Brains on Fire: How Research on the Brain Can Inform Arts Education 

Catherine Ring, New England Institute for Teacher Education


Workshop Details

What implications can research on brain development have on arts education? What is the role of the arts in learning? How are common myths about the brain hampering teaching? Come learn about some of the latest research on neuroscience and brain development and learn how you can build a compelling case to enhance arts programming in your school. A wealth of resources will be shared. Grades PK-12 All Educators 


Presenter Bio

Catherine is Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education and is a former school principal and visual art teacher. Catherine is a founding member of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. She completed her Education Leadership studies at the University of Vermont and received her Master of Arts from Vermont College of Norwich University. For her thesis, entitled “Education and the Arts, Toward Creative Intelligences,” she researched the role of the arts in learning and has worked closely with classroom teachers, helping them to integrate the arts. 


link to overview video


Outline & linked resources


1. Introduction.  Explain what we are going to do in this workshop
    a. Brains On Fire Movie Trailer 
    b. Video Clip – Fireworks in Your Brain


2. Stories of Authentically Engaged Minds
    a. Share Personal Stories  
        i. What Power do our Words have on creative confidence?
        Resource: * The Power of our Words


3. How Can Research on the Brain Inform Education?  
    a. Explore Myths, Facts, Surprises about the Brain
    b. Explore Main Points in two pieces of current research
        Resource: * NeuroEducation: Learning, Arts and the Brain
                       * How Creativity Works in the Brain
    c. What do we do with this information?  Action Reflection Research
        Resource: * Sharing and finding research of interest  
    d. Individual Work Time    


 4. Do the Arts Provide the Conditions to Foster More Effective Learning?
     a. Discussion
     b. Arts with the Brain in Mind        
     c. Brain Evolution: Searching for What Makes Us Human
     d. What doors do we open (or shut!) in our classrooms?    


5.  How Can we Use Research to advocate for quality arts in every Maine school?
        Resource: * Maine Arts Assessment Resources
        Resource: * Resource Bank Website


Where's Kevin Now?
         To be Continued…


Additional Resources: