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Access to the Arts Shown to Increase Academic Performance

Feb 19, 2020

We know there are several social and educational benefits to taking student groups to watch live theater performance. Now, there’s data to back it up.

A recent study by Dr. Natasha Kirkham, a senior lecturer in psychology and researcher at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck University London, found three key benefits that children as young as 3 years old can experience.

  • Improved social tolerance: Experiencing live theater over watching similar content via a screen, such as a film, can achieve a much deeper understanding and absorption of the content leading to higher levels of social tolerance and a greater ability to question.
  • Improved academic performance: Engagement with performing arts positively impacts academic performance and can boost academic performance of the average child by 4% when drama is part of the curriculum.
  • Positive social change: Theater holds immense value for children’s developing minds. It is a powerful tool for facilitating children’s and teenagers’ self-efficacy to promote positive social change as well as an improved ability to broach complex and difficult issues and subjects.

In conclusion, Dr. Kirkham says findings suggests an evident benefit of theater attendance for children, across a range of developmental areas.

“Theatre can improve social bonding, allow for emotions to be explored in a safe space, develop the emotional and cognitive skills to deal with a complicated world, and kick-start conversations about important issues,” Kirkham writes.

Read the full study here.

Courtesy of Teach & Travel.