Fifth International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2010, August 1-6

Learning, Arts,
and the Brain

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Clare Grizzard, Mariale Hardiman and Susan Rome
Roland Park Middle School. USA

The Arts as a portal to creativity in teaching and learning
There should be no question that all children deserve instruction in a wide range of arts programs that include vocal and instrumental music, visual arts, theater, dance, and creative writing. Yet, we believe that arts and cultural programs are not enough. Effective instruction must include integrating the arts into teaching methodologies as a powerful way to foster creative, divergent thinking (Hardiman, Magsamen, McKhann, Eilber, 2009). While many systems exist for helping teachers design an arts-integrated curriculum, teachers who have implemented the Brain-Targeted Teaching Model (Hardiman, 2003; 2006) have demonstrated its effectiveness for integrating educational and neuroscience research while infusing multiple forms of the arts.
The Brain-Targeted Teaching Model presents six stages, or “brain targets” of the teaching and learning process. Each brain target is informed by research from educational and cognitive neuroscience. The components include (1) establishing the emotional climate for learning, (2) creating the physical learning environment, (3) designing the learning experience through big picture concept planning, (4) teaching for the mastery of content, skills, and concepts through arts integrated activities, (5) teaching for the extension and application of knowledge, and (6) evaluating understanding through artful demonstrations of learning. In this presentation, we will demonstrate how the components of the Brain-Targeted Teaching Model serve as a framework for teachers to engage students in deep thinking and learning through authentic, artful learning experiences. We will share field-tested techniques from two diverse learning environments in Baltimore City that integrate the visual and performing arts through the model. Additionally, we will share how this pedagogy and findings from the brain sciences can be translated and disseminated to a global community through the web portal LEARN.
We believe that all schools must foster in children creativity and innovation. Yet we also know that this will demand a paradigm shift from our current practices and policies. It will require the collaboration of professionals across multiple disciplines including artists and art educators. It will also require the support of a wide community of stakeholders who share the vision that the arts are a vital component of educating children in the 21st century.