Dancesport as an Educational Resource: Comparison
Please note this is a comparison between Version 1 by Gabriela Tomescu and Version 2 by Jessie Wu.

Experts claim that physical activity is essential for children’s development, and movement integration into the educational system should be a priority because the current pedagogical methodology involves sedentary activities in a proportion of approximately 89%. The academic content of a curriculum that is supported by physical exercise improves school performance, which is why specialists recommend that the educational system should include physical activity for at least one and a half hours per day. Specialized studies mention that extracurricular activities (including dance) contribute to the stimulation of multiple intelligences, on whose development the educational process and academic success depend. 

  • learning strategies
  • institutionalized children
  • multiple intelligences
  • dance

1. The Effects of Institutionalization on Children’s Development

Parental behavior towards children and the environment in which they develop greatly influence their mental health, which contributes to their formation as adults. Thus, social behavior and educational and professional success depend on the education received in childhood [1][3].
Parental support is an external factor of influence without which school failure and poor cognitive development can occur: children are not assisted in doing their homework and may become unable to study further. Social and school environments can also have an impact on students’ school motivation [2][20]. Dysfunctional family life can make children vulnerable when faced with the norms of institutionalized education after the age of 6–7 years old. Previous attachment disorders can also manifest as school phobia or teacher phobia. School failure affects individual cognitive strategies and self-control ability [3][21]. In institutionalized children, frustration and negative thoughts are more pronounced, and school performance is less important to them [4][22].
The negative effects of adverse childhood experiences are also reflected in each person’s mental health in different proportions. A study of 12,421 adolescents aged 10–17 suggests that girls are more affected by negative childhood experiences compared to boys, but boys experience more violence. These children are more likely to develop depression and anxiety symptoms, especially girls [5][23].

