A recent study done by Kisida and colleagues examined the effects of integrating arts into students’ learning by measuring elementary-aged students’ learning outcomes after receiving a lesson on Arkansas state history through a theater performance. The authors suggest that arts integration has positive effects on a variety of subjects.
This study recruited 1,892 students in grade 3-5 from 12 schools. Students were randomly assigned into experimental and control groups. The experimental groups were taken to see a theater performance on Arkansas state history produced by the Walton Arts Center. After the performance, all students took a test that included 13 multiple choice questions on the history content, a Likert-type survey to measure students’ interest in future theatre and performance arts consumption, and a 4-point Likert-type scored question to measure their interest in learning history and history empathy.
The study found that experimental groups performed statistically significantly better in all aspects than control groups. In addition, minority students’ interest in history was more than double that of White students’. While this study is limited by only including a single lesson and short-term outcome, it highlights the need to further investigate the impacts of arts integration.
Source (Open Access): Kisida, B., Goodwin, L., & Bowen, D. H. (2020). teaching history through theater: The effects of arts integration on students’ knowledge and attitudes. AERA Open, 6 (1), 2332858420902712. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858420902712