Art Education Articles

Ten Lessons the Arts Teach 

By Elliot Eisner


1) The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.


2) The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.


3) The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.


4) The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.


5) The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.


6) The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.


7) The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.


8) The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.


9) The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.


10) The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.



Why Arts Education?

The National Art Education Association


What does art education do for the individual and for society? Why do we teach art? How does art contribute to education at all levels? There are many good answers to these questions, but three stand out as crucial in today’s social and economic climate. We believe that art—and therefore art education—means three things that everyone wants and needs.


Art Means Work 

Beyond the qualities of creativity, self-expression, and communication, art is a type of work. This is what art has been from the beginning. This is what art is from childhood to old age. Through art, our students learn the meaning of joy of work—work done to the best of one’s ability, for its own sake, for the satisfaction of a job well done. There is a desperate need in our society for a revival of the idea of good work: work for personal fulfillment; work for social recognition; work for economic development. Work is one of the noblest expressions of the human spirit, and art is the visible evidence of work carried to the highest possible level. Today we hear much about productivity and workmanship. Both of these ideals are strengthened each time we commit ourselves to the endeavor of art. We are dedicated to the idea that art is the best way for every young person to learn the value of work.


Art Means Language

Art is a language of visual images that everyone must learn to read. In art classes, we make visual images, and we study images. Increasingly, these images affect our needs, our daily behavior, our hopes, our opinions, and our ultimate ideals. That is why the individual who cannot understand or read images is incompletely educated. Complete literacy includes the ability to understand, respond to, and talk about visual images. Therefore, to carry out its total mission, art education stimulates language—spoken and written—about visual images. As art teachers we work continuously on the development of critical skills. This is our way of encouraging linguistic skills. By teaching pupils to describe, analyze, and interpret visual images, we enhance their powers of verbal expression. That is no educational frill.


Art Means Values

You cannot touch art without touching values: values about home and family, work and play, the individual and society, nature and the environment, war and peace, beauty and ugliness, violence and love. The great art of the past and the present deals with these durable human concerns. As art teachers we do not indoctrinate. But when we study the art of many lands and peoples, we expose our students to the expression of a wide range of human values and concerns. We sensitize students to the fact that values shape all human efforts, and that visual images can affect their personal value choices. All of them should be given the opportunity to see how art can express the highest aspirations of the human spirit. From that foundation we believe they will be in a better position to choose what is right and good.


We in the National Art Education Association are committed to this three-part statement about the importance of art instruction for America’s children. Our specific recommendations for school art programs are set forth in Purposes, Principles, and Standards for School Art Programs and in Design Standards for School Art Facilities. In addition, our various publications describe in detail the views of leading art educators about the issues confronting the art teaching profession.


If you are interested in further information about these publications or about membership in the NAEA, subscriptions, orders, or information about art education, contact:


The National Art Education Association

1916 Association Drive

Reston, VA 20191-1590

(703) 860-8000

Fax (703)860-2960 



“The Impoverishment of American Culture

And the need for better Art Education”

by Dana Gioia

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Wall Street Journal, Leisure & Arts 


There is an experiment I’d love to conduct. I’d like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how many active NBA players, Major League Baseball players, and “American Idol” finalists they can name. Then I’d ask them how many living American poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, architects, classical musicians, conductors and composers they can name. I’d even like to ask how many living American scientists or social thinkers they can name.


Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O’Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey. I don’t think that Americans were smarter then, but American culture was. Even the mass media placed a greater emphasis on presenting a broad range of human achievement. I grew up mostly among immigrants, many of whom never learned to speak English. But at night watching TV variety programs like the Ed Sullivan Show, I saw--along with comedians, popular singers and movie stars--classical musicians like Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Rubinstein, opera singers like Robert Merrill and Anna Moffo, and jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong captivate an audience of millions with their art.


The same was true of literature. I first encountered Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, Lillian Hellman and James Baldwin on general-interest TV shows. All of these people were famous to the average American - because the culture considered them important. Today no working-class kid would encounter that range of arts and ideas in the popular culture. Almost everything in our national culture, even the news, has been reduced to entertainment, or altogether eliminated. The loss of recognition for artists, thinkers and scientists has impoverished our culture in innumerable ways, but let me mention one. When virtually all of a culture’s celebrated figures are in sports or entertainment, how few possible role models we offer the young. There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child’s imagination, and we’ve relinquished that imagination to the marketplace. I have a reccurring nightmare. I am in Rome visiting the Sistine Chapel. I look up at Michelangelo’s incomparable fresco of the “Creation of Man.” I see God stretching out his arm to touch the reclining Adam’s finger. And then I notice in the other hand Adam is holding a Diet Pepsi.


When was the last time you have seen a featured guest on David Letterman or Jay Leno who isn’t trying to sell you something? A new movie, a new TV show, a new book or a new vote? Don’t get me wrong. I have a Stanford MBA and spent 15 years in the food industry. I adore my big-screen TV. The productivity and efficiency of the free market is beyond dispute. It has created a society of unprecedented prosperity. But we must remember that the marketplace does only one thing - it puts a price on everything. The role of culture, however, must go beyond economics. It is not focused on the price of things, but on their value. And, above all, culture should tell us what is beyond price, including what does not belong in the marketplace. A culture should also provide some cogent view of the good life beyond mass accumulation. In this respect, our culture is failing us.


There is only one social force in America potentially large and strong enough to counterbalance this commercialization of cultural values, our educational system. Traditionally, education has been one thing that our nation has agreed cannot be left entirely to the marketplace--but made mandatory and freely available to everyone.


At 56, I am just old enough to remember a time when every public high school in this country had a music program with choir and band, usually a jazz band, too, sometimes even an orchestra. And every high school offered a drama program, sometimes with dance instruction. And there were writing opportunities in the school paper and literary magazine, as well as studio art training.


I am sorry to say that these programs are no longer widely available. This once visionary and democratic system has been almost entirely dismantled by well-meaning but myopic school boards, county commissioners and state officials, with the federal government largely indifferent to the issue. Art became an expendable luxury, and 50 million students have paid the price. Today a child’s access to arts education is largely a function of his or her parents’ income. In a time of social progress and economic prosperity, why have we experienced this colossal cultural decline? There are several reasons, but I must risk offending many friends and colleagues by saying that surely artists and intellectuals are partly to blame. Most American artists, intellectuals and academics have lost their ability to converse with the rest of society. We have become wonderfully expert in talking to one another, but we have become almost invisible and inaudible in the general culture. This mutual estrangement has had enormous cultural, social and political consequences. America needs its artists and intellectuals, and they need to re-establish their rightful place in the general culture. If we could reopen the conversation between our best minds and the broader public, the results would not only transform society but also artistic and intellectual life. There is no better place to start this rapprochement than in arts education. How do we explain to the larger society the benefits of this civic investment when they have been convinced that the purpose of arts education is to produce more artists, which is hardly a compelling argument to the average taxpayer?


We need to create a new national consensus. The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society. This is not happening now in American schools. What are we to make of a public education system whose highest goal seems to be producing minimally competent entry-level workers? The situation is a cultural and educational disaster, but it also has huge and alarming economic consequences. If the U.S. is to compete effectively with the rest of the world in the new global marketplace, it is not going to succeed through cheap labor or cheap raw materials, nor even the free flow of capital or a streamlined industrial base. To compete successfully, this country needs creativity, ingenuity and innovation.


It is hard to see those qualities thriving in a nation whose educational system ranks at the bottom of the developed world and has mostly eliminated the arts from the curriculum. Marcus Aurelius believed that the course of wisdom consisted of learning to trade easy pleasures for more complex and challenging ones. I worry about a culture that trades off the challenging pleasures of art for the easy comforts of entertainment. And that is exactly what is happening--not just in the media, but in our schools and civic life.


Entertainment promises us a predictable pleasure--humor, thrills, emotional titillation or even the odd delight of being vicariously terrified. It exploits and manipulates who we are rather than challenging us with a vision of who we might become. A child who spends a month mastering Halo or NBA Live on Xbox has not been awakened and transformed the way that child would be spending the time rehearsing a play or learning to draw.


If you don’t believe me, you should read the studies that are now coming out about American civic participation. Our country is dividing into two distinct behavioral groups. One group spends most of its free time sitting at home as passive consumers of electronic entertainment. Even family communication is breaking down as members increasingly spend their time alone, staring at their individual screens.


