Incorporating the arts—rapping, dancing, drawing—into science lessons can help low-achieving students retain more knowledge and possibly help students of all ability levels be more creative in their learning, finds a new study by Johns Hopkins University. The findings were published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education and support broader arts integration in the classroom.
“Our study provides more evidence that the arts are absolutely needed in schools. I hope the findings can assuage concerns that arts-based lessons won’t be as effective in teaching essential skills,” says Mariale Hardiman, vice dean of academic affairs for the School of Education at the Johns Hopkins University and the study’s first author.
While research already shows that the arts improve students’ academic outcomes and memory, it remains unclear whether general exposure to the arts, adding arts to lesson plans, effective instruction, or a combination are responsible for these benefits, says Hardiman.
“When we talk about learning, we have to discuss memory. Children forget much of what they learn and teachers often end up reteaching a lot of content from the previous year. Here we’re asking, how exactly can we teach them correctly to begin with so they can remember more?”
In this study, the research team sought to determine whether an arts-integrated curriculum had any direct effects on learning, specifically students&rsquo