Impact of Art on At-Risk Students
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The research study focused on the influence and impact of art education on at-risk students who have experienced or are experiencing trauma. Through support of literature, including scholarly journals and case studies, and classroom observations of the researcher’s students from an inner city school in southeast Washington, D.C., it was concluded that not only does art impact at-risk students education, but it does so, positively. The classroom observations included five principal participants in both elementary and middle school, three boys and two girls, whom all live in a housing project near their school. Information was gathered about these students through both researcher observations and personal communications with the school psychologist. In combination with the student participants, data was gathered from literature —mainly from the works of Eleanor D. Brown who has done extensive research on the effects of the arts on at-risk students who have experienced trauma and/or chaotic situations. The literature and student observations were used to support one another in a cohesive, coherent way. The literature helped to decipher some of the classroom observations and better understand the reactions and responses of students. The study revealed that art education affects students in several ways including influencing the child’s education as a whole, art as a coping mechanism, school readiness, and a child’s general wellbeing. Implications of the study are the resulting affects on art education as a whole, including policy writing and the field of arts advocacy.