The other group also uses and enjoys the new technology, but these individuals balance it with a broader range of activities. They go out--to exercise, play sports, volunteer and do charity work at about three times the level of the first group. By every measure they are vastly more active and socially engaged than the first group. What is the defining difference between passive and active citizens? Curiously, it isn’t income, geography or even education. It depends on whether or not they read for pleasure and participate in the arts.


These cultural activities seem to awaken a heightened sense of individual awareness and social responsibility. Art is an irreplaceable way of understanding and expressing the world--equal to but distinct from scientific and conceptual methods. Art addresses us in the fullness of our being--simultaneously speaking to our intellect, emotions, intuition, imagination, memory and physical senses. There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories or songs or images.


Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions. And it remembers. As Robert Frost once said about poetry, “It is a way of remembering that which it would impoverish us to forget.” Art awakens, enlarges, refines and restores our humanity. 


Mr. Gioia is the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.


This article is a condensed version of his June 17 commencement address at Stanford University. 

Brain Storm: As neuroscientists begin to figure out how the brain learns, educators are using the research to change the way they teach.

By Caralee Adam 

Scholastic Magazine


The human brain is an amazing organ. And we’re only just beginning to understand its potential.


For one thing, it’s constantly changing. Its ability to adapt and rewire itself-its plasticity-was discovered only recently, in the late nineties.


Scientists previously thought we were born with all of our brain cells, but now we know that the brain can grow new neurons-and that physical exercise and mental stimulation can facilitate their growth, which has major implications for education.The brain is also sensitive to context and culture, says Kurt Fischer, director of the Mind, Brain, and Education master’s program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Different people have different interests and learn differently,” says Fischer. “When we engage people in their own interests, they are more awake and alive.”


Although we’re just starting to understand how the brain works, says Sarah Armstrong, a teacher, administrator, and author of Teaching Smarter With the Brain in Focus, we can extrapolate from the research and modify teaching methods accordingly. “We have enough information in the neuroeducation arena that we can begin to make these connections-and we should,” she says. “If we wait around until everything is fully corroborated, we may have missed a decade of students.”


Of course, it’s a tricky leap to change teaching methods in your district. Consider, though, three distinct ways that brain research is being used in schools today, from getting and maintaining students’ attention to incorporating motion into learning to understanding how to relate to your moodiest teenagers.


Getting Students’ Attention

Anyone who has ever stood in front of a classroom knows that trying to teach a student who isn’t paying attention can be tougher and less rewarding than a union negotiating session. Teachers from Maria Montessori to your typical substitute who’s simply trying to make it through the day have strived to create classes that connect with students, engage them, and link learning to prior knowledge. Now new information about the brain and learning is helping teachers move beyond the basics to create an environment that maximizes learning.


At Lone Tree Elementary in Lone Tree, Colorado, the entire school environment has been designed with the brain in mind. When students walk into the building, they are met with calming, darker colors, which prepare the brain for learning. Materials posted on the hallway walls reinforce the curriculum and expectations. In the classroom, everything on display has to do with what’s currently being taught.


“We’ve enriched the physical environment because the brain is a pattern seeker and [visual] learner,” says Suzan Crary-Hoover, the school’s principal, who retired this year. “The brain is asking, What do I do? What is the process?”


Diane Gilbert, a teacher at Kelly Mill Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina, used to cover her classroom walls with posters and lots of color. Redecorating with blues and blacks to make the room brain-friendly seemed “stark” to her at first, but it helped students focus. Blues can cause the brain to release 11 neurotransmitters that relax the body, while black and other dark colors can lower stress. “One of my students said, ‘I love your room. Before, I couldn’t concentrate because I wanted to read and look around,’ “ says Gilbert.


In Indiana’s Huntington County schools, agenda boards are posted in every room so students can anticipate what will happen next, says Tracey Shafer, the district’s superintendent. Plants, lamps, and curtains filter natural light, and there’s an absence of clutter. “It creates a learning environment that feels more like a well-kept living room,” Shafer explains.


Each classroom has “immersion” areas with supplemental resources that allow students to dig deeper into a subject, and materials rotate with the units. Classrooms are set up so kids can easily collaborate in small groups.


Teachers in the 6,000-student district received professional development training on brain-based teaching, which led to changes in curriculum, such as more collaborative learning and increased integration of subjects, says Shafer. The district set up model classrooms so teachers could observe brain-friendly lesson styles and strategies like using an “adult voice,” which is supportive and nurturing, rather than a “parent voice,” which is loud and directive and can cause resistance. They also learned the strategy of body mapping, in which the teacher touches a part of his body when introducing a concept verbally, providing the brain with another reference point to help it remember-and recall-the concept.


Eager to find a way to help struggling reading students in St. Mary Parish Schools in southern Louisiana, superintendent Don Aguillard turned to Fast ForWord from Scientific Learning, a reading intervention software package based on brain research. Like other software programs, Fast ForWord adapts to each learner, using answers to previous questions to make sure students pro gress effectively, without getting frustrated by a string of wrong answers or questions that are too easy.


In 2006, third, fourth, and fifth graders in the district’s lowest-performing elementary school spent 50 minutes a day at computers doing exercises to build their brains’ fitness in memory, attention, processing, and sequencing. While such training doesn’t replace basal reading, it does improve cognition, making it an effective supplement, Aguillard says.


Gains in comprehension and attention were evident in just 10 weeks, so the program was rolled out to more schools. From 2006 to 2009, schools with the new technology saw double-digit increases on Louisiana’s accountability test. Now, nearly 87 percent of the parish’s fourth graders are passing high-stakes testing, up from 65 percent, and the number who have to attend summer school has dropped from 240 to fewer than 90.


The technology “has been a game changer,” says Aguillard. The exercises help kids become more literate, he says, and “when they can read effectively, it can unleash enormous potential.”


Adding Motion to Learning

The brain works best when the body is active. More and more schools are incorporating physical movement into classrooms. Exercise can benefit the brain in two ways. Aerobic activity increases oxygen flow to the brain, making students mentally sharper than their sedentary peers, according to John Medina, author of Brain Rules and a developmental molecular biologist. Exercise also changes the molecular structure of the brain, increasing neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to stress, Medina adds.


After the author led a professional development session at Bonneville Joint School District in Idaho Falls, Idaho, some staffers tried out his first rule, “Exercise boosts brain power.” One middle school teacher put stationary bikes in a classroom so students could exercise while they read. That school has the highest reading score in the district, says Superintendent Charles Shackett.


A similar experiment is under way in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where iPrep Academy, a new magnet high school, has incorporated treadmills into its classrooms, giving students the freedom to jump on when they need a break or to walk as they read. The school recently attained top scores on the state’s tests and every ninth grader passed the end-of-year biology and geometry exams.


Exercise isn’t the only way to tie motion to learning, though. At Lone Tree Elementary, each class chooses a real-world problem to explore, says Crary-Hoover. In a project that focused on water conservation, students learned about communities in Haiti where people had to carry their water home. To feel what that was like, the students carried large water jugs themselves. The mix of mental and physical work drove the lesson home to different parts of their brains, making it easier to remember. “Understanding how children learn is the key to making it a joyful experience,” says Crary-Hoover.


Dealing With Teens

You don’t have to be a brain expert to know that trying to teach teenagers can be an especially difficult task. But understanding why teens think and act as they do can help you move past problems and adopt more effective strategies.


While the brain continues to grow and learn at every age, teenagers’ brains go through a specific set of circumstances that literally change the way they think. “In many ways, it’s the most tumultuous time of brain development since coming out of the womb,” said Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health on Frontline’s “Inside the Teenage Brain.” As teens grow new neural pathways, it can be hard for them to process so much information, and an overloaded brain can lead to irrational decisions. Also, brain scans of teens have shown that they read emotions differently than adults, misreading anger and sadness in other people’s faces. This can lead to nonsensical responses that are easily chalked up to moodiness.


The brain responds to frustration by shutting down, says Judy Willis, a neurologist and teacher in Santa Barbara, California. It’s a natural survival mechanism. “No kid wants to get in trouble and be yelled at,” says Willis. “No one chooses to act out. That’s not a good feeling.” Often, the trouble with a problem student is not laziness but rather that the person’s defenses are up and information can’t get through, she says. While teens are capable of great intellectual and artistic achievements, the prefrontal cortex-the section that governs organization-is still underdeveloped.


“When you know what the brain is doing, the bizarre behavior that kids engage in begins to make sense,” says Richard Marshall, cofounder of the University of South Florida Polytechnic’s Applied Neuroscience and Cognitive Electrophysiology Lab and coauthor of The Middle School Mind. When teens misbehave, it’s important to remember that they are doing so for a reason: They are trying get their needs met. “Our job is to step back, be calm, and figure out what they are trying to do,” Marshall says.


