By Tim Williams

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A newly released study shows Maryland students who study the arts do better in other academic subjects.

Tim Williams has more on how creative expression may help the learning process.

It is a way to teach the same lesson to the same students but with a different approach each time–using the arts to bridge the understanding gap between academic subjects. 

“I, in my regular classroom, would integrate science into my art classroom.  I would integrate social studies, math, English into my regular classroom,” said Highlandtown Elementary art teacher Chad Shoales.

A new study by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities states art education is an effective tool for school reform, even as funding for the medium has dwindled.  At Highlandtown Elementary, the principal agrees the method works.

“I think if students have a tendency to be able to be creative through music and dance and visual arts and things of that nature, then they have an opportunity to greater grasp concepts they are responsible for demonstrating on standardized tests,” said Principal Nancy Fagan.

The “Reinvesting in Arts Education” study examined recent data from Maryland schools and others.  It finds integrating the arts with other subjects is particularly helpful in raising certain achievement levels.  The nonprofit group “Arts Every Day” works to fund such programs in Baltimore City public schools.

“Great to see the administration is standing behind something that I think a lot of arts educators believe from the beginning and it feels good to be validated at this time,” said Arts Every Day director Kathy Beachler.

The report shows how visual arts instruction improves reading and learning to play an instrument improves math.  Now, as long as the budget deficits don’t eliminate the arts completely, students will continue to benefit.

“Kids won’t know that it’s the same lesson, but they’ll learn more knowledge,” Shoales said.

Schools in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Chicago and New York were also examined in the study.

Comments (5)
  1. Adam Zynger says:

    see link to my website:
    I ahve an exhibit right now at the SMC Campus Center of UMd Medical Center, which deals with the affinity between art and science

    Parallel Reality
    Paintings and fractal prints
    by Adam Zynger, April 1- May 31, 2011
    University of Maryland, Baltimore, SMC Campus Center
    621 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
    my phone 410 653 0380

  2. Morey Ladini says:

    In the Primary grades, at least:
    Music develops timing and coordination
    Art develops hand / eye coordination, visualization and better math performance

  3. Duke Thompson says:

    It makes sense that using the right side of the brain and the left side of the brain together is very good for learning and holistic awareness and the arts (music, visual art, dance, poetry, theatre) do this. Not to mention the great benefits of the arts themselves.

  4. Chachung Hussein Cruz says:

    I worked with a team to pilot an reading and arts integration program for K-2nd graders in a Title I school in Baltimore County- our kids scores increased by 38% after only two years of implementation.

  5. Adam Zynger says:

    Digital Forms and Textures – a new exhibit by Adam Zynger at AIA links fractal art to architectural design
    AIA (American Institute of Architects)
    Baltimore Bookstore and Gallery
    11 ½ West Chase Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
    Gallery hours: Monday – Thursday 9 am – 4:30 pm

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