Imaginative education is a way of teaching and learning that is based on engaging learners’ (and teachers’) imaginations. Imagination is the ability to think of what might be possible; it is the “reaching out” feature of the mind, enabling the learner to go beyond what he or she has mastered so far. Connecting the child’s imagination with the world is the key to much successful teaching and learning.
The Project’s approach to imaginative education is based on the work of SFU’s Education Professor Kieran Egan, who has developed a number of teaching strategies that scaffold children’s cognitive development using imaginative engagement. The central hypothesis is that this approach could help to make the learning experiences of all children in schools more interesting, meaningful, and engaging.
Making sense of the B.C. curriculum involves coming to imagine the world, and one’s place in it, in particular ways.
If these are presented as the only
ways of seeing the world – as simply being “the way the world is” – and
if there is little connection between this perspective and the lived
world of the child, the curriculum may simply appear bewildering,
arbitrary, and ultimately meaningless.
education seeks to establish deep emotional connections between the
child and the curriculum; to enable this, the curriculum itself must
come to be seen as the product of the same human hopes and fears,
dreams and struggles that are familiar to the child from their earliest
In this case, the
children’s lives and communities become part of the curriculum too,
because of the tools they provide for making sense of it: tools that
children acquire in the process of learning a language, learning to
play together, learning the stories and images of their culture and
education seeks to develop and enrich these tools, it is a potentially
effective means of cultural inclusion.
The Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG) based at SFU organizes conferences, workshops, courses, and research opportunities related to this idea.