McNaughton, M.J. (2003) A curriculum for excellence review of research literature. [Report]
Research suggests that the arts play significant part in the education of all pupils. The findings of numerous, wide-ranging studies indicate that the Expressive Arts fulfil a vital function in the development learners, meeting many of the outcomes described in the "Purposes of the Curriculum 3-18" diagram outlined on page 15 of "A Curriculum for Excellence". In the following review of recent research, it is evident that the arts provide meaningful contexts through which learners can actively participate in a wide range of learning experiences. It is evident that learning should take place in the arts: each separate discipline has its own knowledge and skills base. But learning also takes place through the arts. Because of the high level of active engagement and enjoyment experienced during good Expressive Arts lessons, learners gain a sense of achievement and increased self-esteem. Across the arts areas, learners are offered a very wide and varied range of experiences, enabling them to communicate in a number of ways, for example, orally, visually, through body language and through music. The collaborative nature of many arts activities enables learners to develop skills in working cooperatively with others, often in problem-solving, creative situations. The arts also offer many opportunities for learners to be pro-active and enterprising within meaningful and relevant contexts.
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