Tag Archives: The Teaching Institute for Excellence

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/

The Next Generation Science Standards

15 Apr

Moi wrote about the importance of science education in STEM majors profit college students of color:

As a society, we want all college students to be successful. For many students of color, college is often a daunting experience. According to the National Center on Education Statistics:

The percentage of college students who are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black has been increasing. From 1976 to 2009, the percentage of Hispanic students rose from 3 percent to 12 percent, the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students rose from 2 percent to 7 percent, and the percentage of Black students rose from 9 percent to 14 percent. During the same period, the percentage of White students fell from 83 percent to 62 percent. Nonresident aliens, for whom race/ethnicity is not reported, made up 3 percent of the total enrollment in 2009. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98

See, Minorities and the Recession-Era College Enrollment Boom http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/06/16/minorities-and-the-recession-era-college-enrollment-boom/

Patrice Peck is reporting in the Huffington Post article, STEM Majors Prove Especially Profitable For Minority Students: Study:

And with studies showing that college degrees still hold their value, despite the economic downturn, choosing a major that yields the right post-graduate rewards is more important than ever.

According to a study published in the June issue of Research in Higher Education, majoring in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) proves to be the most profitable for minority students, whether they actually pursue the STEM field professionally or not.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, followed more than 1,000 Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino and black students over a period of nine years in an effort to determine the profitability of STEM degrees and help bridge the gap of minorities in those fields.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/stem-majors-profitable-minority-students_n_1785021.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

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

The study, The Earnings Benefits of Majoring in STEM Fields among High Achieving Minority Students examines the benefits of STEM education for college students of color.

Citation:

Title: The Earnings Benefits of Majoring in STEM Fields among High Achieving Minority Students

Full-Text Availability Options:

Help Finding Full Text |  Find in a Library |  Publisher’s Web Site

Related Items:Show Related Items

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

Resources:

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

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

Justin Gillis writes in the New York Times article, New Guidelines Call for Broad Changes in Science Education:

Educators unveiled new guidelines on Tuesday that call for sweeping changes in the way science is taught in the United States — including, for the first time, a recommendation that climate change be taught as early as middle school.

The guidelines also take a firm stand that children must learn about evolution, the central organizing idea in the biological sciences for more than a century, but one that still provokes a backlash among some religious conservatives.

The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, are the first broad national recommendations for science instruction since 1996. They were developed by a consortium of 26 state governments and several groups representing scientists and teachers.

States are not required to adopt them, but 26 states have committed to seriously considering the guidelines. They include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kansas and New York. Other states could also adopt the standards.

Educators involved in drawing them up said the guidelines were intended to combat widespread scientific ignorance, to standardize teaching among states, and to raise the number of high school graduates who choose scientific and technical majors in college, a critical issue for the country’s economic future.

The focus would be helping students become more intelligent science consumers by learning how scientific work is done: how ideas are developed and tested, what counts as strong or weak evidence, and how insights from many disciplines fit together into a coherent picture of the world. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/science/panel-calls-for-broad-changes-in-science-education.html?emc=eta1

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Purpose of Next Generation Science Standards

Why new science standards? Why now?

Science—and therefore science education—is central to the lives of all Americans, preparing them to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers.  It is also the case that if the nation is to compete and lead in the global economy and if American students are to be able to pursue expanding employment opportunities in science-related fields, all students must all have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers. States have previously used the National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council (NRC) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to guide the development of their current state science standards. While these two documents have proven to be both durable and of high quality, they are around 15 years old.  Needless to say, major advances have since taken place in the world of science and in our understanding of how students learn science effectively. The time is right to take a fresh look and develop Next Generation Science Standards.

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Purpose for the Standards

Contents and Research Background of the Standards

Standards Development Process

Next Steps for the Standards and Framework

http://www.nextgenscience.org/faq

Obviously these standards are aligned for the common core and there are proponents and opponents of the common core. Time will tell if these standards move more students’ academic achievement.

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 ©