Posts

The Science Behind Why Arts Should Be In Every Kid’s School Experience

So many who work in the arts have asked me if the arts are good for learning and the brain. It is common knowledge that arts can arouse passions.

The brain-based approach is to check out how it interfaces with the brain. Some believe that arts should be in school simply because many students thoroughly enjoy them. Others advocate a higher curriculum standing for arts on equal footing with math, science and language arts.

There’s real science behind why arts should be in every kid’s school experience, every day. There is now substantial evidence that arts are a stand-alone discipline. I would argue that arts support the neurobiological development of the brain in ways that enhance the social and academic performance of our students.

You’ll see that arts alter the neurobiological trajectory of the brain in ways that strengthen the academic and social skills unlike any other intervention. Arts change the brain like no other discipline. When schools reject arts, kids lose out. For students to do well in school, their brain must function in ways that are academically and socially useful.

What do the arts bring to the table?

The teachers are constantly trying new classroom strategies learned from books, trainings and conferences. The administrators are constantly inspiring, motivating and coaching their staff in endless ways to sharpen their collective saw. Unfortunately, this approach of trying to get better performance from students and staff can become overwhelming.

There seems to be no limit to the quantity of available strategies, so it becomes very much of a hit or miss approach. This results in a dizzying and endless stream of programs, themes, missions, projects and, ultimately, burnout among many educators.

But what if there was another way to go about this process. What if you could do less and get more? What is actually different in the brain that matters in the school context? The brain-based approach is to find out what works in the brain that runs academic achievement.

I suggest the existence of multiple operating systems in the human brain, each of which actually determine success in school. These operating systems (e.g. academic, social, athletic, survival) contribute towards your student success. But ultimately, since schools are all expected to reach performance goals, the academic operating system is of most relevance. Understanding this system is critical to a school’s success. Read more

The Challenges Involved in Brain-Based Learning



Every New Discipline Has Challenges

Typical challenges involved in brain-based learning include:

  1. finding people and sources you can trust to learn from (websites, famous people, etc.)
  2. deciding on the format or vehicle for learning (in person, on-line, books?)
  3. prioritizing the time to make it happen (learning plus the implementation)

Sorry, there are no shortcuts with the last one of the three. But the other two, we can help you with those challenges involved in brain-based learning. First, here’s how to find people you can trust. First, do they “walk the talk?” This means, when you attend one of their workshops, do they actually role model and use the strategies they are proposing? Jensen workshops will always model what is being taught because:

  1. it shows we believe in what we do, and
  2. it’s easier for you to understand it when you can see it used.

Additionally, Jensen always cites his sources. You can rest assured that every single thing offered, proposed or used is research based, cited and classroom tested. That means you can trust the learning, knowledge and skills you get at every Jensen workshop.

The second of the two challenges refers to the type of “learning format.” We suggest the “PPPA” format.

The first “P” means “paper.” Get one of Jensen’s books on the topic you want to learn about and learn the background, so you already have your brain pre-exposed to the topic.

The second “P” means “in person.” There’s no better way than to get the content in a workshop where you can see, hear and practice every skill.

The third “P” is to go back to your “paper notes” from the workshop when you return to school. Use them as a guide for the final “A”.

“A” is for “apply.” This is where you implement the ideas and experience the joy of success.

All of this new knowledge is based on a brand-new paradigm. The paradigm began with the research, which was eventually aggregated into simple, but powerful principles. Let’s get a quick introduction to the principles because they help you overcome the challenges of brain-based learning.

The challenges come about the same way challenges come about for anything that is new and innovative. The questions are asked, and they can be answered. With the proper research, testing, and validation, we all can find better paths to achievement.

The principles behind the technique…

Read more