Shailesh Mudda

Senior Software Consultant, Tieto India Pvt Ltd

This conversation is closed.

Children's schools should have an "Imagination" period

I feel,When you Imagine things, You create things.All new innovative things starts with an imagination.
Most of the people now are so engrossed in their day to day lives and their perspective have become so narrow, they hardly question things which then stops innovation.
A session/class/period where Children given a random abstract/real world topic/situation, should imagine things in their own way as they see it in their world and explain how they have interpreted it to the class.This would help expand their imaginative skill and hence creativity and would generate more ideas. And when they grow they would cultivate this as a habit and apply their ideas in the real world.

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      May 17 2012: Nice observations Kent!

      I have a hypothesis about teh difference between rote learning and discovery learning:

      It has to do with "noise". It is a neural network computing term, but seems to pan-out:

      Put as simply as I can, "noise" is the deviation of each convergent step towards the absolute minimum (knowing) - which is, essentailly, a noise-reducing process. The greater the deviation of the first step, the deeper the topology will be and the more effective the ultimate converged absolute minimum will be.
      Having a deeper topolgy of any "learned knowledge" gives rise to more capacity for association.

      As an analogy, you could say that that if you travelled from Paris to Rome, you would learn the journey from Paris to Rome. But if you travelled from London to Rome, not only would you learn the journey from London to Rome, but you would also know the journey from Paris to Rome, because you would have passed through Paris on the way. (THis is asusming that "Rome" is the absolute minumum - and all roads lead to Rome).

      So when we are presented pre-digested knowledge to rote learn, that's all we learn, the resultant topology is shallow, and it does not give us the benefit of teh journey of the original journeyman.

      It is observably true in neural processing that noise must be present in training session, and the reduction in "noise" must be present in the result - the reduced noise is "fed-back" and results in a logrithmic convergence with the absolute minumum with negligable noise.

      Does that make sense?
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      May 31 2012: Spot on Kent. I envisage a time when EVERYONE expresses themselves and is comfortable with others expressing who they are.
      What a world it would be !
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    May 30 2012: Hello guys,

    Have you ever heard about Escola da Ponte? It's a school in Portugal, that doens't have a regular schedule or something in this way. So there is no bells separating classes, the kids have a tutor who helps them in specifical projects that they decided to study. The result: brilliant students. Why? Imagination.
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    May 15 2012: I think imagination belongs to both teacher and student-It is a process, not an event to be timetabled- it is a 50/50 reciprocal dynamic. ALL the best lessons in school have imagination- to separate and abstract it from lessons I feel is to miss the great moments in learning across every subject. It is therefore both teacher and students responsibility to embrace imagination- not easy I know. It is for the teacher to create and foster the circumstances in which it can flourish regardless of their subject. I have seen first hand how one imaginative idea or concept to make the students think and feel then excellent listening and looking skills on behalf of the teacher and students to spot where or when someone reciprocates.
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    May 12 2012: To be frank i was not not sure with the things that i should include in this Imagination Session.I had this vague idea, but there was no purpose to support it.It just stuck me and I commented.
    After reading all the comments(Thanks to ALL :) ), after giving deeper thought on why I wanted,I got the answer.

    Today's Education system is monotonous, theoretical and enormous and unaffordable.It only intends to make people enable enough to become a part of the vast task force.They have become money making businesses which promote competitions, placements, recruiters and average salary packages.

    "Education today are based on what you should know, how much you should know and what you will
    get if you know. It hardly teaches you how to utilize the things that you know."
    And this utilization part is left to the Employers,Government to exploit.
    And hence the only only only focus of majority of the students nowadays is to have a GOOD JOB with GOOD package.They work hard to know as much information as they can.
    Students are becoming puppets of the EMPLOYERS where they need to follow their rules , their
    process to get themselves accepted and thus they become dependent on them.

    Sometimes knowing everything also wont suffice EMPLOYERS expectations.They get stuck in this
    RAT RACE.If by any chance they fail to prove themselves(become JOBLESS),they feel guilty, ashamed and the most
    disappointing part people tend to loose respect for them.

    What I feel Students struggle because they dont know how to utilize their knowledge for creating things for themselves/people. Application of their knowledge is unknown to them.Todays Education system is trying to fit the students in the society rather than making them independent.Its more of theoretical than practical.
    And this is where I think Session of Imagination would be helpful.
    • May 14 2012: Very true!!! In corporate world a person's ability is hindered, his talents are shadowed and he works much like a guided missile. If he has to implement his ideas or abilities then he has to do that in a personal front. But an IDEA can not only change your life but also has its impact on millions. Talk about Microsoft or TCS or even NGO's who are doing a good job. Microsoft for instance had an idea/solution which gradually evolved and evolved further. If it were not here then how would investors would have their profits, so many companies using their products simplified their work, so many jobs were created and are still being created. It is an IDEA which comes out of imagination which is actually running the lives of so many people. Imagination is therefore GROWTH and that is what actually fuels the economy. A country blessed with a few hundred such people can bring a tsunami of job, hope, prosperity for the nation. So having a session right in school to nurture this germ which is inherent in everyone(kids especially) can take mankind a long way towards development and a better future.
  • Jun 2 2012: This is a really interesting topic! While reading the comments below I found myself both agreeing with this proposal of having a period of time dedicated to imagination - based on the fact that I too believe it is imperative/beneficial and worthy of emphasis in schools... and disagreeing with it - specifically based on the "how to" part.

