Changing the world… one idea at a time

I’ve been continuing to ponder Kieren Egan’s ideas about imagination and learning in depth, wondering just how these can be incorporated into our current educational models in practical ways.

And lately, a few things on the news have caught my eye. These kids’ creativity and determination demonstrate the power of the imagination to spur our learning to higher levels.

By now you have no doubt heard about Caine’s Arcade. His countless hours of work to perfect his cardboard arcade are inspiring. And I absolutely love his security device. Genius!

The Never Seconds blog demonstrates another creative way a child has decided to use her time and impact her world. You can read more about “VEG” in The Telegraph article  and listen to her BBC interview (see chapter 5).

I am inspired by their curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Just think what these kids will do as they continue to change the world with their big ideas and “go getter” attitudes.

What imaginative/creative things have you seen lately? Have you found ways to encourage these in the classroom?

Imagination: the heart of learning

Stumbling across Kieren Egan’s article on the importance of art turned out to be the starting point of an interesting educational journey I’ve been on for the past few weeks. I was reminded of an article of his entitled “Learning in Depth” which I read in graduate school. (If you are a member of ASCD, you can read it here. Otherwise, you can read about the same idea here.) Reviewing this article inspired me to look into Egan’s work again and read a couple of his books. I am thoroughly intrigued by both his Learning in Depth Project and his Imaginative Education Research Group and am eager to continue learning more.

In his book An Imaginative Approach to Teaching, Kieren Egan (2005) expounds upon his belief that “Engaging the imagination is not a sugar-coated adjunct to learning; it is the very heart of learning. It is what brings meaning and sense and context and understanding to the knowledge we wish to teach” (p.36). In the article “Learning in Depth,” Egan (2008) calls imagination “one of the great work-horses of learning,” believing that “the more we know about something, the more imaginative we can be about it–and the more imaginatively we can problem solve” (p.62).

Ahhh… the power of the imagination to grab our interest and spur us on to deeper levels of learning!


Looking for some inspiration of your own? Here are examples of imaginative teaching I have come across in educational blogs lately:

How do you encourage your students to use their imagination?

Art Resources

I recently came across an article entitled “The Arts as the ‘Basics’ of Education” by Kieran Egan (Childhood Education, 1997). Although 15 years old, the concepts presented are still true today. Egan believes that “we begin as poets, using the techniques that language provides to make sense of our world. The arts, then, are the basics of our educational development. It is through deployment of the tools and skills that are central to early language development – story, metaphor, rhyme and rhythm, binary structuring and mediation, image formation from words, affective abstraction, and so on – that we lay down the true basics of education” (p.345).

While our school days may be full of required curricula and activities, we would be wise as educators to heed Egan’s call. Don’t forget about the power of imagination and creativity to spur learning.

Looking for art inspiration? Try these links: