It is unfortunate that school systems have just begun to make the connection
between the value of the arts in education and higher scores across the board
on standard tests which evaluate intelligence and knowledge. There has long
been proof of connections between music and math...You might try focusing on
some areas of schools (Getty has an excellent film I saw in an art ed class
on the impact art made in some schools which were populated with multiethnic,
non-traditional homes and the impact that art made on those students ..I
believe one school was in Mississippi, one in California, one in Florida, and
one up north somewhere...The students all came from poverty-below poverty
backgrounds and had been in serious trouble academically until arts programs
were introduced...The film was wonderful...I will see if I can find out the
name of it and pass it on to you....
Getty has great research information and because they are funded so well, are
able to gather information like this in a more usable format than is
generally available to art teachers...The film was really encouraging...it
also dealt with elementary to high school students..Some school districts
like Nashville mandate the teaching of elementary art and have elementary art
teachers in all of their schools..Memphis (which is where I live) does not.
The county schools did have elementary art teachers and the city schools
(they run on separate systems) do not...
I think I would try to find some school systems who have kept records (there
is another one in Texas I recall reading about) and do some comparative
research ...Having just received my Masters in Art History...you need to
propose a hypothesis..and then set out to prove or disprove it....It would be
really interesting to take records from a school that incorporated art
education into its curriculum and follow the results for the length of
randomly chosen students'time in elementary school...to see what and how art
has influenced their abilities in other areas....
Someone you might contact on a more personal level is Mona Brookes, who has
written several books on teaching children and teens to draw....She might
have written some papers prior to publishing her books and could serve as an
She is from California...Her first book was Teaching Children to Draw and Now
I understand she has come out with a book on Teaching Teens to Draw...
Some of this gets into right brain.left brain kids...and although there is
truth in it...it is not all truth
My youngest child was intensely spatial and has always been...was drawing
arrangements of people around tables at three...her houses were never cute
little squares with a roof and windows, but the interior of houses...laid out
like a blue-print...Her spatial scores on an IQ test were off the top...but
her verbal scores were not...She still struggles with reading but can
construct a house (interior and all) from a piece of paper and a
pencil....(She's now an interior design major) Math was her really strong
subject...as well as geography...)
That's where I'd start anyway...and you could conduct your own research to
test your hypothesis...if you can find a school friendly campus...or perhaps
have a campus school as does the U of Memphis that often serves as a "guinea
pig" for budding teachers.