education early can be even more helpful….
Learning to Multitask
For example, a team of researchers led by Julie Roy, a postgraduate researcher at the auditory-neuroscience-research library at the University of Montreal in Canada, tested 15 musicians with 10 to 25 years of experience, as well as 15 nonmusicians of the same age, in sensory-processing tasks. The participants were asked to report touch sensations while also hearing sounds, ignoring what they heard, and reporting only what they felt on a finger. Prior research has shown that to be difficult to do; normally, those who feel one touch but hear two sounds will think they have felt two touches.
Longtime musicians, however, who must simultaneously read music, feel their instrument, and respond to the sounds it produces, were more than twice as accurate at distinguishing touch and hearing.
In another study, Yunxin Wang, a researcher at the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning at Beijing Normal University in China, examined the structures of the brains of 48 young adults ages 19 to 21 who had studied music at least one year between the ages of 3 and 15. After controlling for gender and the amount of time they had trained overall, Ms. Yunxin found those who had begun musical training before age 7 had significantly more-developed brain areas associated with language and executive function.
Ana Pinho, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, argued that musical education can be helpful at any age. “Even after stroke and disease, starting musical training can still help you get more from your brain,” she said. “All of these findings show [musical training] can create a lot of plasticity that can produce effectiveness across the brain, in cognition and behavior.”
Ms. Pinho used functional magnetic resonance imaging to record the blood flow in the frontal lobes of 39 pianists while they improvised music on a specially designed keyboard. Musicians with longer experience in improvising music had better and more targeted activity in the regions of the brain associated with creativity and the ability to transfer working memory to long-term memory.
‘Toolbox for Creativity’
While specific parts of the brain can be responsible for a motor task such as strumming a G-string, researchers are finding that a musician interpreting Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air on a G String,”—much less creating such a masterpiece—uses more of a brainwide process…
Mr. Damasio leads an ongoing longitudinal study by USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute on the development of musical skills—and neurological development—of students in the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. For the past year, the Effects of Early Childhood Musical Training on Brain and Cognitive Development project has worked with the youth orchestra, which provides free musical instruments and training to low-income students in the city. Researchers are tracking students for five years, beginning at ages 6 or 7, who have been matched in age, socioeconomic status, and prior cognitive ability….
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/11/25/13music.h33.html?tkn=LOVF6Qc4r6NHWDJdMyvC7rQGziOgG0XGGnJe&cmp=clp-edweek

Here is the press release from the 2013 Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego:

Embargoed until Nov. 11, 5:15 p.m. PST Contacts: Kat Snodgrass, (202) 962-4090
Press Room, Nov. 9-13: (619) 525-6260 Anne Nicholas, (202) 962-4060

MUSICAL TRAINING SHAPES BRAIN ANATOMY AND AFFECTS FUNCTION
Training before age seven has bigger impact on brain anatomy; improvisation can rewire brain
SAN DIEGO — New findings show that extensive musical training affects the structure and function of different brain regions, how those regions communicate during the creation of music, and how the brain interprets and integrates sensory information. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain, an alternative tool in education, and treating a range of learning disabilities.
Today’s new findings show that:
• Long-term high level musical training has a broader impact than previously thought. Researchers found that musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight (Julie Roy, abstract 550.13, see attached summary).
• The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult; beginning training before the age of seven has the greatest impact (Yunxin Wang, abstract 765.07 see attached summary).
• Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the brain (Ana Pinho, MS, abstract 122.13, see attached summary).
Some of the brain changes that occur with musical training reflect the automation of task (much as one would recite a multiplication table) and the acquisition of highly specific sensorimotor and cognitive skills required for various aspects of musical expertise.
“Playing a musical instrument is a multisensory and motor experience that creates emotions and motions — from finger tapping to dancing — and engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain. It has the potential to change brain function and structure when done over a long period of time,” said press conference moderator Gottfried
Schlaug, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an expert on music, neuroimaging and brain plasticity. “As today’s findings show, intense musical training generates new processes within the brain, at different stages of life, and with a range of impacts on creativity, cognition, and learning.”
This research was supported by national funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations. Find more information about music, learning, and brain development at BrainFacts.org. http://www.sfn.org/~/media/SfN/Documents/Press%20Releases/2013/Neuroscience%202013/Music.ashx

The steps in the learning process are summarized in a booklet authored by Stella Vosniadou. How

Children Learn Among her findings are the following key concepts that are necessary in the learning process:

1. Active involvement – students must pay attention and participate in learning
2. Social participation – children internalize the culture and habits of the communities where they live
3. Meaningful activities – activities should relevant and have some real world application that it understood by the child
4. Relating new information to prior information – the Westport program has designed its curriculum in accord with this finding
5. Being strategic
6. Engaging in self-regulation and being reflective – children should learn how to set goals and plan
7. Restructuring prior knowledge – children have to learn how to solve internal inconsistencies
8. Aiming at understanding rather than memorization – the Westport program is attempting to promote understanding and a firm foundation for proceeding to the next set of principles. http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/archive/publications/EducationalPracticesSeriesPdf/prac07e.pdf

Learning and mastery of a subject is important. But, so is nourishing the “whole child.” The arts are just as important to learning as are the sciences. STEM should become STEAM.

Resources:

Importance of Arts Education http://www.educationfund.org/programs/artoffoundobjects/

Why Arts Education is Important http://www.lacountyartsforall.org/our-approach/why-arts-education-is-important

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Adding arts education to STEM to produce STEAM

28 Aug

In STEM majors profit college students of color, moi wrote:

The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM defines STEM:

 What is STEM Education?

Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics

In 2001, Judith A. Ramaley, a former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division was credited by many educators with being the first person to brand science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum as STEM. It was swiftly adopted by numerous institutions of higher education as well as the scientific communities as an important focus for education policy focus and development.

TIES always views STEM instruction and the STEM resources that support the instruction with a trans-disciplinary lens. Issues in our world arise and are demanding of solutions. Since before Da Vinci, we have taken up this call to action through the design process. It asks for a multiplicity of pathways to offer a series of plausible solutions. From that process has come the power of prototyping, and beta testing. Rarely have our classrooms offered children the chance to engage in such questioning and processes. Now, through STEM education we have the chance to invite our children to look at their school work as important to the world.

For information on how TIES STEM Consulting can work with your organization to launch a comprehensive STEM curriculum program contact us at 443-955-9168 or via email . http://www.tiesteach.org/stem-education.aspx https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/stem-majors-profit-college-students-of-color/

Many are asking whether the focus on STEM education is too narrow and arts should also be added to the curriculum to produce STEAM.

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 STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand:

Renewing our focus on STEM is an unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor.  Science and technology are the primary drivers of our world economy, and the United States is in the lead.

But there is a growing group of advocates who believe that STEM is missing a key component – one that is equally deserved of renewed attention, enthusiasm and funding. That component is the Arts. If these advocates have their way, STEM would become STEAM.

Their proposition actually makes a lot of sense, and not just because the new acronym is easy on the ears. Though many see art and science as somewhat at odds, the fact is that they have long existed and developed collaboratively. This synergy was embodied in great thinkers like the legendary Leonardo Da Vinci and the renowned Chinese polymath Su Song. One of Carl Jung’s mythological archetypes was the artist-scientist, which represents builders, inventors, and dreamers. Nobel laureates in the sciences are seventeen times likelier than the average scientist to be a painter, twelve times as likely to be a poet, and four times as likely to be a musician.

Camouflage for soldiers in the United States armed forces was invented by American painter Abbot Thayer. Earl Bakken based his pacemaker on a musical metronome. Japanese origami inspired medical stents and improvements to vehicle airbag technology. Steve Jobs described himself and his colleagues at Apple as artists.

At TED 2002, Mae Jemison, a doctor, dancer, and the first African American woman in space, said, “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”

Despite the profound connection between art and science, art programs across the nation are on the chopping block. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed significant funding cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts. Schools nationwide are eschewing art programs to instead focus on teach-to-the-test courses catered to math and reading. The problem here is that a narrow focus on testing reinforces narrow-minded thinking. Young Americans are being educated out of creativity.

By teaching the arts, we can have our cake and eat it, too. In 2008, the DANA Arts and Cognition Consortium, a philanthropic organization that supports brain research, assembled scientists from seven different universities to study whether the arts affect other areas of learning. Several studies from the report correlated training in the arts to improvements in math and reading scores, while others showed that arts boost attention, cognition, working memory, and reading fluency.

Dr. Jerome Kagan, an Emeritus professor at Harvard University and listed in one review as the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century, says that the arts contribute amazingly well to learning because they regularly combine the three major tools that the mind uses to acquire, store, and communicate knowledge: motor skills, perceptual representation, and language.

Art and music require the use of both schematic and procedural knowledge and, therefore, amplify a child’s understanding of self and the world,” Kagan said at the John Hopkins Learning, Arts, and the Brain Summit in 2009.

