VISUAL THINKING STUDIOS

Guiding Principles 2

"To build a society that is innovative, prosperous, and truly democratic we need to teach next generations not just facts and skills, but how to learn, how to communicate, and how to think creatively, critically, independently."
Philip Yenawine, VTS Co-Founder

Develop a Global Society

Educators, community leaders, and business people agree that schools need to strengthen a fundamentally different set of skills.

VTS encourages these skills.

"We need people with skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning and problem solving. We need people who can communicate. We need to enhance the richness and diversity of the workforce, and we need people with the confidence to face the future.

Accenture Chairman and CEO William D. Green addressing the US Senate Finance Committee.

Critical Thinking

Tomorrow's leaders must thrive in any environment.

VTS strengthens students' ability to navigate new situations through observation, reasoning and respectful interaction.

"Students learn to look carefully at works of art and discuss their observations, supporting their opinions with evidence in the art works. Teachers transfer the questioning strategies to subject areas and students become more careful observers, more attentive listeners and more thoughtful speakers."

Report to the Community 2005, by Arts for Academic Achievement, a VTS-based partnership between the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Minneapolis Public Schools

Effective Teaching

No Child Left Behind fails students because it mistakes test results for learning.

VTS helps improve test scores while stimulating students' desire to think and learn.

"I was in the professional development program last year and LOVED it I'm so thankful that I'm able to be a part of this amazing program. The kids love it! It's so rare to have 100% participation in verbal activities with English as a Second Language kids, and this program does it."

Jessica Clark, ESL elementary school teacher, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Innovative Curriculum

Investing in teacher training and innovative curricula generates high returns for our society.

VTS helps otherwise failing students succeed.

"The rise of accountability policies during the early 1990s coincided with an increase in the achievement gap between white and minority students, reversing decades of steady improvement in outcome equity. An extensive review of research suggests that pre-1990 reductions in the achievement gap occurred because minority students were exposed to greater resources and academic content. The few forms of accountability that have apparently helped to improve equity have in common with past successful policies the effect of increasing student exposure to resources and/or content."

Accountability, Standards, and the Growing Achievement Gap: Lessons from the Past Half-Century,_ Douglas Harris and Carolyn Herrington, American Journal of Education, Feb 2006.

Motivated Learners

Great art embodies elements of all of us. Because of this, it motivates students and engenders learning.

VTS is effective because students enjoy it.

"Students need to be inspired by culture and encouraged to pursue their talents. For many students, arts programs are what they look forward to most when they leave for school each morning. Our school's experience demonstrates that arts education has a positive impact on adolescent development and provides a benchmark for every student to excel."

Principal Barbara Sanders of PS383 in Brooklyn, in response to Mayor Bloomberg's announcement of new strategies to enhance arts education for all city students.

Photo courtesy of the School Partnership Program
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston, MA USA
schoolpartnership@isgm.org