Arts

Arts integration fills gaps in core-subject learning

976809_10151636660431212_131722587_oArts education within our society seems to be seen in the light of a separate component and/or supplementation to core subject learning. A shift in perspective should take place in the integration of arts education within the teaching of the core academic subjects. Research has shown that this integration enables to secure gaps in learning amongst students that struggle in varying areas of academics. What seems to occur is that the creativity from the arts integration stimulates the different parts of the brain that allow the student to see connections between the various subjects. This broader view of academia, facilitated by the arts integration, places the student in a unique position to create future connections within the life they live. They now see the world from new points of view by the connections they make. This might be the single most important component of arts-core subject integration.


 

Effective classroom arts integration can reduce or eliminate educational achievement gaps for economically disadvantaged students, according to a Mississippi State University research report.

In other words, when teachers reinforce academic concepts with the arts, students learn more and score higher on standardized tests.

MSU’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development generated the report, which evaluated the impacts of the Mississippi Whole Schools Initiative. The program supports teachers’ efforts to use the arts–composing, painting, drawing or sculpting; playing, singing or listening to music; and dancing and dramatic performance–to foster retention and learning.

Judith Philips, Stennis research associate, headed the development of “Arts Integration and the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Whole Schools Initiative: A Stennis Institute Study for Decision-Makers.” The report initially was presented at the Mississippi Arts Commission’s 2013 Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute.

Philips said the research verifies that effective arts integration reinforces classroom learning.

“Schools that effectively implement arts integration have either significantly reduced or completely eliminated the educational achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students,” she said. “This research indicates that arts integration can achieve that objective in Mississippi public schools.”

Currently, almost 5,500 Mississippi students in eight public and four private elementary schools are participating in WSI. The study compared results on language arts and mathematics Mississippi Curriculum Tests, fourth-grade writing assessments and fifth-grade science tests to scores of students not enrolled in arts integrated classrooms.

“The percentage of students scoring ‘proficient or above’ on standardized tests was significantly higher at schools participating in the Whole Schools Initiative that had effectively implemented the WSI arts integration model, when compared to student performance statewide and when compared to student performance for the school district within which the WSI school was located,” Phillips told arts commission participants during her presentation.

Karen Brown, MSU instructor in curriculum, instruction and workforce development, teaches an arts integration course in MSU’s College of Education. She said she’s not surprised at the Stennis report’s findings because students, especially young children, gravitate to learning that way.

“Not only is it repetition, but it’s time spent whenever a child is learning something in a different way, that means they’re learning it again,” Brown said. “They’re repeating it, and so the immersion in their learning is a different form–through the arts–but it’s also more time spent on the content, so they start thinking critically and creatively.”

Brown said all MSU elementary education majors are required to take the arts integration course. She also takes a student group to WSI’s annual summer institute.

“Arts integration, from the perspective of a classroom teacher, is teaching both the content area and the arts together, and that takes some special training and special knowledge, but when you do that, it immerses the child in the content,” Brown said. Phillips said arts integration requires quality professional development and mentorships for teachers. Providing that training for teachers requires additional resources that many state school systems may not be able to provide, she acknowledged.

“Given our state’s budget constraints, the Stennis Institute recognizes that additional resources to support these efforts will need to come from either federal grants or from philanthropic organizations,” Phillips said. “To that end, we collaborated with the arts commission and wrote a grant for the commission to the U.S. Department of Education for an Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program grant.”

If awarded, the DOE grant should pay for a national workshop leader and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts teaching artist to visit Mississippi on a quarterly basis. Phillips said the visiting expert would provide professional development, conduct student learning initiatives and train state teaching artists in implementing Moving through Math, a curriculum using movement, music, spatial reasoning, and interpersonal skills to teach mathematics, verbal and visual skills.

Brown said parents interested in having their children involved in arts integration should inquire with their respective school system administrators or inform other parents and teachers at parent-teacher organization meetings. Then, local advocates could request the school system apply for a WSI grant.

“I’d like to see increased involvement, funding and awareness from stakeholders, legislators, teachers, parents–everyone,” Brown said. “We have data that arts integration is working and making a difference in Mississippi classrooms.”

