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Art for Art's Sake?

The Impact of Arts Education

image of Art for Art's Sake?

Arts education is often said to be a means of developing critical and creative thinking. Arts education has also been argued to enhance performance in non-arts academic subjects such as mathematics, science, reading and writing, and to strengthen students’ academic motivation, self-confidence, and ability to communicate and co-operate effectively. Arts education thus seems to have a positive impact on the three subsets of skills that we define as “skills for innovation”: subject-based skills, including in non-arts subjects; skills in thinking and creativity; and behavioural and social skills.

This report examines the state of empirical knowledge about the impact of arts education on these kinds of outcomes. The kinds of arts education examined include arts classes in school (classes in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance), arts-integrated classes (where the arts are taught as a support for an academic subject), and arts study undertaken outside of school (e.g. private music lessons; out-of-school classes in theatre, visual arts, and dance). The report does not deal with education about the arts or cultural education, which may be included in all kinds of subjects.

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Foreword

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

As skills become the global currency of the 21st century, education systems should equip students with the skills required by our global, knowledge-based economies. In particular, education has to foster the skills that fuel innovation in the economy and society: creativity, imagination, communication and teamwork to name a few. Arts education is particularly likely to foster these very skills. Some have argued that training in the arts also leads to better foundational skills such as reading or mathematics.

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