Sharon Neuman, principal of Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, and Marshall’s coauthor, says research has given her a better understanding of why teens do what they do. If adolescents encounter a challenge, they might go into a fight-or-flight state and take an action they later regret. Her message to teachers when kids act out: Stay calm, take a break, and then get to the bottom of the situation.


“That doesn’t mean there isn’t a consequence,” says Neuman. “But if they get upset and you yell back, you lose that relationship and they tend to shut down and don’t want to talk.”


Sandy Nobles, director of education at the J. Erik Jonsson Community School in Dallas, agrees. Jonsson has focused on brain-compatible classrooms since 1997, and in the past two years, the school has begun to teach kids about their brains.


“We are learning so much about brains and research in the neuro-education field as teachers, but kids need to know it,” Nobles says. “It gives them control of their emotions.” The school’s MindUp curriculum focuses on how the brain works and why people react the way they do to emotions.


Barriers to Change

If the research is so compelling, why aren’t more schools embracing brain-based teaching practices? “There’s not a lot of pressure to do it,” says Willard Daggett, chief executive officer of the International Center for Leadership in Education in Rexford, New York. Most educators, he says, are not interested in change or taking risks. He hopes the arrival of the Common Core will spur more brain-based instruction, since its assessments focus on application of knowledge. It will also force many schools to do more with less-which could make them more amenable to effective teaching methods that go beyond rote memorization.


Marshall suggests that teachers don’t have time to integrate a lot of new information. “Everyone is interested in high-stakes tests and who is reading,” he says. “It’s not that there is resistance; it’s that the focus has shifted to teacher accountability.”


The emphasis on standards and testing has narrowed the curriculum. As a result, schools can’t support activities that can engage students, such as music, says Kurt Fischer, of Harvard. “If we can engage kids in what really captures their interest, they can learn more effectively,” he says.


Sarah Armstrong, author of Teaching Smarter With the Brain in Focus, contends that the problem is funding. While there are grants for STEM or reading specialists, not enough money is dedicated to translating brain research into classroom practices. “Schooling as it exists today is not going away,” she says. “We have to take the existing infrastructure and think about how we can be smarter about what [educators] do. The brain piece is an essential piece of that. If we really want to have it infused into our practice, it has to be intentional. Things that are intentional are funded. The brain-based approach needs a source of funds that awaken people to the idea.”


But even with all these real pressures, sometimes the best way to go forward is to take a small step back and observe your classrooms in action, à la Montessori, says Nobles. “If you are looking for academic growth, you have to first look at the culture of the classroom. You are not going to get the scores up until the kids are ready to learn.”

Why All Parents Should Care about Arts Education

By Jill Coody Smits

July 28, 2017, TheWashington Post


When we think about “the arts,” often we go huge: the Louvre, Broadway, Swan Lake, Picasso. Perhaps without even realizing it, though, many parents instinctively know the value of the arts and incorporate them into our children’s lives in much smaller ways. Otherwise, why would we give our toddlers that first pack of crayons?


A few weeks ago, my 10-year-old daughter joined about 20 other tweens on a grand university stage for the culmination of six months of hard work with our citywide youth orchestra. Finely dressed in black bottoms and white shirts, the string ensemble snapped their bows to attention when their conductor raised her baton, then played the heck out of “Entry of the Tumblers.”


Though the performance was a thrill, in the context of an entire childhood it is hard to tease out how important the arts are to our kids’ lives and well-beings. I would like to think, however, that this recital will be remembered as some kind of turning point for my performance-averse child, who initially threatened to throw her audition.


I won’t know how accurate my theory is for quite some time, but there is a mounting collection of research that suggests arts education can have a powerful influence on kids in areas ranging from critical thinking and math skills to multicultural understanding and confidence.


Brian Kisida, assistant research professor at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, says the arts can give kids who may not be math whizzes or star athletes a place to excel, and finding that place to shine leads to all-important engagement. “There are correlational studies that show kids enrolling in high school arts programs are more likely to graduate and go to college.”


In addition, he says the arts can have the larger societal effect of increasing tolerance and empathy. “Art has a broadening effect because it presents a perspective on reality that challenges preconceived ideas and makes kids look at something from outside their comfort zone.”

Conversation Starter


On March 3 in Columbia, Mo., about 1,400 high school students got to experience that broadening effect when they attended the True/False Film Festival screening of “I Am Not Your Negro.” The screening was followed by a Q&A with film producer Hébert Peck, and the festival’s Education and Outreach Director Allison Coffelt said students submitted more than 200 questions. While a few were most curious about what it was like to work with Samuel Jackson, she says there were many “powerful questions asking what they could do and how they fit into this American history that shows the truth about our racist past.”


It’s an important conversation to have in our complex society, and one that probably would not have happened without a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant that made the screening —as well as other arts-education projects the Festival does with Columbia’s Ragtag Cinema and local public schools — possible. Coffelt describes that grant as “essential” to the work they do.


Art for All, Everywhere


Coffelt’s organization isn’t alone. The NEA is a 52-year-old government agency formed to give all Americans the opportunity to engage in the arts. It supports more than 2,000 programs, including arts education programs in every Congressional district, and they do it all on less than $150 million, accounting for just 0.003 percent of the federal budget in 2016.


In Lexington, Ky., for example, the Music on the Northside Initiative provided kids with free weekly music lessons and bluegrass group lessons focused on Appalachian-style music. Tulsa elementary students were taken to see a Tulsa Symphony presentation of “This Land is Your Land: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie.” Central and South Louisiana students learned about bullying during a Shreveport Opera Xpress performance of “The Ugly Duckling.”


Many parents, grandparents and friends recently got to experience the joy of that “collective coming together” as 20 tweens played the heck out of “Entry of the Tumblers.” My hope is that we won’t as a nation dismiss “the arts” — these everyday achievements that have the potential to make our children smarter, more open, more enriched, more confident, happier — as unessential. They are much more valuable than a Picasso on a wall.


Jill Coody Smits is the author of Expedition Austin: A Kid’s Guide to the Weirdest Town in Texas. You can follow her on Twitter @jcoodysmits.


Make Arts Education Standard

January 02, 2017 The Boston Globe

Editorial page


KIDS NEED TO learn about the arts. But teachers and parents have complained about the narrowing of elementary and secondary public education — specifically, that federal guidelines outlined by the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, and applied by nervous school districts, squeezed subjects other than English and math out of the curriculum.


The Obama administration essentially rewrote No Child Left Behind with the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act , which required that school performance be measured more broadly than by test scores and graduation rates alone. The new guidelines, as the Globe’s James Vaznis recently reported, require at least one additional indicator from a list that includes student discipline data, family engagement, student attrition rates, overall school climate, and other factors. But there’s one indicator on that list — the availability of arts education — that has proved notably helpful in lifting many of the others, including performance in reading, math, and standardized tests.


Arts education has been shown to improve student performance across the disciplines as well as to have a positive effect on other indicators like family involvement, absenteeism, and school culture and climate. Beyond teaching students about public performance or painting techniques, arts programs also deepen students’ involvement in their own education.


“We know that they want to come to school, and that their parents are more likely to come to a parent-teacher conference or a school event if their kids are involved in the arts of if the arts are involved in the event,” says Laura Smyth, a teacher and researcher who has studied the effects of arts education and is now the program director for the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Title I initiative. “Every parent wants to come and see their kid perform, right? And in terms of school climate and culture, if you go into a school where there are things that kids have made all over the school, it has a completely different feel than a school environment that doesn’t have those things.”


Crucially, the new federal standards recognize the particular importance of the arts for children from poor neighborhoods and for struggling schools.


In that regard, Boston has its own success story — Orchard Gardens K-8 school in Roxbury, which had been one of the state’s lowest-performing schools in 2003. As part of the Boston school system’s Arts Expansion initiative, Orchard Gardens instituted an arts program, then became eligible for the federal Turnaround Arts program. Test scores and attendance rates rose dramatically, and suspension rates dropped. Orchard Gardens went from being one of the worst schools in the system to one of the best.


No Child Left Behind did something important: It pressed districts to prioritize keeping students in school and making sure they mastered the most central academic subjects. The law also withheld excuses from schools that kept failing their students. Still, the creators of the law underestimated the extent to which districts would treat arts courses as a frill or, worse yet, a distraction from reading and math.


