Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Art for Greater Empathy

When it comes to education, spending on Math and English are at the top of the list, and somewhere at the bottom is where you’ll find art. This shouldn’t be, as a study published in Education Next showed that students who are exposed to cultural institutions, like museums and performing arts centers, not only have higher levels of engagement with the arts but display greater tolerance, historical empathy, as well as better educational memory and critical thinking skills.

In the study, participants were sorted into two groups – one group who learned about art at school and the other at a gallery. Students who went to the gallery could recall information about the piece that wasn’t part of the main discussion. They also had better recall on the piece three weeks after the experience. When asked to write about a new piece of art those who had attended the gallery also engaged in greater critical thinking. Finally, being given a survey those gallery student showed higher levels of empathy and tolerance.

Art education is something we need to invest in for the future development of our children. To put it simply as a related article in Fast Company did “…Art Will Make Your Kids Better Thinkers (And Nicer People). It doesn’t replace Math and English, but it sure can make a difference to how future generations view the world.”