Monday 9 February 2015

Learning through the Arts: What’s the value? How do you do it well?

Did you know that students participating in a one-off art gallery learning programme were shown to perform on average 9.1% better in their use of critical thinking skills than students who hadn’t? This improvement increased to about 18% for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and students from ‘minority’ groups. 

Auckland Art Gallery Schools’ Team do lots of research into best practice in Arts learning (and learning in general), and into the impact of Arts learning on students within and beyond the subject. We integrate this learning into the programming we develop for schools.

We wanted to share with you a few things we’ve found really interesting and useful lately, that we thought would be valuable for classroom teachers, in the classroom too.

Crystal Bridges study

  • American study, focusing on what learning came out of a one-off gallery programme for school students 
  • Largest study of its kind involving 10,912 Years 1–13 students and 489 teachers at 123 different schools 
  • Results show critical thinking, recall, tolerance, empathy and cultural interest increase
  • Effect is greatest for rural, high poverty and minority students 

Visible thinking skills

  • A flexible and systematic research-based approach to integrating the development of students’ thinking with content learning across subject matters. Visible Thinking has a double goal: on the one hand, to cultivate students’ thinking skills and dispositions; and, on the other, to deepen content learning. By thinking dispositions, we mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mind-set, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning opportunities and eager to take them 
  • At the core of Visible Thinking are practices that help make thinking visible: Thinking Routines loosely guide learners’ thought processes and encourage active processing. They are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. 

 Projects that use visible thinking skills to explore visual art and beyond

– Christa Napier-Robertson, Schools Programme Coordinator

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