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author: Bruno Maia, IconTexto http://www.icontexto.com

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Resiliency Theory

 

Resiliency theory is a theory of positive youth development. It is a theory that suggests that despite adversities and stressful contexts imposed on youth, there are events, characteristics, and experiences that can help protect young people from harm and towards positive “normal” development. The Search Institute has created a framework of protective factors called the 40 Developmental Assets, which identifies a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults (Search Institute, 2014). Assets promote positive youth development for all young people, and for young people with risk factors, assets foster resiliency that help those at-risk achieve positive developmental outcomes despite the presence of risk. Research shows that that the more protective factors, or “assets” a young person is exposed to or has, the more likely they are to be resilient and excel .

 

The Evidence

 

How do the Arts help building the resilience of young people?

There is extensive evidence that the Arts produce multiple benefits to young people, and make a significant contribution to helping all students achieve success in school, work and life.

 

Higher academic performance + improved social skills
Research demonstrates that for socially and economically disadvantaged young people, high levels of involvement in music and the arts show more positive outcomes in a variety of areas than their low-arts-engaged peers. In middle school, high school, and beyond, they tend to do better on a host of academic and social behavioral measures than do at-risk youth who lack access to opportunities in the arts backgrounds. Therefore, in-school or extracurricular programs offering involvement in the arts may help to narrow the gap in achievement levels among at risk youth and non-risk populations of young people.

 

 

Alternative options for students to experience academic success
Participation in the arts can provide avenues for students to experience academic success who otherwise may struggle academically. Furthermore, because the arts offer alternative forms of inspiration and expression for at-risk students, participation in the arts can result in greater attachment to school, a proven resiliency factor. The arts often become a reason for staying in school.

 

 

Participation in the Arts provides pro-social engagement
In addition to the benefits students obtain from involvement in music and the arts during school hours, participation in the arts through after school activity involvement also provides further benefits. After-school involvement in the arts provides young people with structured time in prosocial activities during the critical but risky after-school hours between 3pm and 7pm. This helps to keep young people safe and engaged, making it less likely that they will participate in negative and unsafe behaviors, such as experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sexual activity.

 

 


Higher levels of civic engagement
Students who participate meaningfully in the arts have also been also become more active and engaged citizens, voting, volunteering, and generally participating at higher rates than their non-art involved peers.

 

 

10 Lessons the Arts Teach

The Arts and the Creation of Mind

- Elliot Eisner

 

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

 

2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

 

3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

 

4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

 

5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

 

6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.

 

7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

 

8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

 

9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

 

10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

 

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SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press.