Arts stimulation a lesson in good literacy
Evidence shows that students who study creative arts do better in other areas too, writes Andrew Taylor
A quality education in arts and music produced improved academic outcomes for students in disadvantaged schools in western Sydney, according to the 2011 report, Bridging the Gap in School Achievement through the Arts, conducted for The Song Room by researchers led by Professor Brian Caldwell, the managing director of Educational Transformations and a former dean of education at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Caldwell said the gain in the NAPLAN scores of students engaged in The Song Room program was up to one year in literacy.
”That finding in itself is really remarkable when across the country we’ve been spending hundreds of millions of dollars for several years in efforts to improve literacy among students and really there’s been no impact across the nation as a whole,” he said.
”NAPLAN scores have essentially flatlined so if there is an initiative that has that kind of impact, serious attention should be given to it and [there should be] strategies to promote it.”
Professor Caldwell said too many students were denied access to arts and music classes taught by specialist teachers.
”The evidence here and in other countries is this unrelenting pursuit of improving literacy and numeracy scores just through testing and focusing on that aspect of the curriculum to the detriment of the arts has not worked,” he said.