George Lucas Educational Foundation

Educational Neuroscience supports the Arts!

Educational Neuroscience supports the Arts!

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"The brain-based approach says arts build stronger operating systems, which means better academic performance. In short, arts change the brain for the better and students are the big winners. If you want better academics, arts deliver. If you just want a better person for the real world, arts deliver. It’s time to get off the fence. It’s time to quit waffling and wondering if arts are worth it your school. They’re worth it." This is a quote from an article written by Eric Jensen entitled "Can Arts Change the Brain?" I have been interested in his work for about ten years now. I first discovered his work when I read Teaching with the Brain in Mind. As neuroscientists do more research on how kids learn, more light is shed on brain-based learning. It is now understood that the brain has more plasticity than we thought. It is not fixed! Teaching through the arts is a win- win situation. I hope you read this article by Eric Jensen. Would love to know your thoughts! Please share what you are learning about educational neuroscience in this group. On a side note, I had the pleasure of attending one of Eric's seminars and found his work very valuable. Check out his website too. Click below to read article

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@creativityassoc's picture
Director, Education Division, Creativity & Associates

It's such a fascinating subject. We share an interest in this topic. I attended a conference last spring in Baltimore called "Learning, Arts and the Brain." They published a three-year study of current research at the Dana Foundation, who funded the conference.

The research was led by Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga of the University of California at Santa Barbara. "A life-affirming dimension is opening up in neuroscience," said Dr. Gazzaniga, "to discover how the performance and appreciation of the arts enlarge cognitive capacities will be a long step forward in learning how better to learn and more enjoyably and productively to live. The consortium's new findings and conceptual advances have clarified what now needs to be done."

The summary document can be found here: The full report is here:

There's a lot of work to do, but it's looking good. Thanks for starting the thread!

Christine Termini Passarella's picture
Christine Termini Passarella
Founder of The Kids for Coltrane Project in Education

Hi Joan thanks for posting this. Yes this is a fascinating subject! We are now learning so much about the science of the arts. You may also enjoy the work of Dr. Daniel Levitin. He is a musician and a neuroscientist. I had the extreme pleasure of hearing him speak in New York City at The Celebration of Teaching and Learning. His books This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs are both marvelous thought-provoking explorations of the importance of music on human beings. I agree with Dr. Levitin when he tells us that painting, dancing and music get us to emotional communication in a deeper way than language. Daniel writes, "By better understanding what music is and where it comes from, we may be able to better understand our motives, fears, desires, memories, and even communication in the broadest sense." "Check out these videos from his site.

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