Archived Information

Transforming Ideas for Teaching and Learning The Arts - March 1997

A Major Asset of the Arts in Education Is to Make Schools a More Engaging Learning Environment


"Wherever classroom teachers, arts resource teachers, and principals worked unselfishly to change a school's learning atmosphere, change took place."
Arts IMPACT 49
"School documents state that, 'success is achieved by creating reasons and needs for learning through the arts.' "
U.S. Department of Education 50

Americans have taxed themselves billions of dollars to construct large buildings in which their children are to be educated. Yet, the environments in many of the schools lack liveliness and charm. Pestalozzi in Switzerland and Bronson Alcott in Massachusetts understood the importance of making their schools enjoyable places to be. We practice this in our kindergartens, but once children are full-fledged students we tend to revert to no-nonsense, lackluster establishments.

Interesting, colorful schools improve attendance, not only of the pupils but of the teachers as well. Parents form different impressions of the institution and may become more involved.

Practice

At Roosevelt Middle School for the Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the hallways were decorated--not with graffiti and vandalism--but with displays of artwork by students. Students directed the attention of teachers, parents, and visitors to their sculpture or their own section of art on the wall, thus demonstrating a broad ownership of the school building and program. 51

Aiken Elementary School in South Carolina used the arts to change the spirit of the place. The school moved from among the lowest in academic performance to a position in the upper 1 percent in the State. 52
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[Enriching the Experiences of All Children as They Study Literature, History, Geography, Foreign Languages, Math, or Science is a Gift Arts Specialists Offer the School] [Table of Contents] [Conclusion]