Arts education is often said to be a means of developing critical and creative thinking. Arts education has also been argued to enhance performance in non-arts academic subjects such as mathematics, science, reading and writing, and to strengthen students’ academic motivation, self-confidence, and ability to communicate and co-operate effectively. Arts education thus seems to have a positive impact on the three subsets of skills that we define as “skills for innovation”: subject-based skills, including in non-arts subjects; skills in thinking and creativity; and behavioural and social skills.
This OECD report “Art for Art’s Sake: The Impact of Arts Education,” by Ellen Winner, Thalia Goldstein , and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin, examines the state of empirical knowledge about the impact of arts education on these kinds of outcomes. The kinds of arts education examined include arts classes in school (classes in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance), arts-integrated classes (where the arts are taught as a support for an academic subject), and arts study undertaken outside of school (e.g. private music lessons; out-of-school classes in theatre, visual arts, and dance). The report does not deal with education about the arts or cultural education, which may be included in all kinds of subjects.
“Ellen Winner, Thalia Goldstein, and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin have unraveled the most potent reason for arts education, the development of ‘artistic habits of mind’ such as observation and exploration which benefit all students no matter their level of artistic talent. Their meticulous research is invaluable in understanding how the arts are an essential part of every child’s education,” as reviewed by Heather Watts and Damian Woetzel, both former principal dancers from the New York City Ballet.
About the speaker
Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin is a Senior Analyst and Project Leader at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Directorate for Education and Skills. His current interests cover: the nature and level of education and skills that matter in innovation and knowledge societies; the innovation ecology in the education sector; the measurement of innovation in education.
His interest in arts education relates to his research on the impact of various curricula and pedagogies on individual skills. Stéphan also works extensively on higher education, covering many dimensions (internationalisation and trade in higher education, the role of technology, the impact of different pedagogies, research, equity, etc.) He has authored many articles and book chapters and edited several books. His most recent book, co-authored with Ellen Winner and Thalia Goldstein, is Art for Art’s Sake? The impact of arts education (OECD Publishing).