Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, a number of education researchers evaluated the effectiveness of using magic tricks with students with learning differences. Key findings from this research include:
- Magic tricks offer a creative means for stimulating the senses in special education students (Frith and Walker, 1983).
- Magic tricks provide a strategy for building teamwork and self-esteem in children with Emotional Behavior Disorders (S.A. Broome, 1989).
- Magic tricks enhance the learning experience and encourage creative problem-solving skills, observational techniques, and critical thinking (McCormack, 1985).
- Magic tricks in an educational setting can help students with learning differences attain higher self-esteem and self-confidence (Ezell, 2003).
Previous studies – however limited in their scope – have demonstrated that the use of simple magic tricks may enhance the learning experience and improve self-esteem; however, research also illustrates that, when integrated into core curriculum, it may provide significant advancements in critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and retention.
Teaching magic tricks in the context of an educational setting or activity may allow students to experience successes as well as change the way they believe others perceive them and help them with social acceptance. It may aid in the pursuit of self-actualization. Research has proven that self-esteem indexes improve dramatically when students learn a skill that others have not acquired. Frith and Walker (1983) found that magic has a special appeal because it gives students a chance to do something that cannot be equaled by their peers.
In addition, integrating simple magic tricks into classroom instruction may have a positive impact on self-esteem, behavior, and social cognition with even the most challenging students.
Several research studies have been completed and others are on-going. Below you will find links to some of the existing research on the Hocus Focus™ Project.