Bill Adkins: Art education boosts achievement, but needs administrator support to work

June 24, 2011

One of our very good art teachers at Moises Molina High School, William Adkins,  works with a group called Big  Thoughts.  Big Thoughts interviews teachers who work with the program about how arts education boosts student achievement in core areas, and how to leverage arts to improve the boost.  Adkins had some thoughts about how art really is a core part of education , and on the role of administrators in helping teachers:

You can view 74 videos from about 30 different people on the Big Thoughts menu at Vimeo.

Adkins’ students regularly win awards, often outperforming the many more students at our district’s arts magnets.  One of his students, Moses Ochieng, too the top prize at the state art meet this year for a brilliant sculpture he did.  Moses was my student in U.S. history, too — a great adventure, since he emigrated from Kenya just a few years ago, and he lacks the familiarity with so many American things that we, and the textbooks, and the state tests, take for granted that students know.  Ochieng’s art helped focus him on history.  It supplemented his studies so that he picked up two years of history work in just one year.

More:


All study for the tests and no play makes Jack and Jill perform worse on standardized tests

February 26, 2009

Newark Star-Ledger file photo of kids at recess at Newton Street School. Patti Sapone photo

Newark Star-Ledger file photo of kids at recess at Newton Street School. Patti Sapone photo

The old classroom teachers knew it.  The new, test-the-hell-out-of-the-little-brats administrators need to learn it.

Kids need physical activity to be good students.

A study published this month in the journal Pediatrics studied the links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 children age 8 and 9. Those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none. Although disadvantaged children were more likely to be denied recess, the association between better behavior and recess time held up even after researchers controlled for a number of variables, including sex, ethnicity, public or private school and class size.

The lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the findings were important because many schools did not view recess as essential to education.

The article in the science section of the New York Times put it well:

The best way to improve children’s performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it.

A convicted murderer in prison gets an hour a day for exercise.  But our kids, the high-performing ones we depend on for our nation’s future?  We treat them worse than convicted felons?

Nota bene: Even just a little movement worksIt works for adults, too.

Resources:

  • PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 2 February 2009, pp. 431-436 (doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2825) (subscription required for full text),  “School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior,” Romina M. Barros, MD, Ellen J. Silver, PhD and Ruth E. K. Stein, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York

    OBJECTIVES. This study examines the amount of recess that children 8 to 9 years of age receive in the United States and compares the group classroom behavior of children receiving daily recess with that of children not receiving daily recess.

  • See this year-old post at The Elementary Educator
  • Post in agreement from the venerable Trust for Public Lands, one of the best and best respected non-profits in America

Boost test performance: Start school later

February 5, 2008

Students perform better when schools adjust schedules to accommodate the realities of biology: High school students don’t learn or test well in the morning. Go here for an introductory discussion of the issues.

Of course, in order to boost student performance by starting high school later, bus schedules would have to change. Change costs money. Anyone care to wager whether this quick, proven method for boosting student performance will catch on, considering it costs a little?


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