Place for dance in whole-child education – a scientific perspective

by Harbans L. Nakra, Ph.D.


The author describes a scientific basis for defining “whole-child education” and the role that dance training can play in achieving its objectives. A model of the Human Brain-Behaviour System is described, based on the view that the brain is an information processing system with an input from the sense organs and an output that represents behaviour.  Between these two end points, seven processing Functions are described: Perception, Analysis and Evaluation, Intelligence, Decision making, The Emotional Brain, Imagination and Action or Expression.  The descriptions of these Functions include two important elements of the system: Cognition and Empathy.  The author suggests that any material included in the school curriculum must be checked against its potential for contributing to the development of these Functions, and based on this criterion, concludes that dance training merits serious consideration for such inclusion.

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