Archived Information

Transforming Ideas for Teaching and Learning The Arts - March 1997

Lead Students to New Ways of Solving Problems Through Unique Challenges in the Arts, Both Mental and Physical

"The arts also enhance our nation's economic competitiveness by developing creative problem-solving skills, imagination, self-discipline, and attention to detail."
Riley 29

"You can't create without analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem solving. So the arts are the perfect model for moving into higher levels of thinking."

Myers 30

"The Congress finds that the most significant contribution of the arts to education reform is the transformation of teaching and learning."

Improving America's
Schools Act of 1994 31

Arts educators can provide opportunities for different kinds of learning, such as musical, spatial, and bodily-kinesthetic, among others. 32 By fostering different kinds of learning, arts programs have been shown to help students use analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, including the ability to pose questions, analyze evidence, consider hypotheses, and defend a point of view. 33


Lisa DeLorenzo, a researcher now at Montclair State College in New Jersey, has studied the learning that children can gain through decision making when given musical problems by their teachers. She discovered that the desired degree of personal involvement with the task came about when the teacher was successful in posing a problem that was within the students' capabilities and of interest to them. The more options available to the students for solving the problem, the more they were apt to become involved. DeLorenzo saw musical problem solving as involving analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and inquiry. 34

Margo Faught, dancer and member of the physical education faculty at the Indiana School for the Blind, uses group problem solving to establish body awareness, good posture, and self confidence. The process is successful enough to have resulted in the New Visions Dance Company that gives public recitals. 35

[Provide Students With Opportunities to Develop a Craft While Exploring Originality and Analytical Thinking] [Table of Contents] [Employ Modern Technology to Encourage Imaginative Use of Artistic Material]