VISUAL THINKING STUDIOS

Research Studies

 

Artful Citizenship Project: Three-Year Project Report Miami, FL; 2005

The Artful Citizenship Project is a pilot educational program funded by the US DOE and developed in partnership with The Wolfsonian-FIU and the Miami-Dade County Public School system. The Project undertook to understand the relationship between visual literacy and other academic skills. VTS was a major component of the Artful Citizenship project and the study produced significant findings about the efficacy of the VTS curriculum. Students who received VTS for three years had significantly higher growth rates in visual literacy than comparison group students; there was a strong relationship between growth in visual literacy and growth in both reading and mathematics; VTS promoted good citizenship skills, cooperation, respect, and tolerance for the views of others; and VTS was especially effective with students with limited English proficiency. The study concluded that curriculum enhancements like VTS, may be the best test preparation the schools can provide.
Program Evaluation conducted by Curva and Associates

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Thinking Through Art; The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum School Partnership Program Boston, MA; 2003-2007

In 2003, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM), in partnership with the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), received a 3-year grant from the Department of Education to research students' learning in and from an art museum multiple-visit program. The ISGM's School Partnership Program (SPP) provided the context for this study and focused on three overarching goals described below in more detail. Launched in 1996, the SPP is a multiple-visit program serving K-8 students from neighboring inner-city public schools. Over the three years of the study, the pedagogy for the SPP shifted from a Socratic-method to more open-ended questions, using the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) questioning model which focuses on learning to look at and make meaning from works of art, as well as gaining familiarity with the museum environment in order to feel comfortable using the Gardner as a community resource. The study concluded that students in the SPP program generated significantly more instances of critical thinking skills, had more to say, and were more likely to provide evidence for their thinking.
Principal Researchers: Marianna Adams and Jessica Luke
Researchers: Jill Stein, Susan Foutz, Institute for Learning Innovation

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Aesthetic Development and Creative and Critical Thinking Skills Study San Antonio, Texas; 2000-2002

San Antonio Independent School District students in grades three through five who completed VTS lessons significantly outperformed students who did not have VTS lessons in both aesthetic and critical thinking growth. The students who received the VTS curriculum transferred critical thinking skills, such as supported observations and speculations, to their individual art-viewing experiences independent of the group or a teacher. They students also transferred critical thinking skills fostered by VTS discussions about art to individual viewing experiences of non-art objects. Being at risk and coming to school speaking a language other than English did not interfere with San Antonio VTS students' development of critical thinking strategies. They clearly demonstrated steps in the process of learning to learn. VTS, which mirrors and strengthens best practices for teaching at risk and students with limited English proficiency, supplies a missing component needed in schools. The data from this study convinced the San Antonio Independent School District to implement VTS system-wide.
Principal Researcher: Abigail Housen
Senior Research Associate: Karin DeSantis

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Aesthetic Thought, Critical Thinking and Transfer Byron, Minnesota; 1993

In 1993, VUE found evidence that VTS causes the growth of critical thinking. Moreover, VTS enables transfer of critical thinking to other contexts and content. In a five-year partnership between the Byron (Minnesota) School District, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, and VUE, the opportunity arose to design and implement a longitudinal study to look for evidence that VTS develops critical thinking and its transfer, in addition to testing the effect of VTS in stimulating aesthetic growth. The results from the study support the hypothesis that VTS accelerates aesthetic growth. Ultimately, the results serve as both a window into the kinds of thinking and learning that occur when elementary-age students respond to works of art over an extended period, but also how learning in the arts can enable students to move beyond the interpretation of images into critical thinking in other areas.
Principal Researcher: Abigail Housen
Senior Research Associate: Karin DeSantis

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