The new federal rules seek a balance, endorsing an element of a well-rounded education that actually improves performance in core academic subjects. Adopting arts programs makes troubled schools, or schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods, eligible for the current federal law’s Title I funds, with special Title II professional development funds for arts teachers. (Orchard Gardens replaced security guards with arts teachers.)


The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be reviewing its accountability standards beginning in January before submitting its Every Student Succeeds Act plan to the US Department of Education in April. Any changes would take effect in the fall of 2018. State officials should resist pressure to add a long laundry list of new criteria; schools still need to be judged by a limited number of objective factors. But access to the arts speaks directly to the quality of the educational experience students receive.

A Blueprint for Successful Arts Education

Five Strategies for Investing in Students' Creative Capital

By Laura Perille

November 29, 2016

Education Week Magazine


We have all heard the story: Arts education has suffered from years of neglect and decline in our schools to make room for tested subjects and to balance squeezed school budgets. This trend has played out in many communities across the country and particularly in large urban school districts. Students of color and those from low-income backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the decline in arts education during the school day.


In recent years, a number of cities have worked to counter this trend by forming coordinated networks of schools, cultural organizations, funders, local governments, and other groups to work in partnership toward high-quality arts education for all young people. These new models have ranged from city-initiated endeavors such as The Creative Advantage in Seattle to enterprises managed by external partners such as Ingenuity in Chicago and Dallas' Big Thought. Boston, too, has been engaged in expanding arts education over the past seven years through an effort known as Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion, or BPS-AE, a mixed private and publicly funded coalition facilitated by my nonprofit organization, EdVestors.


The efforts of these four cities stem from the belief that by investing in young people's creative capital today, we are nurturing the entrepreneurs, inventors, policymakers, and active citizens of tomorrow. While each city is unique, the public-private partnerships involved in this work employ common strategies.


All of them:

• Bring together multiple stakeholders to advance the goals of expanding arts education;

• Use data-based assessments to identify gaps in access and equity, establish measurable public commitments and policies, and track progress;

• Regularly communicate with community members about progress toward goals and funding to encourage community members to advocate for and take ownership of these efforts;

• Invest in the people (families, youths, teachers, teaching-artists) engaged in this work at the deepest level and connect them with others (elected officials, philanthropists, school leadership) to help move the needle; and

• Employ a "both/and" approach that prioritizes increasing the number of in-school, certified arts educators while augmenting arts education through organized partnerships with their own city's rich cultural resources and teaching-artists.


In 2009, only one in four Boston public high schools offered meaningful arts instruction to more than 25 percent of its students; only 5 percent of elementary school students and 6 percent of middle school students received twice-weekly, yearlong arts instruction, according to a report from BPS-AE. The city's decentralized, school-based management system allowed individual schools to make their own decisions on allocating resources to arts education, which led to a disjointed patchwork of arts offerings and inequitable distribution of arts-learning opportunities across the district. A handful of school, district, and civic leaders wanted to change this. Their belief that arts should be part of a well-rounded education for all students gave birth to the BPS-AE.


In the earliest days of the effort, we in the coalition—partner organizations, the Boston district, and outside funders—made a critical choice to conduct the first-ever comprehensive inventory of the school-based arts instruction students received. Armed with data and a complete picture of arts education in the Boston schools, we set clear and measurable, yet ambitious, goals which still remain the compass points for all BPS-AE activities.


We built a multi-tiered leadership structure, including an advisory board of influential civic, philanthropic, business, and nonprofit leaders with stature, networks, and visibility to lend to the effort. We also engaged in a participatory planning and development process aimed at authentically engaging the people directly involved in arts education—teachers, community arts organizations, and school leaders. We sought the input of students and families to bolster the design of program offerings and make the case for the demand for arts education. This engagement engendered broad ownership at multiple levels that has sustained the work through three superintendents, two mayors, and dozens of other civic transitions.


From our earliest days, we had interest from donors, many of whom were already funding in-school arts learning. We leveraged their money to build appetite at the school level by financing partnerships with nonprofit cultural organizations and teaching-artists. This funding was an incentive for schools to make different decisions with their flexible budget dollars and prioritize hiring arts teachers in their buildings. In only seven years, this strategic philanthropic investment has leveraged a 5-to-1 increase in public funding for in-school arts education through the support of arts teachers' salaries. As a result, the 80 percent more full-time, certified arts teachers now working in Boston public schools and 70 external partner organizations are delivering arts instruction to 17,000 more students annually, as compared with seven years ago.


Years of education reform have taught us that such progress is all too rare. BPS-AE recently published a case study, "Dancing to the Top: How Collective Action Revitalized Arts Education in Boston," documenting the work that led to these positive outcomes to inspire other urban school districts looking to undertake a similar commitment to arts education.


Access to quality arts learning is an issue of equity. Ensuring that all students have opportunities to develop artistic skills, to express themselves, and to reap the benefits arts education provides for college, career, and citizenship will req


Laura Perille is the president and CEO of EdVestors, an urban school improvement nonprofit based in Boston. In 2016, she received the national Arts Education Award from Americans for the Arts.

The Diminishing Role of Art in Children's Lives

Kids have fewer opportunities to do art in school and at home—and that could have long-term consequences.  

by Tracy Brown Hamilton

July 5,2017                        

TheAtlantic Magazine


Ik ben ik”—I am me—was the classroom theme when my son started preschool in the Netherlands two years ago. He painted a portrait of himself, with exaggerated teeth only on the bottom row and three strands of wiry hair on his head (“hair is hard,” he later told me). He went on to depict his home life: our canal-side house more wavy than erect; his father and I standing beside a cat we do not own; and his baby sister next to him while his other sister—his nemesis at the time—was completely absent. It was the first real glimpse we had into his experiences and sense of self, and it was both insightful and entertaining.


My house is covered in the artwork of my three children. My middle child’s self-portrait, for example, is framed and featured in our living room, with her bold red hair painted in broad stripes and a third eye she claims is magic; my son’s bedroom wall displays his sketching of a giraffe. What my kids cannot express in written language they delight in sharing through their scribbles.


As much evidence will support, drawing has significant developmental benefits for young children. It gives them space to represent what they think—territory within which they can exaggerate what is important to them or express ideas they are not yet able to verbalize. Through art, children are able to describe and reveal their notions about themselves, the world, and their place in it.


The role of drawing in enhancing childhood development has been acknowledged since art education first became a part of public-school curricula in the Commonwealth states in 1870.  A wealth of research has shown a strong link between the scribbles of preschoolers and their early stages of written language and reading. Drawing also helps prepare children for success in other subject areas, including explaining and communicating mathematical reasoning, which assists in their comprehension and communication of math concepts, according to an analysis by the California State University, Chico, professors Susan Steffani and Paula M. Selvester.


More generally, extensive evidence suggests that exposure to art in school has long-term academic and social benefits for kids, especially those who are economically disadvantaged. A 2012 study by the United States’ National Endowment for the Arts, for example, found that low-income eighth-graders who had lots of exposure to the arts were more likely than their peers with less exposure to earn higher grades and attend college.


But according to new research conducted in the Netherlands by the Dutch school inspectorate, the amount of time children spend drawing by hand both in and out of school has been reduced over the last 20 years; the study also found that their artwork has declined significantly in quality and complexity since a similar study was conducted two decades ago.


The project, which focused on 11- and 12-year-olds and identified trends similar to those seen in the United States, sought to gain insight into the effectiveness of art education, which encompasses drawing but also music, theater, and dance. It was only in the areas of drawing and music, however, that the inspectorate detected a reduction in the quality of the students’ work. This trend can have broader consequences for students’ future success, because, according to The Conversation, “drawing can be incorporated into learning in many ways, including visual mapping, reflective thinking, organizing and presenting information, and a way of communication that can transcend language barriers.”


As part of the Dutch study, students were given two drawing assignments and were assessed on their ability to develop and combine ideas, experiment, and attempt spacial representation. The contemporary drawings showed less cohesion (consisting of separate rather than related objects) and included less detail than those done by students when the study was initially conducted 20 years ago.


Many changes help account for these results, according to the researchers. Similar to data out of the U.S., the number of hours focusing on art education in primary school in the Netherlands has been reduced, for one, and there are fewer specialized art teachers. Art-teacher preparation is not, according to the Dutch broadcaster RTL, “considered a priority at teacher-training colleges.”


