Teachers are using theater and dance to teach math – and it’s working

Washington Post article 2/22/16

By Moriah Balingit

Mariah Balingit’s article in the Washington Post shines a examines outcomes of arts integration. In this piece, the writer examines how teachers are using theatre, dance, and visual arts as a teaching tool for math and other subjects.

According to the article, a study by the American Institutes for Research found that students in classes headed by teachers trained by The Wolf Trap Institute through a program that pairs art teachers with early-childhood educators performed better on math assessments than did their peers being taught by teachers who were not in the program.

Researchers found that pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in classes taught by Wolf Trap-trained teachers gained about 1.3 months of math learning in the first year over their peers. By the second year, they were 1.7 months ahead.

Researcher Mengli Song said the students in the program did not necessarily learn additional math content but they did demonstrate a better grasp of the material. And the effect was comparable to other early-childhood interventions.

Researchers followed students in 18 schools. In 10 of the schools, Wolf Trap Institute art teachers helped classroom teachers generate math lessons. In the other eight, teachers taught students as they normally would. Researchers administered math assessments to about eight students per class.

Teachers who were trained by the master artists and participated in professional development with Wolf Trap continued to use what they learned in their classrooms, even when they were no longer working with teaching artists, the study found. It demonstrated that a year or two of training could have a lasting impact.

Read the full article here.

Excerpted from an article in The Washington Post, February 22, 2016


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