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Does Arts Learning Support Learning in Other Disciplines? A New Study Finds Authentic Connections

When arts learning is part of the school curriculum through collaborative in-school arts partnerships, children think more effectively and creatively and become more engaged in their work, concludes a new study.

March 11, New York -- When arts learning is part of the school curriculum through collaborative in-school arts partnerships, children think more effectively and creatively and become more engaged in their work. That is the conclusion of a new three-year in-depth study announced today by ArtsConnection, a leading arts-in-education organization. 

Dr. Rob Horowitz, Associate Director of the Center for Arts Education Research at Columbia University's Teachers College, led the research team that analyzed children's development at four New York City elementary schools where ArtsConnection had comprehensive programming. He presented his findings publicly for the first time at a March 10/11 national symposium in New York, "Beyond Arts Integration:  Defining Learning in Arts Education Partnerships."

The research found that in classrooms with the most effective instruction and collaboration, arts learning supports cognitive skills (elaborative thinking, verbal and non-verbal expression, focus, originality); social skills (cooperative learning, compassion and empathy, relationships with teachers and peers); and personal development (changes in self-perception and personal growth in areas of positive risk-taking, motivation, self-confidence and a sense of ownership of the learning process).

This research project was conducted as part of a federal grant awarded in 2001 to ArtsConnection -- one of 11 organizations in the country and the only one in New York State to receive a grant in the first round of the U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program.

"There has been increasing over-emphasis on using standardized test scores in academic subjects to evaluate all aspects of education," said Dr. Horowitz.  "This has led to a narrowing of the curriculum to testable skills in core subjects.  The cognitive, social and personal areas that we explored in our study present a valuable alternative for research on the effects of arts learning."

 "All arts education programs are under tremendous pressure to assess and measure," said ArtsConnection's Executive Director, Steven Tennen. "We've taken a long hard look at the real implications of arts learning and teaching. We believe our research and research methodology can serve as a roadmap for others, informing the work of organizations and school districts far beyond New York that are also exploring the arts and literacy connection."

Some 250 distinguished arts specialists, educators, teaching artists, researchers and funders from across the country participated in the two-day ArtsConnection symposium, that also provided a forum for in-depth discussion about the current conditions in arts education partnerships, and the practices that have proven to be effective in facilitating arts partnerships between teaching artists and classroom teachers.

The Dana Foundation, which provided lead support for this collaborative meeting, is publishing a book emanating from the discussions at the symposium, with a featured chapter on the results of Dr. Horowitz's research.

The research was conducted in four New York City elementary schools that participated in long-term arts partnerships with ArtsConnection. These schools serve very diverse, multi-national communities, where over 90 percent of the students qualify for free lunch.  Instruction at these schools was provided by a combination of teaching artists, classroom teachers, and arts specialists.  The arts curriculum centered on dance and theater.

Data was collected through site observations, interviews, case studies and rating scales.  Data sources included teachers, students, school administrators and artists.

Symposium sponsor ArtsConnection has established a national model for creating successful partnerships among schools, artists and communities. Workingwith the New York City Department of Education since 1979, ArtsConnection today utilizes a faculty of over 150 teaching artists to carry out programs (grades preK-12) in all art forms in over 100 public City schools, reaching a total audience of 30,000 students, teachers and parents/caregivers annually.

The symposium was co-sponsored by The Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. Additional symposium funding was provided by the American Express Company.  The symposium was also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Major gifts for the research project were also received from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Louis Calder Foundation, Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation and The Greentree Foundation.

Published Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2005

Does Arts Learning Support Learning in Other Disciplines? A New Study Finds Authentic Connections

March 11, New York -- When arts learning is part of the school curriculum through collaborative in-school arts partnerships, children think more effectively and creatively and become more engaged in their work. That is the conclusion of a new three-year in-depth study announced today by ArtsConnection, a leading arts-in-education organization. 

Dr. Rob Horowitz, Associate Director of the Center for Arts Education Research at Columbia University's Teachers College, led the research team that analyzed children's development at four New York City elementary schools where ArtsConnection had comprehensive programming. He presented his findings publicly for the first time at a March 10/11 national symposium in New York, "Beyond Arts Integration:  Defining Learning in Arts Education Partnerships."

The research found that in classrooms with the most effective instruction and collaboration, arts learning supports cognitive skills (elaborative thinking, verbal and non-verbal expression, focus, originality); social skills (cooperative learning, compassion and empathy, relationships with teachers and peers); and personal development (changes in self-perception and personal growth in areas of positive risk-taking, motivation, self-confidence and a sense of ownership of the learning process).

This research project was conducted as part of a federal grant awarded in 2001 to ArtsConnection -- one of 11 organizations in the country and the only one in New York State to receive a grant in the first round of the U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program.

"There has been increasing over-emphasis on using standardized test scores in academic subjects to evaluate all aspects of education," said Dr. Horowitz.  "This has led to a narrowing of the curriculum to testable skills in core subjects.  The cognitive, social and personal areas that we explored in our study present a valuable alternative for research on the effects of arts learning."

 "All arts education programs are under tremendous pressure to assess and measure," said ArtsConnection's Executive Director, Steven Tennen. "We've taken a long hard look at the real implications of arts learning and teaching. We believe our research and research methodology can serve as a roadmap for others, informing the work of organizations and school districts far beyond New York that are also exploring the arts and literacy connection."

Some 250 distinguished arts specialists, educators, teaching artists, researchers and funders from across the country participated in the two-day ArtsConnection symposium, that also provided a forum for in-depth discussion about the current conditions in arts education partnerships, and the practices that have proven to be effective in facilitating arts partnerships between teaching artists and classroom teachers.

The Dana Foundation, which provided lead support for this collaborative meeting, is publishing a book emanating from the discussions at the symposium, with a featured chapter on the results of Dr. Horowitz's research.

The research was conducted in four New York City elementary schools that participated in long-term arts partnerships with ArtsConnection. These schools serve very diverse, multi-national communities, where over 90 percent of the students qualify for free lunch.  Instruction at these schools was provided by a combination of teaching artists, classroom teachers, and arts specialists.  The arts curriculum centered on dance and theater.

Data was collected through site observations, interviews, case studies and rating scales.  Data sources included teachers, students, school administrators and artists.

Symposium sponsor ArtsConnection has established a national model for creating successful partnerships among schools, artists and communities. Workingwith the New York City Department of Education since 1979, ArtsConnection today utilizes a faculty of over 150 teaching artists to carry out programs (grades preK-12) in all art forms in over 100 public City schools, reaching a total audience of 30,000 students, teachers and parents/caregivers annually.

The symposium was co-sponsored by The Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. Additional symposium funding was provided by the American Express Company.  The symposium was also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Major gifts for the research project were also received from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Louis Calder Foundation, Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation and The Greentree Foundation.

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