With this realization in mind, educators across the nation are experimenting with merging art and science lessons. At the Wolf Trap Institute in Virginia, “teaching artists” are combining physical dance with subjects like math and geometry. In Rhode Island, MIT researcher Jie Qui introduced students to paper-based electronics as part of her master’s thesis exploring the use of technology in expressive art. Both programs excited students about science while concurrently fueling their imaginations. A potent blend of science and imagination sounds like the perfect concoction to get our country back on track. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/08/22/from-stem-to-steam-science-and-the-arts-go-hand-in-hand/?WT.mc_id=SA_emailfriend

The steps in the learning process are summarized in a booklet authored by Stella Vosniadou. How Children Learn Among her findings are the following key concepts that are necessary in the learning process:

1.        Active involvement – students must pay attention and participate in learning

2.        Social participation – children internalize the culture and habits of the communities where they live

3.        Meaningful activities – activities should relevant and have some real world application that it understood by the child

4.        Relating new information to prior information – the Westport program has designed its curriculum in accord  with this finding

5.        Being strategic

6.        Engaging in self-regulation and being reflective – children should learn how to set goals and plan

7.        Restructuring prior knowledge – children have to learn how to solve internal inconsistencies

8.       Aiming at understanding rather than memorization – the Westport program is attempting to promote understanding and a firm foundation for proceeding to the next set of principles.

Learning and mastery of a subject is important. But, so is nourishing the “whole child.” The arts are just as important to learning as are the sciences. STEM should become STEAM.

Resources:

STEM Education Coalition http://www.stemedcoalition.org/

What Is STEM Education? http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5995/996.summary

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The great class divide: Arts education disappearing in poorer schools

3 Apr

Opportunities to participate in the arts should be available in ALL neighborhoods and among ALL social groups. A report, Critical Evidence: How The ARTS Benefit Student Achievement provides reasons why the arts are important for student achievement:

A growing body of studies, including those in the research compendium Critical Links, presents compelling evidence connecting student learning in the arts to a wide spectrum of academic and social benefits. These studies document the habits of mind, social competencies and personal dispositions inherent to arts learning. Additionally, research has shown that what students learn in the arts may help them to master other subjects, such as reading, math or social studies.

Students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. In a well-documented national study using a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Moreover, the high arts-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school.12 The concept of transfer, in which “learning in one context assists learning in a different context,” has intrigued cognitive scientists and education researchers for more than a century.13 A commonly held view is that all learning experiences involve some degree of transfer both in life and learning outside the school as well as learning within the school. However, the nature and extent of these transfers remain a topic of great research interest. Recent studies suggest the effects of transfer may in fact accrue over time and reveal themselves in multiple ways.

Researchers continue to explore the complex processes involved in learning and the acquisition of knowledge and skills. One promising line of inquiry focuses on how to measure the full range of benefits associated with arts learning. These include efforts to develop a reliable means to assess some of the subtler effects of arts learning that standardized tests fail to capture, such as the motivation to achieve or the ability to think critically.

The relationship between arts learning and the SAT is of considerable interest to anyone concerned with college readiness and admissions issues. The SAT Reasoning Test (formerly known as the SAT I) is the most widely used test offered by the College Board as part of its SAT Program. It assesses students’ verbal and math skills and knowledge and is described as a “standardized measure of college readiness.”

Many public colleges and universities use SAT scores in admissions. Nearly half of the nation’s three million high school graduates in 2005 took the SAT. Multiple independent studies have shown increased years of enrollment in arts courses are positively correlated with higher SAT verbal and math scores. High school students who take arts classes have higher math and verbal SAT scores than students who take no arts classes.

Arts participation and SAT scores co-vary—that is, they tend to increase linearly: the more arts classes, the higher the scores. This relationship is illustrated in the 2005 results shown below. Notably, students who took four years of arts coursework outperformed their peers who had one half-year or less of arts coursework by 58 points on the verbal portion and 38 points on the math portion of the SAT.

http://www.nasaa-arts.org/Publications/critical-evidence.pdf

Unfortunately, many poorer schools are cutting back or eliminating arts education.

Christine Armario of AP writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune article, Report: Fewer elementary schools offering visual arts, drama, dance; poor students hurt most:

Elementary schools without drama classes. High schools with large numbers of poor students that do not offer music.

Those are two of the bleaker pictures that emerged Monday from a report by the U.S. Department of Education on the state of arts education.

Fewer public elementary schools are offering visual arts, dance and drama classes than a decade ago, a decline many attribute to budget cuts and an increased focus on math and reading. The percentage of elementary schools with a visual arts class declined from 87 to 83 percent. In drama, the drop was larger: From 20 percent to 4 percent in the 2009-10 school year.

Music at the elementary and secondary school levels remained steady, though there were declines at the nation’s poorest schools….

http://www.startribune.com/nation/145804075.html

A recent study found that at-risk youth benefit from arts education.

According to The National Endowment for the Arts press release:

New NEA Research Report Shows Potential Benefits of Arts Education for At-Risk Youth

Youth Have Better Academic Outcomes, Higher Career Goals, and Are More Civically Engaged

March 30, 2012

Contact:
Sally Gifford
202-682-5606
giffords@arts.gov

Washington, DC — At-risk students who have access to the arts in or out of school also tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement, according to a new NEA report, The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies. The study reports these and other positive outcomes associated with high levels of arts exposure for youth of low socioeconomic status.

