The Effect of Classical Music on Painting Quality and Classroom Behaviour for Students with Severe Intellectual Disabilities in Special Schools
International Journal of Special Education
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education
There are few studies measuring the effects on painting quality of playing background classical music at special schools. Primary students with severe intellectual disabilities (N=24) were taught abstract painting in a two-part method. The first part involved a Pictorial Only method and the second, immediately following it, involved a Pictorial plus Classical Music background. Guttman scales were created to measure both quality of painting and, separately, classroom behaviour, weekly, for six consecutive weeks. A mixed between-within subjects ANOVA (General Linear Model, repeated measures with SPSS) found: (1) that interaction effects did not reach significance; (2) a significant main effect for method of teaching on painting quality, and on classroom behaviour, with the Pictorial and Classical Music method being significantly better; (3) a significant main effect for practice over the six weeks on painting quality, with the Pictorial and Classical Music method being significantly better; and (4) a non-significant main effect for practice over the six weeks on classroom behaviour. Teachers in special schools should try playing classical music as background during the painting sessions of their students, not only to improve painting quality, but also to improve student attitude and behaviour in class.