    (Y) I completely agree that imagination and creative thinking should be taken more seriously and should be supported since it is an integral part of our development-- like developing critical thinking skills.

    (N) However, I do find pause with the notion of having a scheduled time in school dedicated to imagination. I worry that a scheduled time for imagination would turn what is already replicable in any subject into just another class (e.g. imagination starts at 9 and ends at 10 am M-F); structure and routine can dull motivation.

    ....

    Personally, imagination for me was already being heavily promoted in some of my classes (depending on my teacher and the class)- I was encouraged to use my imagination. Some teachers already try to support this in their teaching.

    I propose that maybe instead of creating a time-slot, we should focus more on encouraging TEACHERS to incorporate imagination/creativity in the way they instruct and the way students approach the material - and to take it more seriously.

    Furthermore, since imagination comes rather easily to children -- the actual task would be to ensure that "being imaginative/creative" REMAINS with us.

    Therefore, the RESPONSIBILITY of promoting imagination, ensuring its cultivation and maintenance (making it habit-forming) would have to fall on TEACHERS and PARENTS.
    In order to maintain this from childhood into adulthood- we need to build a society that first recognizes imagination/creativity as being important enough to emphasize its practice throughout education.

    Lastly, I don't believe that imagination dies with age, we just evoke it in different ways, degrees, and moments.
    • Jun 3 2012: GU:

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you brought "TEACHERS" into your discussion.

      Two of my most favorite teachers in school were instrumental in nurturing our imagination/creativity --

      One, was my 7th-8th grade math teacher. He would begin each class period with the same statement, every day: "I'll take your questions or comments if you have any". There were many days we never even got to talk about our matho homework, because the class was discussing current events of the day, or discussing science, or history. I remember watching the Challenger explode while sitting in his class. We all had questions, and while he didn't have answers, he allowed us to ask the questions.

      My next favorite teacher was our H.S. physics teacher. We were always digging through his cabinets and looking for experiments we could do. He even helped us run an engine on compressed hydrogen in 1988. That was awesome!

      And yes, as a parent today, I constantly encourage my children to read, write, ask, draw, hypothesize, theorize, in everything we do. I love watching them think about things in a different way or a newly explained manner.
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    May 29 2012: Using music as a teaching tool is also an excellent way to spark imagination in learning, especially for elementary grades ( but also possible at any age). Just think of what music does to us, how it has the power to change us. It only stands to reason that it could be harnessed to do the same in education.
  • May 28 2012: I appreciate the sentiment, that creativity should be encouraged, but would suggest that the whole curriculum should move towards a creative approach, the work of "Creative Minds" social enterprise in the UK has been developing creative curricula in primary schools in the UK.
    Perhaps designating a time to creativity risks fostering an idea that it is not mainstream to b creative.
    Good teachers build on innate creativity, rules delete it. Sausage and trifle is excellent food until you are told it's "wrong".
    Chris
    PS- try it...
    • May 29 2012: Christopher, that is great what the U.K i has to develop creativity. I checked out a web site:
      Ho did you learn about this project? Or do you live in U.K?
      Is it? http://www.creativemindsltd.co.uk/ . If so , I love that!!!
      Thank you!
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        May 30 2012: Fakhriddin,
        I think that the Creative Minds website is perfect for inspiring kids to make art! Do you have any ideas about how to be creative in ways other than art?
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      Jun 1 2012: Christopher, sausage and trifle may be the best thing anyone has ever tasted as long as they have the creative confidence to try them paired together. I think that creative confidence is something that should be cherished and built up in schools by taking the time to listen to the child. I know that I am most engaged and alive in a classroom when my voice and ideas are heard. Classrooms need to welcome new ideas rather than having a rack for students to rest their creative caps when they walk in the door.
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    May 26 2012: You can have teachers ask students to think of 5 things they know are impossible and then think of a way to make each possible. Do this every day, It's an awesome thought exercise
  • May 23 2012: I think this is a fantastic idea. Having spent some time with young children, I have grown to appreciate their seeming lack of understanding for the word "impossible." If nothing else, encouraging creativity early in life could help to limit the suppression of creativity that tends to occur as we age. Children need to know that their ideas aren't crazy. They need to believe that they can change the world. I also propose that as children grow older, this time be used to encourage them to act upon their imagination.
  • May 22 2012: Three things occur to me about this idea: 1) Of course! It's obvious. 2) A major flaw in US k-12 education is a dumbed down, fact & memory based curriculum from which only book publishers gain. Would make far more sense to let kids have guided play & problem solving, beyond the reading/writing/arithmtic basics. 3) There's no way to mandate anything. Parents & teachers who can, will. Others...won't.
  • May 16 2012: It would be a good start. In general, the educational system has too much emphasis on teachers "telling", and not enough on the facilitation of "learning". While there is arguably a place for old-fashioned instruction, we need to realize that our school system was created in the industrial age. Also, not everyone picks up skills or knowledge the same way. Times have changed, and so has the need of skills. Yet the way in which our children are "educated" in schools hasn't kept up with the rate at which our world has, and is, changing.

