New research from Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and the University of Oregon over the last ten years has shown strong correlations between the integration of arts learning processes into core academic classrooms and improvement in academic performance across all disciplines and on standardized tests.

At ArtsWork in Education (AWE) we believe that the reason for this enhancement is that arts learning processes engage all of the multiple intelligences and all cognitive modalities, in complex, high-level creativity, problem solving and decision-making activities.

As these mental modes are continuously engaged through arts projects, neural networks are built that are the basis for enhanced intelligences that support advanced creativity and problems solving.

Because these intellectual enhancements develop habits of mind at basic cognitive levels, the advantages are transferable and applicable to supporting high-level performance in academic work across disciplines such as math, science, language, social science.

The arts learning processes that facilitate higher level critical thinking and creative problem solving include: rigorous and careful observation from multiple perspectives, application of multiple intelligences and multiple cognitive modes to critical thinking and creativity; rigorous planning; complex problem solving and decision-making using both rational and intuitive cognitive modes; production and creation of products; reflection, assessment and revision; complex communication with others.

© Rick Williams 2009