But social shifts and technological advances are also a factor, according to Rafael van Crimpen, the head of the Breitner Academie in Amsterdam, who told that schools today are embracing digital technology at the expense of art and creativity. “Children draw better if they have more time for it,” van Crimpen said. “Education is changing with the times and that is reflected in their drawings. And of course, digitalization plays a part.” These tendencies are evident in the U.S., too, with many classrooms relying on technology to teach art.


Folkert Haanstra, an arts-education professor who was among the advisors of the Dutch study, says the impact of digitalization is clearest outside of the classroom, where children are spending more time with technology than with drawing, and therefore have less practice. “Moreover,” he said over email, “the quality of the digital images they can make on electronic devices is probably more satisfying and look more professional than the drawings they can make by hand.”


Prioritizing technology usage as a vehicle for learning in general has also diminished an emphasis on handmade art. According to the researchers Shirley Brice Heath and Elisabeth Soep, “when school budgets shrink and employment opportunities demand knowledge of technology and related skills, the arts slip easily into optional or eliminated subjects of study.”


Brice Health, a linguistic anthropologist, and Soep, an expert on youth discourse and digital-media culture, argue that the arts discipline is even more vulnerable than other nonacademic programs. “All artists—especially the young—must be willing to make a leap of commitment,” the two wrote in 1998. “This step involves risks of greater variety than those required to go out for basketball or work on a neighborhood teen board—tasks that few citizens would question or devalue.”


Indeed, the idea that the arts are a low-priority subject in schools is not new. The New York Times reported in 1993 that budget cuts in schools put the arts at risk, and this consequence is too easily dismissed as necessary prioritizing. “Arts education, long dismissed as a frill, is disappearing from the lives of many students—particularly poor urban students,” according to the Times. “Even though artists and educators argue that children without art are as ignorant as children without math, their pleas have gone unheard as schools have struggled with budget cuts.”   

Art programs in and even outside of school are constantly at risk of being cut. President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have proposed reducing the federal education budget by $9 billion, in part by cutting a $27 million arts-education program.


As the priority placed on the arts in public schools diminishes and digital engagement overwhelms students’ experiences with hand-drawing, there could be more at stake than it appears. As W. G. Whitford wrote in his 1923 article, “A Brief History of Art Education in the United States,” “Without art there is an incompleteness that nothing can overcome. Through correlation and efficient cooperation, artwork becomes ‘a helping hand, a kind of connecting link that binds all subjects to it and makes every study at school more interesting and valuable.’”

20 Tips for Parents from Preschool Teachers​

Five teachers with a combined 90 years of experience share tips for parents of 2- to 5- year olds.

By Marguerite Lamb

August 18, 2017

Parents Magazine


Getting the Best from Your Child

I worry that my 3-year-old, Sophie, has a split personality. At school she cleans up her toys, puts on her shoes, and is entirely self-sufficient at potty time. At home, she whines whenever I ask her to pick up anything, insists I join her in the bathroom whenever she has to go, and lately has started demanding that I spoon-feed her dinner. Clearly, her teacher knows something I don't.

But then, what parent hasn't occasionally wondered: Why is my child better for everyone else than for me? The simple answer: Your child tests her limits with you because she trusts you will love her no matter what. But that doesn't mean you can't borrow a few strategies from the preschool teachers' playbook to get the best from your child. We asked educators from around the country for their tips so listen up -- and take notes!


Promoting Independence

While 3- and 4-year-olds still need plenty of parental help, our preschool experts agree that kids are typically able to do more than many of us think. Here's how you can encourage them:

1. Expect more. Most people have a way of living up (or down) to expectations -- preschoolers included. "At school we expect the kids to pour their own water at snack, to throw away their plates, to hang up their jackets -- and they do," says Jennifer Zebooker, a teacher at the 92nd Street Y Nursery School, in New York City. "But then they'll walk out of the classroom and the thumb goes in the mouth and they climb into strollers." Raise the bar and your child will probably stretch to meet it.


2. Resist doing for her what she can do herself. While it may be quicker and easier to do it yourself, it won't help to make your child more self-sufficient. Quick hint: Appeal to her sense of pride, suggests Donna Jones, a preschool teacher at Southern Oregon University's Schneider Children's Center in Ashland, Oregon. "Whenever I'm trying to get kids to dress, put jackets on, sit on chairs during meals and so on, I'll ask them: 'Do you want me to help you or can you do it yourself?' Those words are like magic," promises Jones. "The kids always want to do it for themselves."

3. Don't redo what they've done. If your child makes her bed, resist the urge to smooth the blankets. If she dresses herself in stripes and polka dots, compliment her "eclectic" style. Unless absolutely necessary, don't fix what your child accomplishes, says Kathy Buss, director of the Weekday Nursery School, in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. She will notice and it may discourage her.

4. Let them solve simple problems. If you see your child trying to assemble a toy or get a book from a shelf that she can reach if she stands on her stepstool, pause before racing over to help. "Provided that they are safe, those moments when you don't rush in, when you give children a moment to solve things for themselves, those are the character-building moments," says Zebooker. "It's natural to want to make everything perfect, but if we do, we cheat kids of the chance to experience success."

5. Assign a chore. Putting your preschooler in charge of a regular, simple task will build her confidence and sense of competency, says Buss. A child who is entrusted to water the plants or empty the clothes dryer is likely to believe she can also get dressed herself or pour her own cereal. Just be sure the chore you assign is manageable and that it's real work, not busywork, since even preschoolers know the difference. The goal is to make your child feel like a capable, contributing member of the family.


Winning Cooperation

Walk into almost any preschool class in the country, and you'll see children sitting quietly in circles, forming orderly lines, raising their hands to speak, passing out napkins and snacks. The question is: How do teachers do it? How do they get a dozen or more children under 4 to cooperate, willingly and happily? While there's no secret formula, most say:

6. Praise is key, especially if your child is not in a cooperative phase. Try to catch her being good. Kids repeat behaviors that get attention.

7. Develop predictable routines. Kids cooperate in school because they know what's expected of them, says Beth Cohen-Dorfman, educational coordinator at Chicago's Concordia Avondale Campus preschool. "The children follow essentially the same routine day after day, so they quickly learn what they are supposed to be doing, and after a while barely need reminding." While it would be impractical to have the same level of structure at home, the more consistent you are, the more cooperative your child is likely to be, suggests Cohen-Dorfman. Decide on a few routines and stick to them: Everyone gets dressed before breakfast. When we come in from outside, we wash our hands. No bedtime stories until all kids are in jammies. Eventually, following these "house rules" will become second nature to your child.

8. Lighten up. If your child refuses to do something, try turning it into a game. "Humor and games are two great tools that parents sometimes forget about in the heat of the moment," says Zebooker. When her own son, now 13, was in preschool, she used to persuade him to put his shoes on in the morning by playing shoe store. "I would say, 'Welcome to Miss Mommy's Shoe Store, I've got the perfect pair for you to try on today,' and I'd speak in a silly accent and he loved it." (I've had luck using this strategy with Sophie, who used to clamp her mouth shut whenever I tried to brush her teeth. Now we play the "Let's Guess What You Ate Today" game -- and she willingly opens up so I can search her molars for cereal, strawberries, or mac and cheese.)

9. Warn of transitions. If your child pitches a fit whenever you announce it's time to switch gears --whether that means shutting off the TV, stopping play to come eat, or leaving a friend's house -- it could be that you're not giving enough advance notice. "At school we let kids know when transitions are coming so they have time to finish whatever they're doing," observes Cohen-Dorfman. "If you need to leave the house at 8:30 a.m., warn your child at 8:15 that she's five more minutes to play, then will have to stop to put her toys away. Set a timer so she knows when the time is up."

10. Use sticker charts and rewards judiciously. "If your child is always working for the reward, he won't learn the real reasons for doing things -- that he should pick up his toys because family members pitch in," says Buss. Best bet: Reserve rewards for finite endeavors, such as potty training, but avoid offering them for everyday things, such as dressing himself or brushing his teeth.

11. Give structured choices. If, for example, your 3-year-old refuses to sit at the dinner table, you might offer the choice of sitting and getting dessert -- or not sitting and missing out on a treat. "At first, your child may not make the right choice, but eventually he will, because he'll see that the wrong choice isn't getting him what he wants," says Buss. Just be sure, if you want your child to choose option A, that option B is less attractive.

12 No ifs. Make requests in language that assumes cooperation. "If you finish putting away your crayons, we can go to the park," suggests that perhaps your child won't clean up his crayons. Try instead: "When you put your crayons away, we'll go to the park."

