Arts in Education, Its a No Brainer!

Art/Music/Design/Performing Art/Writing - 24 Feb 2016 by Maz McGann

In working with a range of organisations over the last twelve months I have come across a couple of fantastic resources / articles about the value of arts in education settings.  There is vast amounts of information about how it can transform classrooms into vibrant, active and positive places for learning and growing!  

If you are a teacher, artist or a parent you should definitely check these out and perhaps we need to do more to advocate for a different sort of education system!  Don't get me wrong, I know of schools and individual teachers that are innovative and able to think outside the box - introducing creative activities that facilitate better and more meaningful learning.  But as a whole the education system, in my opinion, is very conservative and bureaucratic, which makes trying new things difficult (and often expensive).  

Here is some food for thought! 

"Assume that your children have limitless creative potential and begin to nurture it. Assume that your children's ingenuity is the one true safety net available in times of rapid change. Send your kids to art school and they will have exactly what they need to become anything they might need to be."  

I came across this in an article the other day from the Huffington Post  by Dustin Timbrook.  Here is the link, which also has a clip of this Ted Talk. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dustin-timbrook/want-your-children-future-art-school_b_9131836.html

Another article from the Huffington Post talks about the use of Arts in STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the tremendous capacity for it to improve students ability to solve problems, develop ideas and be empathetic.  It talks about a study by the National Science Foundation in the USA that measured the capacity of kids who had been exposed to arts based learning compared to those that haven't.  The article includes a range of great statistics that are very useful.  I do love a good stat - and two of my favourites out of the article include....

"The innovation outputs of high school student teams who had arts-based learning showed 111% greater insight into the challenge, a 74% greater ability to clearly identify a relevant problem, a 43% improvement in problem solving, and their innovations had 68% more impact."

"120 days after the study, high school students who had arts-based learning were 24% more likely to have been able to apply the learning to school, extracurricular, work or volunteer activities, than students who had traditional learning."

Here is a link to the full article.  And for what its worth, if ever I am in the position to employ a young person, I am definitely going to more inclined to choose the one who has some arts based learning under their belt.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-m-eger/arts-based-learning-of-st_b_8724148.html?platform=hootsuite&ir=Australia 

The other resource that has come across my desk called Mindpop and it is the brainchild of some very clever people from the University of Texas.  Its not just about the value of learning creative skills but using arts to help with other subject areas like maths, science and literacy.  

Here is a link to the Mindpop website with a video that explains more about the program.  My favourite quote from the video is from Dr Brent Hasty, the Executive Director of Mindpop...

"The more we engage the imagination and curiosity of students, the more motivated they are to learn".  


Mind pops are those wonderful little moments when everything makes sense - you know when the penny drops, as my mum would say.  Any program that supports a few more pennies dropping is worth a look I think! 

Our very own Carclew, SA's premiere youth arts agency has developed a very strong connection with the Mind Pop program and has delivered pilot programs in SA based on Art based learning principles.  Check out their Creative and Body Based Learning Program that is in the pipeline for this year.  https://carclew.com.au/Program/creative-and-body-based-learning-  

What do you all think?  Had any significant mind pops and was there art involved?