Tuesday, August 01, 2006

School 2.0: More Art, Less NCLB

As a former Art teacher, I am never surprised by the accomplishments of art students. I had students who often had zero interest in other school subjects but would fall in love with both the work and lifestory of one artist or another. And that would spark interests in reading, language, math, and dozens of related issues that are intimitely personal and pragmatic - moreso than any "course" on these subjects can stimulate.

So last Friday, another study [largely ignored] was released that talks about the importance of art to children's learning. There's some real juicy information in this report. Check it out.

Art program may aid student literacy skills -study by Torrye Jones, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A school-based art program appears to boost students' literacy skills, a study released by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York said on Friday.

The study, now in its second year, found that students who participated in "Learning Through Art," which places artists in city schools to work with children, showed improvements in various literacy skills.

Researchers interviewed 605 third-graders, some who took part in the program and others who did not, about a painting, Arshile Gorky's "The Artist and His Mother," and a children's book, "Kira-Kira," by Cynthia Kadohata.

The findings showed that students in the program used more words to express themselves in interviews and did better in skills such as thorough description, hypothesizing, reasoning and multiple interpretations.

But "Learning Through Art" had no effect on students' English language arts standardized test scores, the study said.

"The arts can be used as a tool for teaching critical skills that are necessary to literacy, and to ignore their potential for that is to ignore very powerful tools for the classroom," said Jackie Delamatre, education program coordinator at the museum.

So, students do better at all the things we care about - "skills such as thorough description, hypothesizing, reasoning and multiple interpretations" - but not on standardized English test scores.

Maybe it's a clue!!!!!!

The right-wing education bloviators who keep insisting that standardized testing is worthwhile should read these reports once in a while. Either that or take a few art courses. The scores won't improve but the cost and stress sure will diminish.

Tags: School 2.0, art, reading, NCLB, interpretation, education

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