Transforming Ideas for Teaching and Learning The Arts - March 1997
Experiences in the Arts
Provide Opportunities for
Students to Learn as Much
about Themselves as They Do about the Subject Matter.
"While increased self-concept . . . is not, in the eyes of some educators, a high
priority objective for education in the arts, the evaluation team maintained it is
one of the most important outcomes of any educational program."
Arts IMPACT 20
"It taught me not to be nervous."
"It taught me. . . togetherness, care
of property, and respect for others".
"I felt like I could be somebody."
Comments from children in a
Title I Music Project for Migrant Workers 21
The arts can provide engaging learning environments for students who may lack interest in
other classes. These environments offer high levels of learning, meaning, and caring by
emphasizing direct participation both alone and with others. 22 Arts classes have been shown
to significantly improve attitudes relating to self-expression, trust, self-acceptance, acceptance
by others, self-awareness, and empowerment. 23
"Robert was a fifth grader who missed four or five school days regularly. He 'tuned out' both
the teacher's instruction and other classmates. . . . But Robert did connect with Albrecht Durer,
the 16th-century printmaker. . .[when he] was shown a self-portrait that Durer had painted at
age 13. That night he went home and drew his own self-portrait. His teacher suggested that he
begin keeping a sketchbook. Thereafter, three or four times a week, Robert shared his
sketchbook with the teacher and the class. . . . His identity was in his artwork. . . .His school
attendance improved and he looked more confident in the way he carried himself. . . . In
Robert's case it was through the historical component of the DBAE (Discipline-Based Arts
Education) program that he received his inspiration to be an artist. His self-esteem obviously
improved with his growth and experience as an artist." 24
A Title I Arts Project in Worcester County, Maryland, introduced the children of migrant
workers to playing band instruments three summer evenings a week. As an evaluation of the
project, the children were asked if they were helped in any way. Their responses appear to the
left on this page.
Recent changes in Title I, the federal government's largest investment in education, make it
possible for many schools across the country (22,000 total) to use Title I funds for schoolwide
improvement. The arts can play a vital role in such improvement.
[Students Need to Know the Elements of the Various Arts and Need to
Develop the Vocabularies With Which to Discuss Them]
[Provide Students With Opportunities to Develop a
Craft While Exploring Originality and Analytical Thinking]