Unique arts program lifts student engagement and achievement

A one-day symposium showcasing the outcomes of the unique multi-arts project Y-Connect will be held at Yeronga State High School today (November 29).

Griffith University lead researcher Professor Julie Dunn says the project was aimed at supporting students’ learning and sense of belonging by using arts-based pedagogies including artists partnering with teachers to deliver both classroom-based learning and extra-curricular activities.

“With maths lessons involving dance artists, English lessons co-taught by actors and playwrights, students singing and composing with Opera Queensland or doing acrobatic tricks with Circa Circus team members, there is no such thing as a normal school day for students at Yeronga State High School,’’ she said.

“In the 21st century, finding ways to engage young people in learning is always a challenge, so we are very pleased to report the energising impact the project has had on student learning and the flow-on effect this has had on their academic achievement.”

Professor Dunn also points out that as Yeronga State High is a multicultural school with students from over 60 countries, including a significant proportion from refugee backgrounds, they were keen to see if arts-based approaches could enhance connectedness and belonging across the school.

“The findings are highly positive in all of these areas, with a key outcome being a significant boost in NAPLAN results for literacy, bucking the national trend.”

Yeronga State High School Principal, Mr Terry Heath said: “The Y-Connect Project has been transformative for many of our students. Working with some of Brisbane’s best artists has definitely broadened their horizons and boosted their enthusiasm for learning.”