About Us

IEE aims to nurture students’ personal relationships with the natural and cultural contexts in which they live through frequent engagement of the body, emotion, and imagination in learning. To achieve this, the possibility for emotional and imaginative engagement offered by the cognitive tools approach as outlined in Kieran Egan’s theory of Imaginative Education (IE) is paired with focused attention on engaging the body and context.

IEE is an approach to teaching that builds upon, and modifies, Egan’s work. Like IE, IEE is a cognitive tools approach to learning. Teaching is framed around engagement of the tools students employ to mediate the world around them. Unlike IE, however, this approach to education is ecological. Its aim is to engage students in the world around them. Learn about the three guiding principles of IEE.

Who we are

Gillian Judson is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, and is also one of the Directors of the Imaginative Education Research Group. She is particularly interested in sustainability and how an ecologically sensitive approach to education can both increase students’ engagement with, and understanding of, the usual content of the curriculum and can show it in a light that can lead to a sophisticated ecological consciousness. Her work in Place-Based Education also overlaps with some aspects of WSPs. Her most recent book is A New Approach to Ecological Education (New York: Lang Publishing, 2010).

IEE Director

Michael W. Derby is a teacher, MA student and research assistant at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He is currently working on a thesis on the confluence of poetry, education, ecology and language. Interests include: Imaginative Education, ecolinguistics, place based education, ecopedagogy, critical theory, anthroposophy and Vygotsky. He also likes long walks in the forest.

IEE Associate Director

Kieran Egan is a professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. He is particularly interested in how we can engage students’ imaginations and emotions in learning. He is currently writing a book titled “Whole School Projects: Invigorating learning and building community.”

Melanie Young is a Ph.D. candidate and is working as a Research Assistant on the Learning in Depth project. She also works as an instructor in the Faculty of Education at SFU and Douglas College. She is particularly interested in global education.

Yvan Zebroff is a Ph.D. student in Curriculum Theory and Implementation and a research assistant at Simon Fraser University. He is also an educator, with some eleven years of teaching experience. Currently, he is working at the university, both as a tutor marker, and as a sessional instructor. Yvan is particularly interested in implementing Imaginative Education theory (including WSP) at the secondary school level.

Sean Blenkinsop: Philosophy of education; imagination in teaching and learning; ecology; relational epistemologies; theories of place; existentialism; continental philosophy; educational theory and practice; experiential and outdoor education; care; gender theory; social/ecological justice; international issues; science education; drama education.

Mark Fettes has been involved with imaginative education since 2001, working to extend it theoretically and practically into new domains including Aboriginal, ecological and experiential education. He directed the LUCID project, a community-based five-year project involving three school district-First Nation partnerships, and is a co-leader of the research team for the Maple Ridge Environmental School project. He has a long-standing interest in linguistic diversity and language ecology, and is active in the international Esperanto community.

Annabella Cant is a PhD student at SFU and is one of the associate directors of the Imaginative Education Research Group. She is specialized in Early Childhood Education and has published a few children’s books and two books for kindergarten teachers. She and her husband, Joeri Cant are the initiators of an educational charity in Romania which has opened and led a preschool/kindergarten for more than 11 years and presently is involved in the project called Open Eyes which organizes international conferences and workshops.

Laura Piersol is a wonderer and wanderer within the Fraser River Watershed. Sharing her love for the natural world is her main passion in life. She is an ecological educator and has worked throughout Canada and the U.S., most recently coordinating a city wide community mapping project in Lethbridge, AB. She has also recently worked for Stanley Park Ecology Society, Metro Vancouver Parks and the BC Sustainable Energy Association. Currently, she is pursuing PhD studies at SFU in education and researching the environmental school in Maple Ridge. Of particular interest is the role of wonder as a pedagogical tool in fostering ecological awareness and appreciation.

Lara Harvester received her masters in education from SFU with an emphasis in ecofeminist pedagogy in 2009. Currently she is a science teacher-on-call in the Surrey School District. Lara is also a research assistant and curriculum writer with the Environmental School Project associated with a CURA grant that brings together the educational research community at SFU with the Maple Ridge School District and other community partners. She is excited about exploring ways to integrate imaginative education with environmental education and education for social justice.

Carleigh Smart studied at UBC and completed her BSc.Natural Resource Conservation Management in 2008, and her BEd in 2009. She has worked as an environmental educator throughout the province of BC promoting environmental truths and wholeheartedly guiding curious people into the labyrinths of wonders in the natural world. She spends much of her time exploring and expanding her own education and has recently been formally introduced to IEE and is very excited to learn more about it and see what adventures it can bring to her own life! To relax Carleigh loves to swim, walk and quilt!