13. Prioritize play. Preschool teachers said over and over that kids today are less able to play imaginatively than kids of a decade or two ago. "Too much of their day is structured in supervised activities," says Haines. The antidote: Get comfortable saying "Go play." It's not your job to see that your child is entertained 24/7. Let her get a little bored. But make sure she has items like dress-up clothes, paint and paper, a big cardboard box, and play dough.

14. Do it to music. There's a reason the "cleanup" song works. "Set a task to music, and suddenly it's fun," says Sandy Haines, a teacher at the Buckingham Cooperative Nursery School, in Glastonbury, Connecticut. If you're not feeling creative, suggest "racing" a song: "Can you get dressed before Raffi finishes singing 'Yellow Submarine'?"

15. Encourage teamwork. If your child is fighting over a toy with another child, set a timer for five minutes, suggests Buss. Tell one child he can have the toy until he hears the buzzer, and then it will be the other child's turn.

16. Let your child work out minor squabbles. Instead of swooping in to settle disputes, stand back and let them work it out (unless they're hitting each other). You won't always be there to rescue your child.

Disciplining Effectively

It struck me recently that I've never met a parent who doesn't use time-outs, and never met a preschool teacher who does. So what discipline strategies do teachers recommend?

17. Redirect. If your preschooler is jumping on the couch or grabbing for her big sister's dolls, distract her by asking if she'd like to draw a picture or read a short story together.

18. Prevent good-bye meltdowns. If your child is nervous about spending time apart, give him something tangible to remind him of you. Let him carry your picture; kiss a tissue or cut out a paper heart and put it in his pocket. Having something physical to touch may help him feel less anxious -- and short-circuit a tantrum.

19. Involve her in righting her wrongs. If you find her coloring on the walls, have her help wash it off. If she knocks over a playmate's block tower, ask her to help rebuild it.

20. Don't delay discipline. If you must reprimand your child, do so when you see her misbehaving, advises Buss. "Sometimes I will hear parents say, 'Wait until we get home ... ,' but by the time you're home, your child has forgotten the incident." Similarly, canceling Saturday's zoo trip because of Thursday's tantrum won't prevent future outbursts; it will just feel like random, undeserved punishment to your child.

Maguerite Lamb, a mom of two, is a writer in Glastonbury, CT.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.​



Schools of Design Extend Their Reach Into Asia

By Kelly Wetherville

January 6, 2013, New York Times


More Western education institutions are looking to open up in Asia — and U.S. art and design schools are no exception. While the potential for growth is huge, given Asia’s rising creative industries, the actual logistics can be complicated.


The Savannah College of Art and Design opened a campus in September 2010 in Sham Shui Po, a district of Hong Kong, after extensive research on opportunities in Asia. The school spent 250 million Hong Kong dollars, or $32 million, of its own capital to revitalize the former North Kowloon Magistracy building, which it received from the Hong Kong government in 2009 amid some controversy that the heritage site was given to a foreign school instead of a local group.


“SCAD sees in Asia an increasing demand for and appreciation of art and design talents with a global perspective in fields ranging from digital media to fashion design and luxury management,” Grant Preisser, associate vice president of SCAD Hong Kong, said by e-mail.


“It makes perfect sense for us to be in Asia, as many of our graduates will be looking to develop creative careers here,” he said. “Hong Kong is a sophisticated, international city with strong market growth and an ongoing need for creative talent.” Having a presence in Asia can also benefit students at the school’s main campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia. (It also has a study-abroad location in Lacoste, France).


Still, SCAD Hong Kong had trouble with recruitment in the beginning. According to The South China Morning Post, it opened in 2010 with only 141 students, or less than half its initial target of 300. At full capacity, the school could hold up to 800 students. Last autumn, it got its total student enrollment up to 330. About 60 percent are from Hong Kong, and 40 percent from 15 other countries and territories.


Parsons The New School for Design, based in New York, is exploring initiatives in Asia that, unlike SCAD, will not require significant monetary investment. It has signed a cooperation agreement with a design education center in Shanghai established by Shanghai Textile Group Holdings, or Shangtex, which will allow it to offer programs there. The school has been given a floor in Shangtex’s corporate campus, where there will also be space for other design institutions like Esmod International, a Paris-based network of fashion institutes from all over the world.


A timeline has not yet been established for when courses would start at this center, but under consideration are summer and winter intensive courses for Parsons students, continuing and professional education programs and a program that would provide English-language instruction for those looking to enter design fields.


“The rapidly expanding interaction between cultures, markets and world regions has revolutionized the practice of design,” David E. Van Zandt, president of the New School, wrote by e-mail. “Design, while increasingly global, is also rooted in local cultures and social practices.”


“In order to thrive in this new global environment, students must be able to synthesize these often-differing perspectives into their own practice,” he added. Mr. Van Zandt said Parsons was in discussions with a new design school in Mumbai, though he would not comment on details. While this would not be a Parsons operation, Parsons could help with curriculum development and faculty training. Parsons students could potentially have the opportunity to study in India and vice versa. Parsons also announced in November that it would open a new center in Paris this coming autumn.


Like any major undertaking, establishing overseas campuses and programs take time. SCAD Hong Kong is one of few cross-border design schools that are actually up and running in Asia. “As Asia’s role continues to grow in the global economy, businesses and industries will increasingly need to design with the Asian consumers in mind, not just in terms of products, but also marketing communications,” Mr. Preisser of SCAD said. “And, as more and more international brands extend their footprint and presence in Asia, they will be looking for design talents trained in Asia and attuned to the Asian marketplace.”


There are a few other Western players. Esmod already has branches in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Beijing and Jakarta. And there are signs that Asian schools might cross borders regionally: Bunka Fashion College, based in Tokyo, plans to open a branch in Dalian, China, though no dates are set. Still, these programs are reasonably small or still in development.


“Asia is at a different stage of evolution in design education than the United States and Europe, which is why these countries have approached us with these types of opportunities, and why for many years their students have come to the U.S. and Europe to study,” Mr. Van Zandt of Parsons said. “As these countries continue to invest in the development of institutions for art and design education, there is certainly the potential for them to be competitive.”


One setback many may face is simple economics in a region that has some affluent cities but also many developing nations. Tuition at SCAD’s Hong Kong campus is set at the same level as that of its U.S. campuses, which may be daunting to many students in the greater Southeast Asian region. Providing an internationally recognized design education at locally competitive tuition rates, however, could prove to be a challenge that prevents more Western schools from expanding into Asia. Mr. Preisser said that as of September, the university had awarded nearly 31 million Hong Kong dollars in financial aid to students at the Hong Kong campus.

Science Says Parents of Successful Kids Have These 13 Things in Common​

Rachel Gillett and Drake Baer/Business Insider

Apr 15, 2017

Time Magazine / Money


Good parents want their kids to stay out of trouble, do well in school, and go on to do awesome things as adults.

And while there isn't a set recipe for raising successful children, psychology research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success.

Unsurprisingly, much of it comes down to the parents.

Here's what parents of successful kids have in common:

1. They make their kids do chores

"If kids aren't doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them," Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of "How to Raise an Adult" said during a TED Talks Live event.

"And so they're absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the betterment of the whole," she said.

Lythcott-Haims believes kids raised on chores go on to become employees who collaborate well with their coworkers, are more empathetic because they know firsthand what struggling looks like, and are able to take on tasks independently.


She bases this on the Harvard Grant Study, the longest longitudinal study ever conducted.

"By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life," she tells Tech Insider.


2. They teach their kids social skills

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University tracked more than 700 children from across the US between kindergarten and age 25 and found a significant correlation between their social skills as kindergartners and their success as adults two decades later.

The 20-year study showed that socially competent children who could cooperate with their peers without prompting, be helpful to others, understand their feelings, and resolve problems on their own, were far more likely to earn a college degree and have a full-time job by age 25 than those with limited social skills.

Those with limited social skills also had a higher chance of getting arrested, binge drinking, and applying for public housing.

"This study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future," said Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research, in a release.

"From an early age, these skills can determine whether a child goes to college or prison, and whether they end up employed or addicted."


3. They have high expectations

Using data from a national survey of 6,600 children born in 2001, University of California at Los Angeles professor Neal Halfon and his colleagues discovered that the expectations parents hold for their kids have a huge effect on attainment.

"Parents who saw college in their child's future seemed to manage their child toward that goal irrespective of their income and other assets," he said in a statement.

The finding came out in standardized tests: 57% of the kids who did the worst were expected to attend college by their parents, while 96% of the kids who did the best were expected to go to college.