To read the Stennis Institute report’s executive summary or entire content, visit www.mswholeschools.org/research/whole-schools-initiative-evaluation-and-research.

The above story is based on materials provided by Mississippi State UniversityNote: Materials may be edited for content and length. / SienceDaily.com

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Future Focus: Test Scores or Arts?

In a recent publication by the Detroit Free Press we see music gain appleheartfruitspotlight amongst political battles being fought over changes in education budgets across all 50 states. Music education is being swept under the carpet of the congressional isles that can’t seem to get along on the many issues that are facing our country. As our country leaders continue to fight, we see drastic changes in the way we deliver arts education to the next generation. Separate entities are taking initiative to enable programs that support the creative arts education beyond what is fiscally allotted by the government.

Keith Wunderlich, the author of the DFP article showcased how the community took important action towards furthering this mission:

Then something extraordinary happened. People in the community stepped forward and began working with New Haven Community Schools to bring the music back. They dug up old sheet music. They donated old clarinets, flutes, guitars, drum sets and more that had been gathering dust in attics, spare bedrooms and garages. In addition to musical instruments, the community gave our students their time and financial support.

We heard the same chorus again and again: These community residents, many of them products of New Haven Community Schools, kept saying how music had been such an important part of their education, how music had helped them become who they are today.

Our community came together with educators and students to help provide a solution to a challenge all public schools in Michigan face, and that was how to save a program the community wanted but could no longer afford.

Music and education in the arts is different than any other academic field and, should be approached as such. Creativity, as a whole, is difficult to score, analyze, and standardize. For this reason, we find that when communities and individuals take action in supporting education systems and institutions in the development of arts programs there is advancement amongst students in all areas of education. Music has been shown to connect both sides of the brain, allowing for the student to understand various other subject matter in a more comprehensive manner.

Wunderlich goes on to state that many of our current successful leaders have benefited from arts in their lives, stating:

Music education has been linked to so many singularly successful people that its impact cannot be ignored. Google co-founder Larry Page (high school saxophone), former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (clarinet), Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (guitar), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (piano) and so many other highly successful individuals credit their music education for giving them the courage to create, to collaborate for success, to see solutions where none may be immediately obvious.

Conclusively, our focus on test scores are important so that the future our our world is smart and well educated. Arts education is experiential; the student learns best when experiencing the application of what he has learned. This could be argued as being the best way of learning anything. Therefore, everyone can contribute to the future generations’ success by supporting experiential situations for children to enjoy different areas of art.

We all know deep down that the core subjects aren’t the end-all-be-all to a well rounded educational foundation. If we truly want well-rounded educational foundations for the next generation we must invest our time and resources into the development of independently supported mechanisms that allow access to arts experiences. Because, deep down is where art lives and, deep down we want everyone to enjoy it — most importantly our children.  


Detroit Free Press: Source

Acoustic Guitar Collection | THE ARTS

This is a collection of my solo acoustic guitar works currently published on youtube.

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ART:: L.T. Wheeler: Review and Analysis

Today we are doing a simple Art Review! These are fun for me, as I really love the progressiveness and mind expanding properties that art can encompass.

Today we are taking a look into two photographs by artist L.T. Wheeler, from Austin Texas. You will find these photographs expanding the way you see your environment in many ways.

“Urban Wounds” – © 2011, Louis T. Wheeler"Urban Wounds" - © 2011, Louis T. Wheeler

 |What we find in this photographs is many different dimensions that seem to make themselves present in unassuming places. The way in which Mr. Wheeler used lighting effects and photographic picturing, we see color alteration in the higher of levels. Furthermore, you may notice that there was more to this photograph before the light effect were installed. The darkness that sits around the centerpiece of the photograph implies to the viewer that which is dark in our lives to which surrounds us.| 

l. t. wheeler © 2011

|I love this photograph! This particular photograph from Mr. Wheeler is particularly interesting due its coincidence with how real everyday things in life are, but yet colorful. The color aspects of each photograph of Mr. Wheeler’s keeps you looking and finding the details. In this photographs(pictured above), you find yourself seeing things that you may have not notices otherwise. The difference? In this case we are indebted to L.T. for illuminating and coloring the small aspects of our everyday existence.|

By: Thomas McGregor