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Art for Art’s Sake? The Impact of Arts Education

OECD

Artists, alongside scientists and entrepreneurs, are role models for innovation in our societies. Not surprisingly, arts education is commonly said to be a means of developing skills considered as critical for innovation: critical and creative thinking, motivation, self-confidence, and ability to communicate and cooperate effectively, but also skills in non-arts academic subjects such as mathematics, science, reading and writing.

Does arts education really have a positive impact on the three subsets of skills that we define as “skills for innovation”: technical skills, skills in thinking and creativity, and character (behavioural and social skills)?

The report answers this question by updating and extending to behavioural and social skills the meta-analyses published in 2000 by the “Reviewing Education and the Arts Project” (REAP) directed by Hetland and Winner.

Meta-analyses combine existing studies on a specific topic to assess whether a finding is consistent and has enough statistical power to be generalised.

In addition to studies already reviewed in the REAP project, this new enquiry involves the systematic investigation of research databases in education and psychology in the following languages: Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

OECD report.

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