The understanding of the Arts and how it impacts overall student learning is changing.
Previously the education approach to the Arts was from a viewing and appreciation perspective. Students would simply go along and watch drama and music performances and attend art galleries. But today, students are at the very centre of the art making process. They are making films, composing music, painting, sculpting and creating drama productions set for the stage.
Historically the Arts were not viewed to be as significant as the core learning subjects where the focus was firmly planted on literacy and numeracy. However new research shows that the study of the Arts has benefits across all areas of learning.
A wide ranging study on student participation in the Arts conducted by Professor Michael Anderson at The University of Sydney’s Department of Education and Social Work examined the academic and personal wellbeing outcomes for student participants over two years. The research found that students who engaged with the Arts in schools as active participants – as makers and doers – were more likely to do better in academic and social spheres than those who passively consumed the Arts.
The study found that students who more frequently participated in the Arts:
- Tended to be more academically engaged and motivated in other subjects.
- Had higher self-esteem.
- Experienced greater life satisfaction and a sense of meaning in life.
The Arts teaches students to think for themselves and undertake their own research. Participation in the Arts also helps students to understand why they do things, how they do things and how that is communicated to a wide audience.
Ignoring the arts will not only impact on arts-based learning but will also impact on the possibilities for students to do well in other learning areas.
This research shows that the Arts and literacy and numeracy are not mutually exclusive. The Arts can sit comfortably alongside the core learning areas as well as augment those activities, proving that the Arts should be at centre of student learning, rather than on the periphery.
At Trinity, we teach the Arts not to train a generation of artists but to stimulate a way of being in the world – considering, reflecting, analysing and communicating. We recognise that the Arts are important in boys' education and that it has broader implications for the development of the whole student.
To discover how Trinity students are immersing themselves in the Arts or to find out about our upcoming Arts Festival, download our Arts Festival programme.