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How Arts Education Teaches Us to Learn From Failure

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Aug 04, 2017

Researchers note that learners often fall into two camps in terms of their approach to education: a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. The former is characterized by a belief that putting in the effort, and learning from failure, will lead to better results and improved skills. The latter perspective, however, holds that individuals have a certain skill level or ability, and the learning process will not necessarily allow one to move past that. A recent article in ArtsHub spoke to educators in Australia to get a sense for how they see arts education as a critical component of developing a growth mindset.

“Ten years after people graduate not everyone will be a famous actor, but what they have got from their training, which I love, is a curiosity about how others work and empathy for other people – [acting] is about being able to step into someone else's shoes. And the two big qualities that we really try to foster are compassion and empathy. If you take that away, you can walk into another career later on if you wanted to where you would be really good at working in a team, collaborating, and being able to communicate effectively,” said Andrew Lewis Smith, associate dean of performance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Another practitioner notes that arts training often places failure at the center of the learning process. Students are encouraged to make something, throw it away, and make something better. Rather than an aberration or something to be avoided, failure is a catalyst for learning and achievement.

Read the full article here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.