2. Dance as an Educational Resource

The importance of dance in education has been highlighted for many years, with numerous authors demonstrating the need to include it in the school curriculum. In Sarasota, Florida, dance programs have been developed for high school students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with the purpose of encouraging them through this form of movement to complete their studies. Strategies were applied to improve the education process through art and music, and after about two years, it was observed that the results were much improved in terms of school performance [6][24].
The influence of dance on the learning process is also mentioned in studies emphasizing that dance training involves pedagogical teaching methods and that a dancer needs to have minimal notions of anatomy. Such an activity improves mental health and facilitates the development of other curricular and extracurricular activities in good conditions of concentration and attention [7][25].
Although society believes that artistic sports would be more suitable for girls than boys, specialists in the field claim that these activities should be equally addressed to both genders as an everyday activity [8][26]. The same study recommends the practice of dance by institutionalized children because it guides towards a specific career, adapts the body to usual and unusual daily demands, stimulates nonverbal communication, develops spatial orientation, and improves the social integration process.
Dance stimulates non-cognitive abilities; therefore, artistic and social skills are better developed in people who practice this sport compared to those who do not perform any physical activity in their free time [9][10][27,28]. Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of including dance in the school curriculum due to its complex effects on children’s growth and development as well as its psychological benefits [11][29]. Dance can be practiced with a therapeutic purpose: it improves the health status of people with various mental or motor conditions, increases school or professional results, and prevents the deterioration of brain activity [12][30]. The enjoyment of music and dance plays an important role in increasing the individual’s daily motivation [13][31].
In this context, physical education programs should be better exploited by educational institutions, and emotional and social factors should represent benchmarks for further research and intervention studies [14][32].
This approach is particularly important for successful education because multiple intelligences influence the learning process and career orientation. A group of eleventh-grade students participated in a study addressing their ability to learn biology and the connection of this process with multiple intelligences [15][33]. Kinesthetic intelligence seems to influence learning ability in this subject, with the information about anatomy that students receive in school being easier to remember for people who are characterized by this type of intelligence.
Other studies have highlighted the contribution of dance to developing kinesthetic intelligence and therefore improving postural, sensorimotor, and cognitive performance. A sample of 31 experienced dancers aged 11–54 took part in a six-month study that involved three training sessions per week, with each class lasting 90 min. At the end of this program, improvements were found in body control and reaction time [16][34].
The emotional intelligence of professional dancers is very well developed, especially in those practicing dance from a young age, who have learned early in life to strategically use their emotions in various contexts, allowing them to be persistent, self-confident, efficient, precise and methodical, focused, energetic, patient, tolerant, sociable, empathetic, and fair [17][35]. Stimulating this type of intelligence through dance since childhood also involves the formation of multiple interests in other activities and the establishment of professional objectives [18][36].
Body expression is defined as a phenomenon consisting of cognitive processes, motivations, attitudes, mental states, and various personality traits that contribute to the psychomotor development of children, given that dance stimulates body expressivity and musicality [19][37]. Therefore, including this sport in the school curriculum is beneficial for children’s personality development [20][38]. A recent study [21][39] confirms the importance of dance (as art therapy content) for children’s mental health and emotional well-being. A group of 62 primary school children with mild emotional and behavioral difficulties were randomly assigned to art therapy, music therapy, dance movement therapy, or dramatherapy and, at the end of the experiment, positive changes were noted in their self-esteem, sense of safety, and optimism for the future, as well as artistic and verbal progress.
The theoretical background for these explanations is based on Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences [22][40]. According to this theory, there are several intelligences that manifest simultaneously at different levels; they are used concurrently and complement each other as individuals develop their cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Every person has multiple intelligences that can be developed through education and various activities [23][41]. The identified intelligences are: verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical/rhythmic, interpersonal/social, intrapersonal/emotional, and naturalistic.
Everyone has abilities in all types of intelligence, but they exist in different proportions and function in unique ways for each individual. There are people who show a high level of functionality in all types of intelligence, or it may be that only some of them have maximum results, while the results of others are moderate or minimal. Unfortunately, the educational system places emphasis on verbal and mathematical skills [24][42]. Compared to the traditional school teaching model, the model based on the development of multiple intelligences requires the teacher to combine intelligences in a creative way to stimulate linguistic, musical, spatial, logical, and other types of intelligence [24][42].
Studies in the field have described the importance of dance in the development of various types of intelligence as follows:
  • Verbal Intelligence: verbal communication is necessary in this sport to express everyone’s wishes regarding the choreography to be performed. Collaboration should be effective both between partners and between dancers and coaches [25][43].
  • Logical Intelligence: the logical chaining of steps, accompanied by technical and artistic elements, is a means of developing mathematical intelligence [26][44].
  • Bodily Intelligence: dance improves postural, sensorimotor, and cognitive performance [16][34].
  • Musical Intelligence: dance is based on an attitude of listening to all the surrounding sounds that, following personal perceptions, are expressed physically and emotionally to a musical rhythm [27][45].
  • Social Intelligence: dance involves respect and understanding towards other people, and their acceptance and collaboration with the partner or the group to which the individual belongs [28][46].
  • Emotional Intelligence: people educated through music and rhythmic activities have a deeper understanding of the relationships between feelings and the environment, which stimulate the ability to express personal feelings, create, and listen [29][47].
  • Naturalistic Intelligence: dance develops naturalistic intelligence by carefully listening to the sounds of nature (flora and fauna) and imitating them through this activity [30][48].
  • Aesthetic Intelligence: this type of intelligence suggests the artistic sensibility that a person can bring to their creation and work. Any dancer should always be authentic and original [31][49].
  • In terms of visual/spatial intelligence, the individual acquires the ability to think in images, to either clearly visualize the examples provided by the instructor or abstractly visualize them based on imagination, which will be adapted to the workspace or the movement possibilities [32][50].
The earlier dance education begins, the greater the chances of developing intelligence. Brain activity is extremely important in children, and this sport has a positive mental, emotional, and social impact from the first years of life, with the forms of communication in that period relying on expression through gestures and movements [33][51].
Previous studies demonstrated the effectiveness of dance for the harmonious development of preadolescents from a physical, mental, intellectual, social, and emotional point of view. Based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the dancesport program for the institutionalized children participating in this researchtudy is designed so as to be adapted to all types of intelligence theorized so far. Given that dance is a complex sport that includes a variety of styles from the Latin-American and European categories, it has the quality of simultaneously improving several aspects of development, which contributes to the overall development of an individual.
The School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory used in this research highlights the changes in institutionalized children in terms of school success, contributing to the assessment of certain types of intelligence, especially linguistic, logical, and emotional intelligences.

