Pardes student hits the TED-Ed stage to discuss arts in education

TED-Ed Club has posted Pardes Jewish Day School, 12753 N. Scottsdale Road, student Jennifer Marhoffer’s Talk on their TED-Ed Club website.

Jennifer Marhoffer. (Submitted Photo)

One of the newest additions to the school’s 21st Century Learning curriculum, TED-Ed Club’s mission is to effectively empower the world’s youth to speak up on issues that are truly important to them. The network includes over 3,000 clubs in 115 countries, according to a press release.

Ms. Marhoffer’s Talk is a call for schools to stop cutting the arts in education. She presents an argument in support of the critical role they play in contributing to higher test scores and overall academic success, in addition to personal achievement and fulfillment.

“Have you ever played an instrument, been in a school play, created beautiful art pieces in art class?” she said in her talk. “Imagine it all disappears from schools across the U.S. No music, no theater, no art pieces, no arts.”

The Pardes student bemoans the effects of taking the arts out of Middle School, leaving subjects “dry and boring.” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” she insists.

She points to “arts based, hands on learning programs that enhance students’ in-depth understanding of science, math, history and language arts,” and cites corroborating studies by the US Department of Education.

“Instead of students sitting at a desk with a history book at hand, students can use a musical instrument, paint, dance, draw,” she said.

“The arts really do reinforce teaching,” Ms. Marhoffer said. “They allow students to be creative and develop crucial skills for thinking out of the box. This stays in the brain for a long time.”

In her talk, she points to creative ways to learn and retain complicated subject matter like mathematical equations by putting them to song and making science come alive through drawing, a release states.

“I want people to know that the arts are being cut out with all the cuts in funding, but sports aren’t,” she said. “Students do a lot better, in general, when they do any arts program.”

The Pardes student has been dancing since she was little, and she’s mindful of how this makes her more creative and helps her to relax to do homework. When asked what she most appreciates about being singled out for attention, the now eighth grader said “it feels good to be a voice for people who don’t have a way to get this message across.”

Pardes is a private, independent school serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It offers a 21st Century Learning curriculum reinforced through Project Based hands-on learning and consistent with the goals of being a Future Ready school.

Students develop into confident critical and creative thinkers, collaborators, communicators and innovators with a broad and deep understanding of the world. Jewish life and learning extend well beyond the classroom and throughout the day, reinforced through.

Jewish values, rituals, language and culture. Graduates are accepted into the finest high schools and colleges and are prepared for overall success in life.

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