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Imaginative education. Presentation Outline Introduction and Overview of Imaginative Education The Theoretical Foundations of Imaginative Education Imaginative.

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Presentation on theme: "Imaginative education. Presentation Outline Introduction and Overview of Imaginative Education The Theoretical Foundations of Imaginative Education Imaginative."— Presentation transcript:

1 imaginative education

2 Presentation Outline Introduction and Overview of Imaginative Education The Theoretical Foundations of Imaginative Education Imaginative Education in Action

3 Introduction What is new about IE? a new understanding of how knowledge grows in the mind, and how our imaginations work and change during our lives innovative teaching methods based on these insights offer new ways of planning and teaching So what is the imagination? ability to think of the possible, not just the actual source of invention, novelty, and flexibility in human thinking that greatly enriches rational thinking tied to our ability to form images and our emotions reaching out feature of minds that picks up new ideas, tries them out, weighs their qualities and possibilities, and finds a place for them amidst the things already learned: Look! See what I can do with this!

4 What are the theoretical foundations for IE? Socio-cultural theories of Lev Vygotsky richest elaboration of Vygotskys ideas about learning and imagination developed for education Cultural Recapitulation Theory thinking tools (cognitive tools) that were invented in cultural history are recapitulated best described in Kieran Egans The Educated Mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding A new theory of education that is (believe it or not) useful… 'The Educated Mind' is something very new and different. -- C. J. Driver, The New York Times Book Review Kieran Egan has one of the most original, penetrating, and capacious minds in education today. This book provides the best introduction to his important body of work. -- Howard Gardner, Harvard University Overview – Initial Questions

5 Kinds of Understanding: The Core of Imaginative Education

6 Kinds of Understanding IE is based on five distinctive kinds of understanding that enable people to make sense of the world in different ways enable each student to develop these five kinds of understanding while they are learning math, science, social studies, and all other subjects needs to be accomplished in a certain order because each kind of understanding represents an increasingly complex way that we learn to use language Somatic Understanding (pre-linguistic) Mythic Understanding (oral language) Romantic Understanding (written language) Philosophic Understanding (theoretic use of language) Ironic Understanding (reflexive use of language)

7 Kinds of Understanding: all five kinds of understanding make a distinctive contribution to ones understanding and they work best if they can be combined Somatic + Mythic + Romantic + Philosophic + Ironic each kind of understanding does not naturally develop at a particular age in some steady and inevitable process occurs when the appropriate forms of IE are used adequately teachers can focus their efforts on engaging students imaginations and emotions with knowledge about the world and on developing their use of an array of… cognitive tools

8 Somatic Understanding understand experience in a physical, pre-linguistic way make sense of experiences through the information provided by the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, and crucially with the emotions that these are tied up with experience the world and sensations of balance, movement, tension, pain, pleasure, and so on, through the way the body physically relates to the objects and persons encountered

9 Mythic Understanding understand experience through oral language no longer limited to making sense of the world through direct physical experience can now rely on language to discuss, represent, and understand even things not experienced in person

10 Romantic Understanding understand experience through written language realization of independence and separateness from a world that appears increasingly complex relate readily to extremes of reality, associate with heroes, and seek to make sense of the world in human terms

11 Philosophic Understanding understand experience through the theoretic use of language systematic understanding - more focus on the connections among things recognition that there are laws and theories that can bring together, and help make sense of, what originally seemed to be disconnected details and experiences

12 Ironic Understanding understand experience through the reflexive use of language realization of the limits to systematic thinking appreciation that theories, and even language, are too limited and crude to capture everything that is important about the world recognition that the way we make sense of the world depends on our unique historical and cultural perspective

13 Cognitive Tools: How We Can Develop The Five Kinds Of Understanding

14 Cognitive Tools students can most successfully develop the five kinds of understanding by acquiring sets of cognitive tools thinking tools invented and developed by our ancestors for making sense of the world and acting more effectively within it referred to as tools because they are mental devices that help us think and do things more effectively

15 Somatic Cognitive Tools emotions imitation gesture senses Incongruity (Humor) Rhythm and Music Patterns and repetition

16 Emotions We often hear that we should teach from what the students already know We forget that our emotions are a huge part of what we know From birth we can know love, fear, loneliness, and happiness and can connect through these emotions to the content we are teaching

17 Gesture and Imitation Learning through imitation Copying Pre-drama Important part of pre- languaged learning

18 Senses Experiencing things through our bodily senses The more senses that are involved, the fuller the exeperience Sight Sound Touch Taste Smell

19 Incongruity The basis of humour Incorporating the unexpected The joy of peek-a-boo

20 Repetition Rhythm Music Repeat phrases Where is your _______?

21 Mythic Cognitive Tools understanding experience through the tools of oral language metaphor binary opposites rhyme, rhythm and patterns jokes and humour mystery mental images drama and play story

22 Story Just one of the cognitive tools that we can use to enhance our understanding stories shape our emotional understanding of their content; they tell us how to feel One of the most widely used methods to teach both historically and throughout the world

23 A Story tells you how to feel A girl crossed the street. The girl crossed the street to help the little boy who had fallen off his bike. She only wanted to help him because she saw that he had a fifty dollar bill poking out of his pocket and wanted to take it. The girl had witnessed the boy steel the money from an old lady and was getting the money to return it to the old lady. The boy had only stolen the money because his family was very poor and he wanted to help pay for his little sisters hospital bill.

24 2 main ways to use story in Education: Telling true or fictional stories that teach. This approach, using stories that carry powerful moral and spiritual meaning, has been a core of many educational programs from the beginning of time. It has also been very successfully adapted and developed, and extended, in the Waldorf school movement. Using elements of the story form to make lessons in math, science, history, etc, more meaningful and imaginatively engaging - examining the ways we can shape regular lessons and units of study into story shapes, drawing on the communicative and engaging power to make the everyday material of the curriculum more lively and stimulating to both teacher and student. The latter is what we aim to do in Imaginative Education

25 Metaphor the tool that enables us to see one thing in terms of another lies at the heart of human intellectual inventiveness, creativity, and imagination important to help students keep this ability vividly alive by exercising it frequently using it frequently in teaching will help students to learn with energy and flexibility

26 Binary Opposites good/evil, hope/despair, love/hate, hot/cold the most basic and powerful tools we have for organizing and categorizing knowledge in nearly all fictional stories, and they are crucial in providing an initial ordering to many complex forms of knowledge The most powerful BOs are emotionally charged and, when attached to curriculum content, imaginatively engaging. We can use BOs to teach students how to mediate between polarities.

27 Rhyme and Pattern potent tools for giving meaningful, memorable, and attractive shape to any content have an enormous power to engage the imagination in all areas of knowledge while reflecting and connecting with the emotions music, rhyme, poetry, daily and seasonal rhythms

28 Jokes and Humour can help to make language visible - they can expose some of the basic ways in which language works and, at the same time, allow students to play with elements of all areas of knowledge can also assist the imagination helping to fight against rigid conventional uses of knowledge and showing the student dimensions of any knowledges flexibility

29 Mental Images Images in the mind can be evoked by words. In societies saturated by visual images, it is increasingly important to allow students space to learn to generate their own mental images. We can easily forget the potency of our unique images generated from words. Often the image can carry more imaginative and memorable force than can the concept, and the use of images should play a large role in teaching.

30 Drama, Play and Games Imaginitive play holds a big role in our ability to understand the world we live in and a very big role in developing our imagination Role play helps us understand not only what is, but also what could be Games and Play help children establish and understand structure and rules and how to work within them

31 The Misbehavior of T and H Opposites: Naughty, well behaved Personify the letters – tell why they make the sounds they do with an emotional connection Other letters: Helpful e Lonely v Ideas for sh and ch?

32 Romantic Understanding and the tools of literacy Extremes and Limits of Reality Associating with the Heroic Sense of Wonder Humanizing of Meaning The Literate Eye Collections and Hobbies Change of Context

33 Extremes of Reality a central concern to students imaginations after they become fluently literate a common means students imaginations use to explore the extent of the real world in which they find themselves students learn a new conception of reality that is separate from themselves, and that is unaffected by their hopes and fears

34 Heroic Qualities enables us to overcome some of the threats involved in the new sense of reality By associating with those things or people that have heroic qualities we can gain confidence that we too can face and deal with the real world, taking on those qualities with which we associate. As teachers we want to help student see find the heroic in what they are learning. If we do not present heroic qualities to kids, they will choose their own.