    The reason for doing something, or solving a problem a certain way, should not be because it is how it has always been done. Learning is much more powerful and meaningful than being told "what" and "how", which comes down to an ability to memorize. Learning comes from true understanding.

    Allowing and facilitating a child to tap into their creative side and encourage them to come up with their own solution, establishes a creative environment out of which new ideas and solutions will come. It also boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem. Innovation is a result of creation - not duplication. I believe that a result of how we are taught can be evidenced by how most adults struggle with being creative and their limited imagination. Compare this to the endless creativity and imagination a child has. Throughout or younger years we are conditioned to think, act and behave the generally accepted way. No wonder that it is difficult to break from that mold as an adult.

    That said, it is hard for both parents and teachers to be aware of the amount of "telling" they do vs. how much they allow for a child to be creative and learn. Part of the reason is that change is synonymous with uncertainty, and most adults are uncomfortable with that and society certainly isn't ready to embrace it. To Salim's point - "It's a competition of score...numbers...status...not learning or opening up mind."
    • May 20 2012: "No wonder that it is difficult to break from that mold as an adult."

      That's the problem in a nutshell - no wonder. Schools progressively devalue the sense of wonder to the point where kids are afraid to think laterally and use their imaginations - as you point out, Leon, we are conditioned to think in limited ways. I agree with the concept of an 'imagination period' in schools so that wonder and creativity can be enhanced, but the application of these faculties needs to extend into every lesson - imagination to consider new possibilities, to develop empathy, to develop critical awareness of the cultural and political fields that help to support and constrain us (what Freire called 'conscientization') and imagination to better reflect on who we are and how we learn. Imagination in all these forms must underpin scientific inquiry as much as it does the creative arts.
  • May 13 2012: No. It does not work like that You want a creative child with awesome problem solving skills? You already have one. All this grown up JabberJabber and hoop jumping destroys all that natural ability. And in minutes, if not a flash of a second.

    Kids don't understand Big World. You obliquely propose high school assignments here. Around 15 to 16 years old. The age of ruining that ability is about two to twelves years.

    I taught at that school as well as attending it. Metairie Park Country Day School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Its been ruined by social climbing parents last I saw, but I've been trained from both ends. This is how it works.

    Keep your mouths shut.

    From the bureaucracy leaning posting I see here, you all say too many words. "Oh, a picture of a tree!" you cry in glee! Well your seven year old drew a dog. Smackdown! And he just learned to conform or else. They're quick little studies.

    Try "Tell me about your picture?" Your young ones personality might have a chance if s/he gets a safe space to take risks, where s/he is in control, or better yet- there is no control. Parents, I swear! The biggest impediments to educating your kid. You don't want to do Maths with 'em, just NEVER give them a seconds space to fail!

    Well, that's what's needed. A safe space to fail. With out you in the way. I mean mess up in Art class, or give a bad performance in Pretend. (Lower school for theatre.) No criticism, prompting, or bitching about colors on the walls. All that rote math, grammer, history, anybody can do that. Go to town. But if they find it hateful, ask what you're doing wrong first.

    You think the arts aren't important? Where do you think children learn to think abstractly for the first time? Solve problems? Build the Palace to use through life? And we let them paint all over the walls and doors so maybe they won't at home, provoking you into a demonstration that the stage set called home is more important than their amazing world of possibilities. Smackdown II.
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      May 13 2012: Madam,I respect and understand your point of view and I completely agree with you.
      My intention is not to make them solve world problems, not to make them creative genius, not to make them intelligent. And I am not planning to make them Einstiens.And As you said my proposal is for 10 - above age group.And I am not against arts or any subject for that matter.
      I would rather want to help them to enable or make them capable enough to understand the things going around them with practical application. And by practical application, i dont mean rockets/atom boms. Those would be the things that would help them understand and see possibilities/opportunities/options through "imagination" and beyond.
      People see failure as their incapability to do something on their own from the knowledge they have gained through years. Because they have never been trained to create/innovate/make things or see through current system.

      I have friends persuing Chemical Engg, toppers in College, requesting me to teach JAVA/C++ to them because they see no scope in their fields. They see I.T. as the next big thing. They dont know what to do with their education.

      Mine is just an IDEA.It needs polishing.I dont have much experience in teaching.I have not started implementing anything as such.I would surely require guidance from experienced people like you and others.
      • May 14 2012: I appreciate your effort to start an IDEA which needs polishing and we need more ideas like this. But what we want more is a bit of sincere work attached with that idea.
        A wall never evolves. Nor does a rock ever evolve. Humans evolve and so does human ideas. Its difficult to train or develop ADULTS because they have evolved much further but a CHILD is yet to evolve and you can mould them unlike ADULTS. What nowadays they lack is a PLATFORM. What you are talking about is providing that platform which is unusual and GREAT. I believe that A GOOD IDEA SHOULD NEVER BE VIOLATED AND ACTED UPON. No matter from where it comes.
    • May 14 2012: Mmm. I`m in Japan, where children`s minds are being filled into little multiple choice bubbles. What ever happened to daydreaming, cloud-watching, imagining? I support any effort to put more of that back in the schools, homes, parks, minds. A good teacher could be a good guide to another space in which to imagine new possibilities. This kind of guided imagining has a valuable place in education, especially in higher grades where students may be able to synthesize material and come to conclusions on their own, rather than being spoon fed it. They would certainly remember it better by having imagined it themselves, and probably have some other ideas floating around that are related - some beautiful tangents. Where are we as humans without creativity? I try not to imagine that, lest I become despondent.

      The problem is, are children`s (and many adults` as well) days too filled (with scattered activity, with TV, with internet, with...) to allow time for daydreaming, for imagining, for deep-thinking, for remembering? The last few minutes of Joshua Foer`s speech are worth thinking about.
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    Jun 3 2012: I am imagining what school might be like if kids were not only allowed, but encouraged to spread their ideas through TEDxYouth events they organize themselves.
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    Jun 2 2012: These days, people seem to be confusing learning with schooling.

    I think you'll find that the best way to encourage this is to set up the school playground in order to encourage imaginative play. Kids do this naturally.

    To have an "imagination class" will do to imagination what Ken Robinson has been banging on about. School will externalise the process, break it down to a dull method and then begin to chastise students for not imagining the "right" way.
    • Jun 2 2012: I completely agree, its not a matter of scheduling in some time so that imagination flourishes or is drawn out - especially since children do it all the time. Its more a question of keeping it alive as we grow up ...this is a matter of learning (inside and out of school)
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    Jun 1 2012: You are absolutely right!!!
    Children are naturally imaginative but as time goes by they lose this way of being until they become quasi robots like most of us...
    I always see parents of small children at the kindergarten screaming: don’t do this!!! Don’t do that!!! Don’t jump!!! Don’t climb!!! Don’t get dirty!!!
    What kind of education are these parents giving their children???
    • Jun 1 2012: Your observation is right on. Parents tend to say that. The reason is that they have been told that, but did not question their parents as to why. This is an old traditional way of keeping control. Control itself is an outdated concept. But since we have not shown interest in learning something, the only thing that gives us satisfaction is control

      Most people do not have a hobby or any alternate way to relax or something that will keep them interested or involved during their spare time. Many a time then trivial things take up an important position in their life. Instead of contributing, they take away.

      So with education we get, we need to gain wisdom on our own. Which in turn will tell us that we need to teach and inspire others and not control and kill their inspiration.
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    May 30 2012: I agree that schools should have an imagination period! I am going in to 6th grade and I get to choose my classes, and I would definitely choose "Imagination" for one of them! The class would be about our ideas instead of Isaac Newton's! I would even like to teach the class! I think if I had a whole 55 minutes to imagine and spread my ideas I would even kiss my teacher's shoes! But you don't have to have a teacher... I have so many ideas going on in my head right now! This is a great idea!!!!! I absolutely LOVE it!!! Great idea!
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    May 30 2012: Edward de Bono's lateral thinking ideas - such as six thinking hats help to break down creative and practical ideas.
    Thinkers Keys are another tool that is heavily based on imaginative solutions and thinking outside the box and they are activities you can give 5 minutes time to or an hour, depending on how deep you want to go with your exploration. I think there are lots of strategies, tools and resources out there, as well as whatever you have like trees, a piece of paper etc..
    I think the point made here about dumbing down kids is so right. That to me, as a primary teacher, is the main problem I see in why kids are not being more imaginative and creative (as in creating something).
    If you are an enthusiastic, engaged teacher/parent then you can use many opportunities throughout the day to draw out childrens natural curiosuty and creativity.
    You can be creative in maths, science and English. Not just art, drama and dance.
    I think the idea of imaginative time though is a good one.
  • May 28 2012: An imagination period would be a great addition to a schoolday. Environment would be very important. If they could be surrounded by music or sculpture, a reading of a poem or a yoga move ... then these experiences could help them segueway from "doing" to "thinking." If we can reduce the white noise of their day and allow them to be centered in an imagination period, well, just imagine the possibilities we are enabling them to create.
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    May 21 2012: I agree 100%! Nowadays due to evolution of technology children in their early childhood have acces to so many distractions that there is very little room left for development of their imagination and creativity. I believe parents should restrict video games, electronic books, tablets for children, television for young children.

    Even A simple bed time routine for toddler - when you read a book to them consistantly every night, develops their imagination. I have done that with both of my children and they LOVE story times! It helps them to "draw imaginative pictures" in their minds. We have created a pattern for story times which is one night mummy would read a story (I make up stories each night as I tell them) that is THEIR request :) and other night they would tell me a story they have created in their mind, based on events that they experienced durin the day or just pure wishes and dreams of their little minds.

    I think nowadays children are growing up too fast, children don't believe miracles that often anymore. I used to believe that fairies bring Spring and that when it snows Angels shake their duvets snd cushions. I believed in Santa Clause and Easter Bunny till I was around 9 yrs old because we never had dad coming dressed as Santa where you would notice his back beard showing through synthetic Santas glue on beard! For my sister and I Santa was always a BIG mystery! He would leave presents for my sister and I and we would wind them together with his "left behind scarf or his mittens covered in snow" ! All these little touches and stories my parents took time to organise for us made us think think and think! We imagined and created stories and art works based on our imagination.

    Children create future and it is in our hands as adults and parents to "mould" them into creative, descent, healthy minded individuals! I strongly believe that children would and ARE benefiting from "imagination exercises" and the importance of that should be stressed more.
  • May 15 2012: This is exactly the kind of innovation that needs to take place in school. Students' creativity tends to be stifled much of the time in the current school setting. Ideally children should be encouraged to use their imagination at all times in school.
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    May 15 2012: I support the idea. Our brains were meant to grow. Not to be told what to know.
    Imagination is just as important as other subjects. It's not the 'teaching' of imagination but allowing each child to think, create and innovate for themselves. A time where there are no wrong answers (save that for other factual lessons). This would allow children to expand their mind and if done in a shared session, would spark ideas in others.

    "Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity" has always been one of my favorites:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
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    May 13 2012: Interesting idea and I support it. Perhaps it would take a while for the students to get into the groove of it, having previously been rather controlled in what they are suppose to learn. So the teacher would need to be patient and not mind a long silence in the classroom to start with. It is like any new student-centered learning experience, takes time to let go of all the restraints we have learned are so necessary and that hamper our creative minds.
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    May 13 2012: Interesting concept...there is a program called Quest that has already put your idea into effect, but you can only do Quest if your in the Mead school district in spokane, so it would be cool to see it go national.
  • Jun 5 2012: Yes so true Just like how Google makes their employs spend 20% of their time working on their own projects. I belive it would be very useful for me epically at my high school.
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    Jun 4 2012: What I see missing from schools in terms of an imagination time is the tools students for students to be creative, and the space to store the products of their labour.

    If you have seen the video about Caine's Arcade (see http://cainesarcade.com/) you'll see how a kid who is supported and provided the tools they need has the ability to be creative. Caine has space to store his stuff, a mentor to help him build it, an audience to see the results of his creativity, and the tools necessary to build.

    What is missing in schools is space for students to store their stuff, and the kinds of materials they can use to build things, whether these things are made of paper and glue, or with digital tools, kids generally just don't have unfettered access to these things. It unfortunately also rare for students to have access to these things at home.

    So what I think schools (or community centres) need to do is to build these spaces, provide the tools, and help mentor kids. It doesn't matter much what they build, or how they build it, just that they have space to do it. We could call these STEM clubs, or Arts clubs, or whatever, we just need to ensure that all kids get the chance that Caine had - a chance to build a piece of themselves into the world around them.
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      Jun 5 2012: Thanks for sharing the information. The curiosity , the enthusiasm , the creativity , the eagerness .. that Caine has, i believe every other children has it. As you rightly said we just need to create platform to nurture them and help it prevail for lifetime. It requires support from both parents and teachers.

      Too much information/competition/pressure/process is killing it while they grow.. which is what we need to change.
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    Jun 3 2012: I agree! Creativity is something that is not developed nor supported in school systems. However, as mentioned in a comment below the main issue is a structured "imagination time". This would almost certainly have the adverse effect of destroying the creative process. I read a book recently called "Imagine: How Creativity Work" by Jonah Lehrer. He cited an experiment about playtime. One group of kids were allowed to have a playtime, and another group was not. Kids that were allowed to have a "playtime" performed substantially better on all forms of testing, and were shown to be vastly more creative. The results were actually so compelling that the experiment was cut short. They did not deem it fair for the other kids not have a "playtime".

    Therefore, it is necessary for our kids to have an unstructured playtime. Imagination cannot turned on and off, it must be allowed to flow through unstructured thought, freedom of expression, and just basic downtime. This is where creativity is born. It is as simple as letting it be born.
  • Jun 2 2012: I share your interest in an "imagination" period in schools, but I'm concerned that children might judge or criticize each other for their ideas unless clear, measurable, guidelines are established to promote feelings of safety.

    For maximum safety initially, this imagination period could be started at in the childrens'' homes. For instance, parents and their children could raise a problem at the breakfast table, and then when they get together for their evening meal, each could relate his/her solution to the problem. This would be very similar to Ralph Nader's upbringing. (Note: Ralph Nader is the consumer advocate known world wide for his creative and forward-thinking ideas.)

    For details about Ralph Nader, I invite you to view "An Unreasonable Man," -- a fascinating biography of Ralph Nader's life.
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    Jun 2 2012: I genuinely agree with your suggestion. As a student grows older, he/she is faced with more and more school works. Their routine becomes go to school, eat, study, break, study, sleep. (I know this because I am a student) As this process goes on, students lose time to think for themselves and increase/expand their imagination. After all, the main point of school is to prepare a person with the knowledge they need to be able to achieve their dreams and goals later in life. Without imagination, they will not be able to construct their dreams and goals. Therefore, I believe that it would be a beneficial 'coarse' or 'period' to be added into a school. However, I would like to know how this period would be taught by a teacher? What types of exercises? Imagination, as many would agree, is not something you can teach. It's something you bring out of a person. Therefore, it might be difficult for it to be done. So, I ask you, how?
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    Jun 2 2012: While I definitely see the merit in this idea, I feel as though it is in some ways a redundant Idea. I by no means claim to be an expert in education, with only one year as a Kindergarten teacher under my belt, but in my time teaching I found a plethora of opportunities to expose the children to exactly that which you are proposing. Just about every subject that I taught had the potential to challenge the child's creative capabilities, and whether or not I put emphasis on this was totally my decision as the teacher.
    All of this is to say that I feel the dedication of an entire class to creativity practice is defiantly looking in the right direction, but will not at all be as effective as allowing/ asking the teachers to spread the practice of this skill throughout their classes.
  • Jun 2 2012: It's a great idea because at the core of imagination, is a person who knows what they want & who they are. Too many people are so caught up in the everyday grind of life that it's hard to take a breather & take stock of what's happening & one's role in it. You ask any immensely succesful person who worked his way from a bottom up scenario & they will all tell you that the most important ingredient in their pursuit to success is love for what they did. Love is a powerfull tool in that it eliminates doubts & fears. That's why entrepreneurs & inventors keep pushing because they are so in love with their purpose that to the observer, this person has unshakable faith. Which is true, but it's not in the face of doubt because doubt, failure, uncertainty & fear no longer apply when a purpose is driven by love. Faith, definiteness & bravery all come automatically when directed towards a thing of passion. You just know that it's going to work out. Men know what I mean. That time when they saw their wives to be, even before they met them they knew the end result. They didn't bother with the process, just the result. You only get that kind of certainty in love. So it's really important that you know who you are as a person, know what you love by getting in touch with your feelings, then in the silence of contemplation...your imagination will show itself.
  • Jun 1 2012: Imagination is helped by a spark, a catalyst. When one sees a plane or a bird take off, it is then one's imagination travels further. The school or any other process should have a spark to ignite that process. Note also that the same spark, can ignite imagination process in different directions in different persons. If all those are not nurtured, a difficult task on its own, some sparks will die. If a person has had the experience of spawning many imaginative processes in his/her mind, and none have been nurtured, then his/her imaginative capabilities will slowly go to sleep. A spark after that has little impact on that person.
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    Jun 1 2012: I go back and forth about this.... the growth of the imagination is so crucial to human development and happiness that it almost transcends the confines of school. It should be a cultural/societal value that is visible in all we do and all we hold important.

    But on the other hand, what better way to draw attention to it's importance than to formally recognize it as a valuable skill to develop by making it a basic requirement as a subject throughout a person's formal education years?

    I go back and forth, back and forth...

    Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
  • Jun 1 2012: I studied in Apeejay School in New Delhi. And we had an hour long imagination class once a week.
  • May 30 2012: Hey Kaitlyn, I think it is possible to be creative other than art.. I think there is an approach to everything but to me, it seems all have the same root. For example, we can talk about teaching, programming, solving a problem. I believe Richard Feynman, Nicola Tesla, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Malcolm Gladwell and many others, were/are creative not only art, but also in their lives.
    What do you think? Have you met a person like that?
    Thank you for your question!!!
  • May 30 2012: Teaching the "Alchemist" book to kids in schools would be awesome! not just for widenning their imaginations, but also to give them the courage to seek their dreams.
  • May 29 2012: Jeez what good ideas in here... I just wanted to remind folks that teaching kids starts at home with parents, and so I wanted to offer this article that's been helpful for me
    http://www.psychalive.org/2012/02/if-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail-by-debra-kessler-psy-d/
    which is about punishment and communication with your kids

    hopefully not too off topic
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    May 29 2012: I totally agree with the proposition you have laid out!
    When children are encouraged to imagine a variety of things at such a young age, it allows them to gain a variety of interests at a young age, which influences curiosity and is something we need to drive the future generations, because sadly it seems as if they lack interests in a "variety" of subject material.

    Even though I just finished high school, it appears as though many students lack ability to find interest in subject matter that is foreign or different from the normal activities they currently engage themselves in.

    I agree, in the sense that this should become integrated in the curriculum for schools. Lets spread the word!
  • May 29 2012: http://www.curiousminds.org.uk/creative-schools-in-the-north-west-help-boost-uk-economy
    Fakhriddin,
    I should have said curious nt creative minds!
    I an UK based, my wife is a teacher and her school became involved in this work a few years ago.
    Good results coming through.
    Chris ,
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      May 31 2012: Thanks for sharing it with us.It really feels good that "Curiousminds" are successful in their creative movement.I went through their work.I loved it. I would really want them to reach out to other countries and share their experience and help others adopt.
  • May 29 2012: That is an excellent idea!!!
    Schools should have imagination/creative classes. It would be very useful both students and teachers. As funny as it seems to me, most schools make students take certain subjects. I think, a real life example can be how people work at Google. Not only they get to do what company wants, but also they can do what they like/want to do.
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    May 29 2012: I believe that teachers need to develop a teaching style that is at once entertaining and informative. This is what ignites a child's imagination as much as anything else (although much work needs to be done to reform/recalibrate curricula to reflect the technology explosion and it's effect on education.
    • May 29 2012: Do you think there there can be certain teaching methods? For example, one student find her/his teacher teach, but others do not like that. How teachers should deal with diversity?
      Thank you!
      • May 30 2012: There can be certain teaching methods but these are, at best, starting points to "seeding" learning in the classroom and other settings. It is rare that any given method or approach works consistently even when working with a single student - we all change a bit each day. Effective teaching depends on constant negotiation between teacher and student. Sometimes the negotiation centers on the immediate content to be learned, other times on the contexts or methods. In considering diversity, perhaps we need to stop thinking about differences alone. As a teacher, I look for what a student and I may have in common and ways to leverage that to facilitate learning. Sometimes it does not take much - maybe only one song, a movie, or favorite food - to start a conversation, build a connection. I find it is more effective to establish a "learning partnership" with each student individually rather than treat students as members of a class that I teach as a single unit. It can be slow going at times but it is worth the effort. Early in the school year, there is sometimes more relationship building than "learning". However, later on, the quality of learning is so much better that it compensates for a slow start.
  • May 26 2012: Good idea, Shallesh. Thank you for expressing it here and sharing it with us. Maybe some teachers will see this and implement it in their classrooms. Anything positive is possible. Happy Today.
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    May 26 2012: That's true... The old curriculum does not really allow out-of-the-box thinking. It is absolutely stereotype. There are a few International Baccalarueate schools now coming up in India which are offering education by giving space to the creative thought process of the children. It may not be 100% innovative process to education, but I think it is at least the 1st step in that direction.
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    May 25 2012: Completely agree with you Shailesh. As a matter of fact ,when I was in school,though there was encouragement for creativity , but we were pressurized by complex syllabus that I lost interest in those topics . So we must ensure our children to be very creative , give them relaxation on Syllabus so that more time is given to their creativity.

    We also see the child superstars appearing on national Television, but then the education becomes so heavy on them that they are forced to discontinue their passion or quit education. This is one issue bothering our Country to some extent. Discipline also should not be too harsh on children .

    Speaking of our education, its very generic and not specific.So these are the things which our education board needs to work on .

    Best Regards,
    Bharath
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    May 21 2012: You're so right! Creativity will spark new ideas in every topic, even analytical ones. Check out the debate that I posted. I would love to hear your opinion. Thank you for sharing this idea with us.
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    May 21 2012: In order to make imagination available to all we need it embedded in everything so I think it would be incorporated into all classes. Isolating it makes it seem reserved for the whizz kids in Imagination class.
  • May 20 2012: I disagree that school should have an imagination period

    Parents should encourage an imagination period in the home, Leave the TV off, and give non structured toys such as a bag of lego's or drawing tools. Schools need to provide the structured learning that is difficult for the parents to do, but imagination is something parents should be encouraging
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      May 20 2012: Stephen, I agree. At home. At school. At work. All of these places should support our creative spirit/imagination. Imagination--isn't this what we use when we sit down to solve a problem at any level? Imagination and experience. What do you think?
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    May 18 2012: All good points here. The idea, I think, is to VALUE imagination/creative thinking in our educational systems. Bravo to that! Incorporating this type of thinking in the workplace is invaluable, so let's not limit it to school. Yes! It's a natural thing for us to do. We are, however, taught to be cautious and serious and practical. These adult learned behaviours kill creativity and imagination. Boo!
  • May 17 2012: I would rather see this period of "abstract/real world topic/situation" discussion and thinking take place across all subjects and have thoses subjects given equal footing, rather than relegated to one small weekly period (ie; "for the next hour children, we'll think creativly").
  • May 17 2012: i think not every thing to discusion
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    May 16 2012: Sounds good but in current schooling system that period also will end up as "Instruction" period !!!

    Just sharing a personal experience.....
    My sons goes to an art school on weekend. I liked the school as it encourages kids to draw whatever they want in free flow and the teachers of that school are actually ungrade students of theUniversity of Fine Arts of my country with in which school for kids was started. Those students role is just to encourages free drawing / painting using any color kids like and give a bit guidance about grammar of drawing or painting do that on honorary basis.......quite nice concept!!! I admire those young souls........

    But problem lies with parents...... all the parents relentlessly telling their kids what to draw.....how round or oval or cone shape an apple should be ....etc etc......the young teachers get frustrated but unable to stops parents from instructing.......In our current schooling system parents also have some role to play...... so I am not telling your imagination period will be killed by teachers only it can be parents as well......night before the class parents will definitely instruct kids what to imagine !!!!!!I

    t's a competition of scores....numbers....status....not learning or opening up mind of kids.
  • May 16 2012: Ok Ok
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    May 16 2012: Don't you think that's what students do in class everyday, imagine! Let us have a class that teaches Indians to work with their hands. We are very good at talking & imagining but hardly soil our hands.
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    May 16 2012: most of the time, we imagine whatever we have seen,listened,read or relative combination of those.
    So its also important what they see, what they read, what they listen, also environment around them.
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    May 16 2012: I think it is worth looking at Noam Chomsky's lectures on "Education - for whom and for what?"

    The model of the public education classroom has been undergoing retrograde step in the past 40 years that shifts us from teh civillising ideal of the enlightenment to the subjugation process of elites.

    I removed my son from public education into home schooling because the mass disciplinary process at work to prevent children from expressing themselves was making him deeply neurotic.

    Home scholing, for us, consists of allowing my son to follow his own interests and supporting them. This has resulted in him achieving all teh objectives of teh basic school academic curriculum without the soul-crushing by-products of the sheep factory that schools have become.

    How does this translate into a new K-12 educations system? I don't know. It has been largely enabled by the internet, but that in itself is yet to disclose other potential downsides. So far, we have a very happy boy with self-motivated scholastic achievement.
    I know this is only anecdotal, but our personal experience accords with your intuition that children must be allowed to educate .. not be forced.
  • May 15 2012: Very true.. Are we trying to condition thinking in schools?
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      May 18 2012: Not condition but FOSTER thinking and feeling in schools. One without the other lacks longevity.
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    May 15 2012: Yes. After they have been well taught to be responsible citizens.
    • May 20 2012: Being a responsible citizen requires acts of imagination - how otherwise are we to empathise with those we call 'other', to 'walk in their shoes' (or lack of) and to understand and foresee both the immediate and longer term impact of our behaviours on the others and the environment as well as ourselves?
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    May 12 2012: Session for imagination would help kids to utilize the things that they have learnt. They could use their imagination to make/innovate things.See problems in the real world that relate their knowledge and try to propose small small solutions in their own way.Teacher could also suggest some topic which she thinks that relates to the topic she taught. This would help Children enjoy the learning process too. I dont expect any good solutions/ideas, but my main purpose would be to get them started with the application of their knowledge and cultivate this as a habit as they grow.
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    May 12 2012: good idea shailesh!!!
    imagination at an early stage will help children to think in a elaborative way.
    but what i think is u can imagine about a topic or a situation when you have explored about it or if u have minimal knowledge about it!!if u don't know anything about a topic then there is no point in imagination since u wont imagine on the bias of the topic!!
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    May 12 2012: Rather than letting students freely imagine the subject matter, I think schools should help Children improve their imagination. You know, students hardly concentrate on the teacher who is teaching right in front of them. This, of course is lack of willingness, or I say, Lack of Imagination. If students can Imagine things clearly, that would improve their critical thinking ability and when they think deep, they'll engage more. But, willingness is important.

    For your case, rather than taking a separate class of imagination, I think schools can let children to self study a fresh topic and then let them share what they have understood - maybe by giving presentations or using illustrations. This, thus shall improve their understanding, their critical reading skills and of couse, their Imagination.
  • May 12 2012: I think the idea of imagination of there being not right answer is very important in school because when you are faced with things that might not have a right answer that is clear then people sometimes don't know what to do. And at the moment many people don't think outside there social networking space so loose touch with the world.
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    • May 12 2012: I agree that imagination should be integral to all lessons. It is fundamental to problem solving, just look at Einstein's thought experiments. I actually think this is already a part of much schooling, up until the age of 11 (in the UK at least) after which the focus on results and learning how to pass exams becomes so heavy that there is no time or imperative for imagination and creativity in the class room.
      The 21st Century economy and world of work demands creative thinking and the education system stamps it out. Time to update our thinking on this.
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        May 12 2012: I appreciate, Nicole, that you are starting from thinking about what is already in place in the schools where you live. I agree with you that imagination should be integral to the study of all disciplines rather than split out and addressed separately. I think beyond this that it is fruitful to present opportunities for interdisciplinary use of imagination at all levels of education.
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    May 12 2012: I would use the word creativity, but I agree with you. Established educational institutions focus on the obsolete, because the topics are necessary for the present society to function and maintain a workforce. Sadly this is true, people are meant to be average. Government and others in positions of power are too dogmatic and therefore incapable of seeing the use in things like creative thought. Which is why they leave out any time for new ideas. Which is sad, because those new ideas are the basis for all of the advancements in our specie and really nurture the people who build the future.
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    May 11 2012: Shailesh, Maybe not imagination .... Sometimes imagination is a very private space to go to. However, having said that I do believe and practice the art of allowing kids to look at things sideways, upside down, and as often as possible outside of the box or parameters. Example: The book, Death of a Salesman. Did he die, was he reborn, did the cynic that lived within die, did he ever return, there are thousands of answers where imagination and extend thought could take you. Allow the kids to explore them all. We tell the kids that the answer to the problem is the goal. It is not the right goal. Where else can this be applied, when to use it, how to use it as a means of a partial answer to a larger question, etc ... Teachers get a bum rap because the government sets the goals and standards. So they teach to the test as perscribed. Controlled failure is a great teacher and we should allow it.

    I think you are on the right path but a session is not enough. Expand the curriculum to allow for adventure into the unknown, allow for (safe) failure, go outside of the box more often, let the mind grow through failures and success and to not be afraid to venture into the unknown or unexplained. Teach that invention is 10% imignation and 90%presperiation. The secret is hard work and a open mind.

    All the best

    Bob
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      May 12 2012: The use of imagination fits into any classroom and any area of study. Why split it out as if it were a distinct discipline? To me spliting off imagination into a separate class or session sends the wrong message, not representing language arts or math or science or social studies with integrity. It's like teaching kids they should cooperate with one another only one day per week. The use of imagination should be a continuous disposition, continuously practiced across the curriculum.
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    May 11 2012: I would love this at my school and think it's a great idea. I normally like to expand my comment and list pro's and cons but now all I can really think to say is well done! I'm surprised I never thought of it before. It would be very hard to get into the curriculum as lessons are very jam packed in especially before your exams. Overall though I would love a imagination session!!!! :)