Friday, August 14, 2009

Reflections on the kinesthetic arts

I have just a few more entries to share on Jensen's book, Arts With The Brain In Mind. The final posts will cover reflections on the kinesthetic arts, the value of play, something Jensen refers to as "settling time," and thoughts on assessments in the arts.

Blogging is a good way to process one's thoughts or share ideas and experiences. For me, writing about Jensen's book has helped me think through some of his ideas. Last school year I took an online course using Jensen's book as our text. Most of what I've written comes after reflecting on the ideas Jensen presents in his book.

After I finish the next four entries, I'll begin to share some of the art projects I've used in my classroom. I hope to include a gallery of student work, lesson plans, resources, and ideas on how to tie in the lessons to the Washington State ELARS. See this link for my view on the State's learning goals and how that fits into my philosophy of art.


The Kinesthetic Arts: Involving students in intricate and sometimes original movements as a means to activate the brain. Again, reflections from Jensen's excellent book:

Most of the brain is involved when students engage in highly complex and novel movements. The brain goes on alert, stays focused, is "on the lookout," and with many areas of the brain activated, students can handle multi-sensory input. Jensen points out that athletes that achieve excellence in sports are likely using close to 100% of the brain. When the body is involved in complex actions, multiple systems in the brain are activated. This brain activation does not operate this way with traditional seat work. Active learning, learning that involves multiple systems, leads to implicit learning. When students learn from experience, the learning runs deep. Such learning awakens a better understanding of concepts, many of which are stumbled upon accidentally.

While my main focus is on the visual arts, there is much to be said about the benefits of the kinesthetic arts. Participation in the kinesthetic arts stimulates implicit learning. Implicit learning, or hands-on learning is more effective than explicit text-based learning because it involves more area of the brain in the learning experience. It's active learning and shows greater effects than explicit learning. I've explained to my principal that in my art class, many things are taught, more is caught. Implicit learning is caught learning - learning by experience, trial and error, experimentation, and asking the "what if?" questions.

To explore these ideas further see the following links:
Excerpt from the kinesthetic arts chapter of Jensen's book.

Minds in Motion: A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

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