The Arts as a Tool to Engage Students in All Schoolwork
It’s every teacher’s goal – and every parent’s dream. Finding a way to get students more engaged in their schoolwork can be one of the most fundamental challenges of education, but recent studies are beginning to show the arts can be one of the most effective catalysts to achieve that end.
Arts-integrated schools are likely to be more engaging places to be, causing students to want to become more engaged in their schoolwork.
Dr. Kenneth Elpus, Assistant Professor of Music in the UMD School of Music was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to delve into the correlation between arts education and positive youth development (the first competitive research grant program in NEA’s history). Elpus has been immersed in a study that he hopes will quantify that exposure to the arts during an adolescent’s education helps them achieve more positive near-term and long-term outcomes in terms of psychological adjustment, delinquency, substance abuse and involvement with risky behavior.
Dr. Elpus was invited to comment on a recent BBC news story entitled “Power of Art: Can painting improve your grades?” that explores interesting ways in which schools are using the arts to improve academic performance and reduce behavior problems. Elpus candidly appraised the existing body of research by hypothesizing to the BBC’s Jane O’Brien that at the least, arts-integrated schools are likely to be more engaging places to be, causing students to want to become more engaged in their schoolwork.
Watch the BBC interview here, and stay tuned for the top-line results of Elpus’ NEA-funded research, due out later this year. We expect it will be music to our ears in terms of substantiating the value of arts in education.