35 Sense of Wonder enables us to focus on any aspect of the world around us, or the world within us, and see its particular uniqueness. We can turn this sense of wonder onto anything, recognizing the wonderful in every feature of the world around us. This tool can provide the gift that allows a person to recognize behind even the most routine and taken- for-granted things dimensions of complexities or concentrations of effort or accumulation of richness through history. The starting point of all science and all inquiries is I wonder why...

36 Knowledge and Human Meaning the tool that enables us to see beyond the surface of any knowledge to its source in human life. Knowledge is part of living human tissue; books and libraries contain only desiccated codes. The business of education is enabling new minds to bring to new life old knowledge. All knowledge is human knowledge, and the imagination is enlivened by understanding the human emotional core of the knowledge the student is learning.

37 The Literate Eye And the use of graphic organizers opportunity and dangers involved in increasing fluency with literacy shift to literacy reflects also a shift from a dominance of the ear to the eye in gathering information making and manipulation of lists, flowcharts, diagrams, and other literate tools The dangers concern the greater distance between the eye and the emotions than between the ear and the emotions for some.

38 Collections and Hobbies With literacy comes a desire to find the limits of all things and a great sense of accomplishment comes with knowing all there is to know about a topic (or collecting all there is to collect). Examples: Badges in scouting, Pokemon Cards, base ball Cards, McDonalds Happy Meals, Cereal Box Prizes (Collect the whole set!) LOST (TV series)- Announcing an End - Harry potter Books - set of 7

39 Revolt and Idealism The ability to imagine a world or particular circumstance that is better or superior than reality, and… The ability to revolt against those constraints and look for ways to overcome the obstructions that prevent the attainment of an ideal In every topic we teach, there will be examples of obstructions that prevent the achievement of some ideal, and there will also be someone or some idea that prevails against that obstruction.

40 The Adventures Of H 2 O Water as a great traveler on a journey of discovery Personifying water – giving it human hopes and fears Extremes – water everywhere – from the tip of Everest to great depths of the ocean, underground, in the air – and yes, even in sweat and urine




44 The Incredible Courtesy of Punctuation and Conventions If you can read this, I am very impressed because it is rather hard to read without punctuation. A very long time ago, when writing was first invented, only a few people could read. It was much more difficult than it is today because it took quite some time for punctuation to be invented.

45 Humour in Punctuation Dear Jack, I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy -- will you let me be yours? Jill

46 Humor in Punctuation Dear Jack, I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men I yearn! For you I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? Yours, Jill

47 One More A woman, without her man, is nothing. A woman: without her, man is nothing.

48 Cognitive Tools these cognitive tools, and many others, have become a part of our culture hard to imagine life without basic cognitive tools such as stories or metaphors each of us can learn to use these cognitive tools to enlarge our powers to think and understand most teachers will intuitively recognize the importance of many cognitive tools teachers may be less familiar with how to routinely use them in the classroom IE shows how cognitive tools can be effectively used to make everyday teaching more interesting and meaningful while also developing the kinds of understanding

49 Cognitive Tools


51 PLANNING FRAMEWORKS 1. Brief version of the Mythic Framework 2. Brief version of the Romantic Framework 3. Brief version of the Philosophic Framework

52 Planning Frameworks Mythic Planning Framework 1. Locating importance 2. Thinking about the content in story form 2.1. Finding binary opposites 2.2. Finding images, metaphors and drama 2.3. Structuring the body of the lesson or unit 3. Conclusion 4. Evaluation

53 Romantic Planning Framework 1.Identifying transcendent qualities 2.Organizing the content into a narrative structure 2.1 Initial access 2.2 Structuring the body of the unit or lesson 2.3 Humanizing the content 2.4 Pursuing details 3. Conclusion 4. Evaluating

54 Philosophic Planning Framework 1.Identifying powerful underlying ideas 2. Organizing the content into a theoretic structure 2.1. Initial access 2.2. Organizing the body of the lesson or unit 3. Introducing anomalies to the theory 4. Presenting alternative general theories 5. Encouraging development of the students sense of agency 6. Conclusion 7. Evaluation

55 Please feel free to contact us to give us your feedback, to join our online community, or to receive more information. Imaginative Education Research Group c/o Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6. Ph: 604 291 4479. Fax: 604 268 7014 Email:

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