Bob Jickling is Professor of Education at Lakehead University where he teaches environmental, experiential, and outdoor education and environmental philosophy. He founded the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (1996) and more recently Co-Chaired the 5th World Environmental Education Congress in Montreal (2009). He has also received the North American Association of Environmental Education’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions to: Research (2009) and Global Environmental Education (2001). As a long-time wilderness traveler much of his inspiration is derived from the landscape of Canada’s Yukon.

Yannis Hadzigeorgiou is a professor of education in the School of Education at the University of the Aegean, in Rhodes, Greece. He teaches curriculum theory, and science methods and activities. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Aristotelian University in Greece (1981), a master’s degree in biomechanics/physical education (1986) and a master’s degree in education/applied didactics (1987) from Leeds University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction (1994) from the University of Northern Iowa, USA. His research interests as well as his published work are in the area of science concept development, curriculum reform, imaginative learning and ecological education. He is author of 6 books, in the area of curriculum and instruction, one of which has been a standard textbook for undergraduate courses on curriculum at several universities in Greece. In 2003 he developed a theoretical framework for a holistic/ecological curriculum, while in 2005, as a Fulbright scholar, he did work on Inclusive Practices in Science Education. Since that time he has been involved, as a collaborator, in a major project on Inclusive Practices, at the university of N. Iowa. He has been also actively involved in empirical research in the context of imaginative education, and as member of the IERG.

Sally Jensen is a sustainability educator, secondary school teacher and artist/performer based in Australia. She is a facilitator of The Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative in Victoria; working with 450 schools who are committed to becoming accredited ‘5 Star Sustainable Schools’. Her current research interests are concerned with the importance of the imagination in Education for Sustainability. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts and a Graduate Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne. She studied honours at James Cook University in Townsville, and is currently half way through her PhD at Deakin University. Sally’s research responds to the prevalent culture of Sustainability Education that has been focussed on information about crisis within discourses that see nature as a resource. Interconnectivity and interdisciplinarity are increasingly important in research. Sally’s professional and academic interests seek consilience and expression through metaphors, stories and images in order to embody imagination as a way of knowing and a way of learning.

Bob Haverluck is an artist-educator whose drawings have appeared in “Harpers”(New York), “New Statesman” (London), “In These Times” (Chicago) etc. He has long worked at using the arts as alternative languages for engaging social issues. Working with children and adults, Bob has been developing strategies using drawing, poetry and theatre for artfully responding to existing artworks on social issues, and producing creative works in response to participants’ sense of issues at hand. Recently, Bob has been artist-in-residence and coordinator of two consecutive year long arts fused projects working both with adults and young people: The City of Trees, World of Tree Project and The Arts of Water Project. In January 2012, Bob worked as artist-in-residence with The Manitoba Theatre For Young People on their production of “The Last Tree Of Rapanui.” Bob both created a permanent installation for the theatre, as well as worked with numerous audiences following the performances using his “Talking Murals” methodology. Bob often does workshops and conference presentations on the arts and social transformation. He has written and illustrated two books for educators on conflict and peacemaking, and served as an advisor to the Manitoba Ministry of Education on “conflict and peace” education. Beginning in July 2012, Bob will begin work on the project Talking Water: Storytelling About Small Groups Around the World Restoring Wetlands and Waterways. Bob lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (haverluck.bob@gmail.com)

Karen E. Smith, PhD, is an associate professor of language and literacy education at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. Prior to this, she had 23 years experience as: a teacher in both English and French immersion settings K through 12, a school division music coordinator, and a principal. She is the author of over 50 journal articles, 48 poems, 2 children’s books, and 2 songs related to the books. She has served as managing editor of English Quarterly and provided editorial services for many journals/publication houses, currently co-editing Classmate. She is a director of the Teaching and Technology (T&T) Group. Her research has focused on digital literacies: how learning to read and write has shifted through the use of technologies. She has held research grants with many foundations and now has turned her full attention to research on imagination.

Jade Ho is a teacher, research assistant and PhD student in education at SFU, where she studies ecological education and social justice. She is currently working with the Maple Ridge Environmental School Project as a research assistant. She is interested in unpacking the social and ecological oppression through a cultural lens. Growing up in the Caribbean, she loves the water and dancing her heart out.

Lee Beavington is a PhD student in Philosophy of Education at SFU. He is also an author, photographer, and instructor for KPU’s Amazon Field School, and teaches Ecology, Genetics, and Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology in the lab and field. His interdisciplinary research explores wonder in science education, creative process, transformative learning, poetic inquiry, contemplative sciences, indigenous studies, and romanticism in science. Find Lee reflecting in the forest, mesmerized by ferns, and always following the river. More about Lee at www.leebeavington.com.

Dario Demetlika is a teacher and appreciator of treehouses in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Losing himself in the backwoods of Burnaby growing up ingrained a sense of adventure that has taken him to many places in the world. He has admired different palettes of sights, smells and sounds as he has contemplated his existence in the universe. As a masters graduate in Imaginative Education, he has found his own heroic qualities as he continues to write his narrative.