Historical, Culturally Diverse, Standards-Based Art Lessons to Inspire Young Artists

July 9, 2010

Harvard Edu Review: Arts with the Brain in Mind

Ever since arts instruction was introduced into our schools with drawing and singing in the middle of the nineteenth century, a fiery debate has raged over the role of the arts in education. Countless position papers, articles, letters to the editor, and other documents have been created to put forth the arguments in favor of and against arts education in our public schools. Since the middle of the twentieth century, in the face of cuts in arts education due to budgetary constraints and educational movements from “Back to Basics” to high-stakes testing, arts educators have cast themselves in the role of advocates as they have lobbied for arts in education at school committee meetings and public hearings. In the late 1960s, researchers in cognitive development began to turn their attention to the arts and education with the founding of Project Zero, an educational research organization devoted to the study of the arts and education. Buoyed by Project Zero’s groundbreaking efforts, many artists, arts educators, and researchers have published books and articles about the educative value of the arts. Over the last two decades, a growing body of research on the arts, learning, and the brain has received international attention. Educators, parents, administrators, and policymakers are struggling to make sense of these well-publicized studies and what they may or may not suggest about the place for the arts in public education.

Eric Jensen, the author of Arts with the Brain in Mind, is neither an arts educator nor an artist, but a researcher. Jensen has compiled and reviewed research studies on the arts, the brain, and learning, which has convinced him that the arts are vital to educating our children and should be taught every day in our schools, just like language arts, math, science, and social studies. In effect, by conducting his review of the research, Jensen has become an advocate for the arts in education. Arts with the Brain in Mind serves as Jensen’s treatise for his newfound advocacy.

Read more of the book review here.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon.com.