This falls in line with another psych finding: The Pygmalion effect, which states "that what one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy."

In the case of kids, they live up to their parents' expectations.

4. They have healthy relationships with each other

Children in high-conflict families, whether intact or divorced, tend to fare worse than children of parents that get along, according to a University of Illinois study review.

Robert Hughes Jr., professor and head of the Department of Human and Community Development in the College of ACES at the University of Illinois and study review author, also notes that some studies have found children in nonconflictual single-parent families fare better than children in conflictual two-parent families.

The conflict between parents prior to divorce also affects children negatively, while post-divorce conflict has a strong influence on children's adjustment, Hughes says.

One study found that, after divorce, when a father without custody has frequent contact with his kids and there is minimal conflict, children fare better. But when there is conflict, frequent visits from the father are related to poorer adjustment of children.

Yet another study found that 20-somethings who experienced divorce of their parents as children still report pain and distress over their parent's divorce 10 years later. Young people who reported high conflict between their parents were far more likely to have feelings of loss and regret.

5. They've attained higher educational levels

2014 study lead by University of Michigan psychologist Sandra Tang found that mothers who finished high school or college were more likely to raise kids that did the same.

Pulling from a group of over 14,000 children who entered kindergarten in 1998 to 2007, the study found that children born to teen moms (18 years old or younger) were less likely to finish high school or go to college than their counterparts.

Aspiration is at least partially responsible. In a 2009 longitudinal study of 856 people in semirural New York, Bowling Green State University psychologist Eric Dubow found that "parents' educational level when the child was 8 years old significantly predicted educational and occupational success for the child 40 years later."

6. They teach their kids math early on

2007 meta-analysis of 35,000 preschoolers across the US, Canada, and England found that developing math skills early can turn into a huge advantage.

"The paramount importance of early math skills — of beginning school with a knowledge of numbers, number order, and other rudimentary math concepts — is one of the puzzles coming out of the study," coauthor and Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan said in a press release. "Mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement."

7. They develop a relationship with their kids

2014 study of 243 people born into poverty found that children who received "sensitive caregiving" in their first three years not only did better in academic tests in childhood, but had healthier relationships and greater academic attainment in their 30s.

As reported on PsyBlog, parents who are sensitive caregivers "respond to their child's signals promptly and appropriately" and "provide a secure base" for children to explore the world.

"This suggests that investments in early parent-child relationships may result in long-term returns that accumulate across individuals' lives," coauthor and University of Minnesota psychologist Lee Raby said in an interview.

8. They're less stressed

According to recent research cited by Brigid Schulte at The Washington Post, the number of hours that moms spend with kids between ages 3 and 11 does little to predict the child's behavior, well-being, or achievement.

What's more, the "intensive mothering" or "helicopter parenting" approach can backfire.

"Mothers' stress, especially when mothers are stressed because of the juggling with work and trying to find time with kids, that may actually be affecting their kids poorly," study coauthor and Bowling Green State University sociologist Kei Nomaguchi told The Post.

Emotional contagion — or the psychological phenomenon where people "catch" feelings from one another like they would a cold — helps explain why. Research shows that if your friend is happy, that brightness will infect you; if she's sad, that gloominess will transfer as well. So if a parent is exhausted or frustrated, that emotional state could transfer to the kids.


9. They value effort over avoiding failure

Where kids think success comes from also predicts their attainment.

Over decades, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has discovered that children (and adults) think about success in one of two ways. Over at the always-fantastic Brain Pickings, Maria Popova says they go a little something like this:

A "fixed mindset" assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens that we can't change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.

A "growth mindset," on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.

At the core is a distinction in the way you assume your will affects your ability, and it has a powerful effect on kids. If kids are told that they aced a test because of their innate intelligence, that creates a "fixed" mindset. If they succeeded because of effort, that teaches a "growth" mindset.

10. The moms work

According to research out of Harvard Business School, there are significant benefits for children growing up with mothers who work outside the home.

The study found daughters of working mothers went to school longer, were more likely to have a job in a supervisory role, and earned more money — 23% more compared to their peers who were raised by stay-at-home mothers.

The sons of working mothers also tended to pitch in more on household chores and childcare, the study found — they spent seven-and-a-half more hours a week on childcare and 25 more minutes on housework.

"Role modeling is a way of signaling what's appropriate in terms of how you behave, what you do, the activities you engage in, and what you believe," the study's lead author, Harvard Business School professor Kathleen L. McGinn, told Business Insider.

"There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother," she told Working Knowledge.

11. They have a higher socioeconomic status

Tragically, one-fifth of American children grow up in poverty, a situation that severely limits their potential.

It's getting more extreme. According to Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon, the achievement gap between high- and low-income families "is roughly 30% to 40% larger among children born in 2001 than among those born 25 years earlier."

As "Drive" author Dan Pink has noted, the higher the income for the parents, the higher the SAT scores for the kids.

"Absent comprehensive and expensive interventions, socioeconomic status is what drives much of educational attainment and performance," he wrote.

12. They are "authoritative" rather than "authoritarian" or "permissive"

First published in the 1960s, research by University of California at Berkeley developmental psychologist Diana Baumride found there are basically three kinds of parenting styles [pdf]:

  • Permissive: The parent tries to be nonpunitive and accepting of the child
  • Authoritarian: The parent tries to shape and control the child based on a set standard of conduct
  • Authoritative: The parent tries to direct the child rationally

The ideal is the authoritative. The kid grows up with a respect for authority, but doesn't feel strangled by it.

13. They teach "grit"

In 2013, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth won a MacArthur "genius" grant for her uncovering of a powerful, success-driving personality trait called grit.

Defined as a "tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals," her research has correlated grit with educational attainment, grade-point average in Ivy League undergrads, retention in West Point cadets, and rank in the US National Spelling Bee.

It's about teaching kids to imagine — and commit — to a future they want to create.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.​

Back-to-School Wisdom From the Creators of Your Favorite Children’s Books


AUG. 30, 2017

New York Times


Conquering bullies. A math teacher who noticed. The importance of underwear. Some of our most beloved children’s book authors and illustrators have shared with us their advice for heading back to school, and their own tales of how drawing helped them through difficult times.

These interviews first ran on Facebook Live as part of a series by Maria Russo, The Times’s children’s book editor.


Drawing and Dyslexia


Dav Pilkey is the creator of Captain Underpants, the unlikely superhero who has helped a generation of children jump — irreverently — into the world of reading.


Dav Pilkey: Captain Underpants really started when I was a kid. I was in second grade and I had just started at a new school and I wasn’t doing so well. I have dyslexia, and I had A.D.H.D. They didn’t even have a term for it at the time, but I definitely had it. Plus, I had a teacher who was not very understanding.


She would criticize me and say: “We don’t write like babies in our classroom. I’m going to send you back to kindergarten.” And then she’d get upset with my behavior — I was misbehaving for some strange reason — so she started sending me out into the hallway. She’d get all mad, and she’d say, “Mr. Pilkey, OUT!”


That’s where my creativity took off.


I’d go out in the hallway, and all I really had to do to occupy myself out there was draw and make up stories. I was separated from my classmates so much, but I still wanted to be relevant and I wanted them to know who I was. I’d show them my drawings, and they’d say, “Aah, that’s funny!” That’s where a lot of creativity started in my life, and the Captain came out of that time.


‘We Can Create a New Normal’


Rachel Ignotofsky is the author and illustrator of “Women in Science.”


Catsteven Betonio, Facebook commenter: How will art impact science and help raise the profile of women in the field?

Rachel Ignotofsky: I think one of the most powerful tools there are when it comes to education is illustration. It inspires whimsy, it inspires imagination, but it also gives people the bravery they need to approach these sort of dense topics. “Oh, this is cool, this is pretty, this is funny — I’m gonna learn about nuclear fission.” And then that opens the door to reading even denser texts on it.


A book like this can introduce a whole group of kids to these women in science so early on that they never know that the norm is not to know them. In fact, we can create a new normal.


Being Bullied and Getting Over It


Rachel Renée Russell is the author and illustrator of the “Dork Diaries” series, a New York Times best-seller that — secretly! — is a family effort. Rachel and her daughters, Nikki and Erin, joined us to draw and talk about middle school highs and lows.


Rachel Renée Russell: When my daughters Erin and Nikki were younger, they were bullied. It was pretty dramatic for them, and even for me as a parent. But, deciding to make lemonade out of lemons, Erin woke up one morning and said: “Yes, I’m a dork. And I’m proud of it!” And Nikki was younger so she was like, “If Erin thinks dorks are cool, I think dorks are cool.”