The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth study uses four separate longitudinal studies (three from the U.S. Department of Education) to track children, teenagers, and young adults who had high or low levels of arts engagement in or out of school. Those activities included coursework in music, dance, theater, or the visual arts; out-of-school arts lessons; or membership, participation, and leadership in arts organizations and activities, such as band or theater.

The study focuses on the potential effects of arts engagement on youth from the lowest quarter of socioeconomic status. Although most of the arts-related benefits in this report applied only to these at-risk youth, some findings also suggest benefits for youth from advantaged backgrounds.

“Arts education doesn’t take place in isolation,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “It has to take place as part of an overall school and education reform strategy. This report shows that arts education has strong links with other positive educational outcomes.”

Among the key findings:

Better academic outcomes — Teenagers and young adults of low socioeconomic (SES) status who have a history of in-depth arts involvement (“high arts”) show better academic outcomes than low-SES youth with less arts involvement (“low arts”). They earn better grades and have higher rates of college enrollment and attainment.

  • Low-SES students who had arts-rich experiences in high school were ten percent more likely to complete a high school calculus course than low-SES students with low arts exposure (33 percent versus 23 percent).
  •  High-arts, low-SES students in the eighth grade were more likely to have planned to earn a bachelor’s degree (74 percent) than were all students (71 percent) or low-arts, low-SES students (43 percent).
  • High-arts, low-SES students were 15 percent more likely to enroll in a highly or moderately selective four-year college than low-arts, low-SES students (41 percent versus 26 percent).
  • Students with access to the arts in high school were three times more likely than students who lacked those experiences to earn a bachelor’s degree (17 percent versus five percent).
  • When it comes to participating in extracurricular activities in high school, high-arts, low-SES students are much more likely also to take part in intramural and interscholastic sports, as well as academic honor societies, and school yearbook or newspaper — often at nearly twice or three times the rate of low-arts, low-SES students. 

Higher career goals — There is a marked difference between the career aspirations of young adults with and without arts backgrounds.

  • High-arts, low-SES college students had the highest rates of choosing a major that aligns with a professional career, such as accounting, education, nursing, or social sciences (30 percent), compared to low-arts, low-SES students (14 percent) and the overall SES sample (22 percent).
  • Half of all low-SES adults with arts-rich backgrounds expected to work in a professional career (such as law, medicine, education, or management), compared to only 21 percent of low-arts, low-SES young adults.

More civically engaged – Young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not, with comparatively high levels of volunteering, voting, and engagement with local or school politics. In many cases, this difference appears in both low-and high-SES groups.

  • High-arts, low-SES eighth graders were more likely to read a newspaper at least once a week (73 percent) compared to low-arts, low-SES students (44 percent) and the overall SES sample (66 percent).
  • High-arts, low-SES young adults reported higher volunteer rates (47 percent) than the overall sample and low-arts, low-SES young adults (43 and 26 percent respectively).
  • High-arts, low-SES young adults voted in the 2004 national election at a rate of 45 percent, compared to 31 percent of low-arts, low-SES young adults.

The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies was prepared for the National Endowment for the Arts by James S. Catterall, University of California Los Angeles, with Susan A. Dumais, Louisiana State University, and Gillian Hampden-Thompson, University of York, U.K. The report is one of the NEA’s latest efforts to conduct and commission research that examines evidence of the value and impactof the arts in other domains of American life, such as education, health and well-being, community liveability, and economic prosperity. The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth is available at arts.gov.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at www.arts.gov.

http://www.nea.gov/news/news12/Arts-At-Risk-Youth.html

Education must be funded equitably.

Sabra Bireda’s report from the Center for American Progress, Funding Education Equitably  finds that education funding is often inequitable.

The old axiom that the rich get richer certainly plays out in the American classroom—often to the detriment of achieving academic success. Data on intradistrict funding inequities in many large school districts confirm what most would guess—high-poverty schools actually receive less money per pupil than more affluent schools.1 These funding inequities have real repercussions for the quality of education offered at high-poverty schools and a district’s ability to overcome the achievement gap between groups of students defined by family income or ethnicity….

Moi has often said in posts at the blog that the next great civil rights struggle will involve access for ALL children to a good basic education. A Key component in that goal is equitable education funding for ALL schools.

Related:

Arts Involvement Narrows Student Achievement Gap http://www.miller-mccune.com/education/arts-involvement-narrows-student-achievement-gap-40745/

11 Reasons the Arts are Important http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-reasons-arts-are-important

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©