Arts Boost Student Wellbeing - Study
1 October 2013 at 10:01 am
Students involved in the arts have higher school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem and life satisfaction, a study by University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work and the Australia Council for the Arts has revealed.
The results, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, found students who participate in dance, drama, music, and visual arts showed more positive academic and personal wellbeing outcomes than students who were not as involved in the arts.
Academic outcomes included motivation, homework completion, class participation, enjoyment of school, and educational aspirations, while personal wellbeing measures considered such factors as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose.
According to lead author, Professor Andrew Martin: “The study shows that school participation in the arts can have positive effects on diverse aspects of students’ lives.
“Whereas most previous research has been small-scale or focused on students’ enjoyment in specific arts subjects, such as music, dance, drama, and visual arts, our research was large-scale and assessed outcomes beyond the arts domain.
“It shows that the arts can impact broader academic and personal wellbeing outcomes for young people.”
Positive effects also resulted from home influences, such as how often parents and their children talked about and participated in the arts.
Active participation, more than simply being an observer or audience member, also yielded stronger positive effects on school and personal wellbeing outcomes in the study.
Australia Council Acting Director Community Partnerships Dr David Sudmalis said the results raised significant policy implications for how arts-based learning is integrated into the school curriculum.
“Not only does this study demonstrate that the arts help deliver positive outcomes in engagement and motivation for students outside of the arts domain, it also shows that high quality, participatory arts education has the greatest impact,” Dr Sudmalis said.
“These important findings show the significance of partnerships between the arts and education sectors, where artists and teachers work together to develop students’ expertise in and through the arts.”
The analysis was funded by the Australian Research Council, in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts.
The full results are available at the Journal of Educational Psychology website.