Erin Russell: When I was in middle school, I didn’t get to sit with the cool kids, I wasn’t picked in gym class, I wasn’t invited to parties. After feeling depressed about it for a while, I just decided: There’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t think that the other kids even really knew why they were doing it, so I just decided to embrace what made me me.


The Teacher Who Made a Difference


Peter H. Reynolds is the author and illustrator of many picture books, including “The Dot,” “Ish” and his latest, “Happy Dreamer.”


Peter H. Reynolds: A lot of teachers did not like my drawing in class. They thought I was not paying attention. But my math teacher, Mr. Madson, he noticed that I was drawing, and he said, Could you teach math using your art and your storytelling?” So I went home and I developed a comic book.


I’m pretty sure I would not be where I am today without my math teacher noticing me and connecting the dots.


Facing Middle School


Booki Vivat is the creator of the best-selling illustrated novel “Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom.”


Derrick Ollinger, Facebook commenter: My daughter, Abbey, just started middle school, so your book about Abbie was perfectly timed for her! Even though she can read by herself, she and I get together to read this one!


Booki Vivat: I just love that. That’s how I grew up reading, with my mom.


Maria Russo: This is the age, too, this middle grade and middle school reader, where parents often stop reading to their kids. And I think it’s really important to keep reading to your kids. It sounds cliché, but it builds the bond.


BV: Also, there’s something really great about sharing stories with other people. It reminds you how similar you are. Parents sometimes feel like their middle schoolers don’t really get it. And middle schoolers feel like their parents don’t really get it. But when you’re an adult, you made it through middle school. I’m still shocked at how that happened. Somehow I made it through.


MR: Yes, and at some point you have to realize that your parent went through middle school, too.

BV: So much of who Abby is is a reflection of what I went through, and to some extent what I’m experiencing now. Abby is all about trying to figure out who she is, and where she belongs, and what her thing is. Those are questions that I’m still asking myself even now.


Learning to Read Against All Odds


The illustrator Floyd Cooper’s latest picture book is “Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History,” written by Walter Dean Meyers.



Floyd Cooper: Anyone who’s studied Frederick Douglass can’t help but be impressed by his life and the odds that he overcame to get from where he was to where he ended up. It was the power to read that really gave him the tools he needed to overcome many of the struggles that lay before him.


Our book begins, “This is the story of how one man’s careful decisions and many accomplishments not only made his own life better, but in many ways changed the history of America.”


“Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, in 1818. … When he was about 9, he was sent to live with slave-owner, Hugh Auld, and his family. He was given chores to do around the house and helped care for the family’s children.


“Soon after he arrived, Frederick saw Sophia Auld, the mistress of the house, teaching her children to read. He wanted to learn, too. Seeing how eager he was, Mrs. Auld started giving him lessons along with her own children.”


And that’s how Frederick began to learn to read. Now, this was a very brave woman, Mrs. Auld, because it was illegal for slaves to learn to read in many parts of America. But she didn’t care, she saw a young boy who wanted to learn to read and she opened her books to him. It changed his life.


The Importance of Underwear


The author-illustrator Peter Brown’s latest picture book, “Creepy Pair of Underwear,” is about overcoming fear and the little kid-to-big kid transition.


Peter Brown: Have fun with your undies! It doesn’t have to be such a serious subject.


Maria Russo: I have to say, as a parent, when you’re getting ready to send your kid to preschool, getting your kid comfortable in underwear is actually a big part of it.


PB: You know, it’s so important that kids wear clean underwear. Adults, too, actually.


by Wisdom Baty blog


I believe art has a universal language of engagement, transformation, and education. I've come to realize through teaching and parenting that art is not only vital to the growth of young people, it is necessary. Art creates a vehicle that can change the hearts and minds of people. For as long as I can remember, visual art has always been fun and challenging; it came natural to me. It’s been my safe haven. However, in school there were always two spectrums where I resided: the first being in art classes engaged and committed to assignments, the second being the only black girl/woman student in the class. I slowly, but surely became aware of the absence of my own reflection. Most artists I learned about rarely looked liked me. These artists and art styles were far removed from my everyday living experiences. Even when introduced to higher level art history classes in college, I noticed that there were little historical references to cultures outside of Europe.


Why wasn’t I being explicitly taught African American art heritage by my teachers? I began to contemplate what institutional systems of race, class, and gender were in place. Who decided which stories were worth telling, and which ones to be omitted? Where was my reflection and why was it so small compared to European artist contributions? Who had the lessons and books on global artists and movements that essentially ‘birthed’ this thing we call art?


Access to instruction, access to points of view, and transparency to critically analyze these points of view are three major concerns for arts education today. Black and brown students make up the majority of Chicago Public Schools population, therefore these access points are affected by class, gender, social status and race. According to CPS statistics, African American students make up 39.3%, while Hispanic students make up 45.6% of the current student enrollment. White students in stark contrast, consist of 9.4% of CPS student enrollment as of 2014. Even with this demographic makeup, art works by artists of color continue to remain at the margins of the art educational system in America.


The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) has estimated that 85% of public schools in the United States offer some level of art instruction. Although this sounds like a passing grade, there lies an equity gap between low-poverty schools and high-poverty schools. Art students who are economically disadvantaged are not offered the same enrichment experiences as affluent suburban art students. This gap widens when we look at access to educational resources, availability of arts instruction, accurate historical references, diverse course offerings, and course content. Historical art contributions from Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica and the Americas are of significant importance, yet our schools continue to uplift a Euro-centric role of art appreciation. This equity gap denies children of color insight to see themselves in a rich historical narrative. Current educational art practices in schools continue the perpetuation of inaccurate and incomplete art education nationwide, limiting possibilities for a truly honest learning experience.


There are three major effects on students overall development in schools that do not foster fair and truthful art education. First, students that have limited self-reflection in art education produce low self-esteem because a child is constantly searching for their likeness in the visual world. As Frida Kahlo said so eloquently “I paint myself because I am often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” This is absolutely correct. What better place to see oneself than in an art class?


Second, inadequate art education causes an increase in school dropout rates. Due to the lack of relevant cultural exposure and positive personal connections in educational environment students tune out and begin to act out. Statistics show teenagers and young adults of low socioeconomic status who have a history of in-depth arts involvement show better academic outcomes than low-socioeconomic status youth with less arts involvement. Students exposed to a rich arts education earn better grades and have higher rates of college enrollment and achievement. It has also been proven that art allows students to access multiple areas of the brain. Art encourages students to become well-rounded and better problem solvers. Consistent exposure to art education in schools creates curious children with increased higher order thinking skills. A variety of artistic disciplines foster self-management and impulse control for children, awakening in them their unique creative ability.


Third, a culturally inclusive art education helps to put an end to the continuation of negative racial and gender stereotypes, greatly benefiting the holistic developing of all children.


When I started teaching visual arts, I wanted and needed to make a change. With the support of the elementary school I work at, I have been crafting the type of curriculum that wasn’t present in my art education. In my art class, students learn about purpose in art from a world perspective. We expose students to various artists and techniques who bring awareness to social change, both ancient and contemporary. We examine issues of class, race and gender. My curriculum includes project-based instruction that covers such visionaries as Kerry James Marshall and his use of melanin; Frida Kahlo and her portraitures; and Ai Weiwei and his use of history and text in pottery.


Students are encouraged to look at their neighborhoods with a critical art gaze. In class we’ve turned plastic bags into wearable jewelry and made campaign posters about issues of gang and domestic violence in their communities. When students learned about the middle passage and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, they wanted to become super heroes and re-imagine how they would help save enslaved Africans, as well as dismantle the unjust system of American chattel slavery. We’ve even crocheted together—both boys and girls. This type of curriculum truly empowers innovation.


Art tells the story of a people. By teaching and creating with cultural appreciation in mind, art increases student empowerment, helps destroy negative stereotypes, promotes innovation and equips students with the necessary tools to become more aware of their own agency on a local and global perspective. Art informs us of cultures past and present. Without art, we couldn’t possibly understand the world we live, learn, play, work and love in. In order for educators to accurately understand our world there, has to be equity in this storytelling, especially in our schools, or else we will continue to omit legacies of truth and beauty from diverse cultures.


Wisdom Baty was born in Brooklyn and raised on Chicago’s North side. She identifies herself as being an urban-based artist. She is skilled in drawing, painting, mural-making, and printmaking. Wisdom earned her BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently makes art and teaches art in Chicago.


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