Pariser, D. Castro, J. C. & Lalonde, M. (2016). Mobilities, aesthetics, and civic engagement: Getting at-risk youth to look at their communities. International Journal of Education Through Art, 12(2), 211-225. doi: 10.1386/eta.12.2.211_1
To make an educational intervention geared toward encouraging civic engagement among at-risk youth and to help address high school drop-out rates in Quebec and North America, a mobile media art curriculum was developed to engage students with their schooling, develop their level of civic engagement, and help them get their high school diploma. The curriculum consisted of visual arts and used mobile media to target high school drop outs who had returned to an Adult Education Centre in Quebec. The program was named MonCoin, which means ‘My Corner’ in French. The authors defined civic engagement as involvement in community service, collective action, politics, and social change. Keeping this definition in mind, the program’s main activity is taking pictures of the neighborhood with a specific question in mind, ‘How would I make this neighborhood better?’. Its hope is that students use visual arts to gain a sense of empowerment and articulate areas in need of change. The authors also discuss the need to “reconsider what civic engagement means and how the salient qualities of visual arts can be used to engage at-risk youth with their education (2016, p. 212).”
Keywords: curriculum, at-risk youth, civic engagement, mobile media, visual arts
Thomas, K., Singh, P., ; Klopfenstein, K. (2015). Arts education and the high school dropout problem. Journal of Cultural Economics, 39(4), 327-339. doi:
Thomas, Singh, and Klopfenstein (2015) used survival analysis and longitudinal administrative data from Texas to track approximately 175,000 first-time 9th graders to prove that arts are highly significant in education reform. The study conducted by the authors supports previous literature that advocates a belief that students benefit from art education. The article discusses how at-risk students’ academic achievement is positively impacted by quality art courses. Art, according to the authors, at risk students are engaged in art in ways in which they are not engaged in other subjects and can aid in preventing students from dropping out of school. In addition, participation in the arts fosters student attachment to a group and forges connections between students and school, and it encourages persistence by giving students a safe place to learn from their mistakes and failures in ways that may be unavailable in other subjects. The article contains the data used in the study as well as its findings followed by recommendations. The authors suggest that interested stakeholders such as the National Education Association (NEA) conduct further studies on the benefits of the arts on the academic achievement of at-risk students using an experimental or quasi-experimental research design Thomas, Singh, & Klopfenstein, 2015).
Keywords: art education, drop-out, at-risk students, education reform


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