Let the imagination flow

#saskedchat blogging challenge no.2.

How can we foster imagination in the classroom? Why is it important for kids to be able to use their imagination in school?

It took me a while to write this, because I know it is important for kids to use their imagination anywhere but I really did not know how can I foster it in classroom. And here is why I did not know.

I am pretty good with my hands and I can draw or create things fairly well. And while I was helping in classrooms as an EA or doing some after school programs, I found many times that some students (not everyone, but quite few sometimes) did not want to try to make/draw something after seeing what I did. They wanted me to make things for them, they wanted something that made pretty already. Or simply to copy what I did.

Perhaps they are so used to having patterns or models to create something. Look at the store, there are too many KIT of somethings. At school, there are crafts for bulletin boards that everybody make same things. I am not saying that is terrible, because it foster to develop the skills to follow directions (listening, literacy, hand-eye coordination, manipulation, and many more) to meet the targets.

I said I am pretty good with my hands, but I should say I am good with following directions. I had good training for that from formal schools. So I have really hard time creating/drawing things without some sort of model, I can’t use my imagination well. Usually what I imagine (or think I should say) are something safe, things that I know it works because I’ve seen it somewhere. That’s right. I am not imagining freely, I am thinking. I am reasoning and making conscious rational decisions on what it should be like all the time.
Perhaps, I am afraid to let go of my rational.

So how can I foster imagination in classroom? How can I encourage children’s imagination and creativity.

And there, I stopped my writing. I needed some insight. So I read blog posts from Kelly Christopherson (Teachers as Creatives and Untethering Imagination) and Alan Stange (There is no box).

Their posts are very positive and encouraging, reminded me that we, educators are all creative beings. I still remember when I entered education program in U of R and stunned by the fact that there are no lesson plans laid out for us. Curriculum is not really a lesson plan, it is goals. Teaching is autonomous profession, permitted to be as creative as we want to be. And with our creativity, we plan for students’ successes.

I would like to finish this post with inspirational words of wisdom from Kelly and Alan.

“– teaching is a profession that, at it’s heart, is a creative endeavour every single day! It’s about being helping other achieve their greatest potential and supporting them as they find their own creativity and passions.” – by Kelly Christopherson: Teachers as creatives, Educational discourse

“As teachers, we need to introduce possibilities in student’s minds. Mostly, they will run with them.”

“We don’t need to think outside the box. We need to realize there is no box.” – by Alan Stange: There is no box, Edustange




7 thoughts on “Let the imagination flow”

  1. Great post! (I need to get on mine!)

    One of my friends said that her parents were stunned when she entered education and saw what her workload was like. (Not just “colouring pictures” as they had guessed!) They knew teachers had a curriculum, and had always assumed that meant that each lesson was more or less laid out. I suppose for those following a textbook explicitly, that was close to true, but that’s really not the reality! The challenges of creating and designing those lessons (to say nothing of the assessment and everything else that follows) is a big one, but if given the choice, I’d never let it go. It really is exciting to see everything come together, and like you said, our profession is built around this… I’ll take the extra work if it gives me the freedom to design the lesson that best fits my students. Balancing it all is definitely a challenge, though!

    1. I worked as support staff for many years and being told what to do, creative freedom that teachers have is one of the reason I decided to persuit this profession. I wanted to do more for students I worked with.
      Although it seems so overwhelming and tough to be teachers in current time, I am so sure that working with students is only thing I want to do. I found that learning from you and veteran teachers from #saskedchat, expanding my learning network really help me understand what it is to be a teacher. Teachers are very independent and autonomous but we work together as team, share and collaborate for students’ future. And that’s sounds very rewarding and I will work hard to be a part of that.

  2. I, too, have found in my classroom that whenever I model something for my students, they are reluctant to try things out after I have already shown them. Either they don’t produce anything, or they produce a carbon copy of my example. The best creativity that I’ve seen has come from when I ask them to simply “make something” and let them loose. They are slow to start, but once they get going the results are always quite impressive!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I (and many ed students, I think) get preoccupied with model products or end results for getting some results from students to get indicators of their learning, especially trying to make lesson plan for the classes as assignments. Your comment reminded me that we need to allow ourselves to let students loose and let their creativity flow. Thanks again!

  3. I enjoyed reading your post and it reminded me of something I had just written today, but haven’t posted yet. I do think we can get frustrated as teachers by our limitations, but at the same time we forget we do have a lot of autonomy. We can be as creative as we want with what we have and we can encourage our students to do the same. We do need to remember, just as you said, that we do not need to wallow in limitations when we have many opportunities to be creative. Nice job on your post.

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