3. Multiple Intelligences and Learning Strategies

Including the model of multiple intelligences in the education of children can have a positive effect on their learning strategies, increasing their motivation and academic interest [34][52].
There are schools that have already applied the Theory of Multiple Intelligences in the teaching process and reported significantly improved performance in academic achievement tests; thus, students’ scores increased by 20% in a Maryland school after just one year of implementing the new educational model. According to a study conducted with 288 fourth-grade children, other schools in Chicago also found a correlation between logical/mathematical intelligence and reading comprehension skills [35][53].
To improve school results, the learning process can be stimulated by exploiting multiple intelligences [36][54], as shown in Table 1.
All these variables (Table 1) contribute to achieving academic success in accordance with learning strategies, the way of doing homework, and the efficient organization of the time allocated to study and extracurricular activities [37][55]. The same study mentions that emotional stability plays a very important role in terms of concentration and attention to schoolwork, while anxiety and negative emotions are associated with absenteeism and low academic performance. Extroverts have better school results due to their increased energy and positive attitudes, these characteristics being accompanied by a desire to understand the lessons and assimilate the information taught by the teacher.
There are children who fail to obtain passing grades in some exams because of just one section, although they have learned and could verbalize the responses to items. However, they are not able to focus enough during tests or do not understand the requirements of certain items. This is due to the types of dominant intelligences, which is why specialists consider it necessary to evaluate children differently so as to highlight students’ qualities and thus encourage them to use their skills outside the school too [38][56]. A test should not simply involve writing on paper the acquired knowledge, it can also be expressed in the form of video projects that include linguistic, musical, and spatial elements (pictures, graphs). If children were evaluated according to their skills, the average number of students with school achievements would increase as a result of improved learning strategies [23][41].
In a 2015 study conducted in a Canadian school [39][57], the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory was administered to a group of 404 sixth-grade students. The authors specify that writing and research skills are the most significant for the accumulation of information from a variety of sources and the educational development of students. Achieving satisfactory outcomes depends on skill development, effective time management and stress management. A group of 1,300 students from three schools in Florida participated in a study aimed at assessing their learning strategies, after which they reported that the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI) had helped them realize the importance of setting goals and thinking about their future career orientation [40][58].
Cognitive skills have always been overestimated compared to other aspects, such as emotional and social ones. Research demonstrates that educational outcomes are closely related to emotional intelligence, and in-school pedagogical guidance should include good classroom management to later design emotionally based learning environments [41][59]. The traditional school system mainly depends on visual and verbal intelligences; however, a study of 168 students has revealed that young people prefer active learning, which involves movement and emotional experiences, such as kinesthetic and musical intelligences. A reason for the decline in academic interest may be related to disappointing results achieved in traditional types of evaluation. Children may become discouraged and lose confidence in their cognitive skills, which in turn leads them to lose their professional interest and values [42][60]. Closely related to school motivation is school satisfaction, which can be stimulated by a modern teaching style, the integration and optimization of educational resources in an original way and the adaptation of lessons to the needs and expectations of students [43][61].
The relationship between cognition and motivation has an impact on the effectiveness of learning strategies, which justifies children’s options for different school or leisure activities. The sports coach’s verbal encouragement provides a sense of well-being, optimism, and motivation for success, and this attitude is transferred to the school environment. The idea of performance implemented through sport is more effective for school success than classical methods existing in the educational system, and teachers should use the verbal encouragement method as a form of stimulating the learning process [44][62].