Established in 2001, the Imaginative Education Research Group in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University is dedicated to improving the quality of education by providing a conceptual framework, information, and practical materials designed to stimulate the imagination of teachers and learners. We aim to show how imaginative education can be implemented in everyday classrooms and to provide the resources that will support its routine achievement.
Connecting the child’s imagination with the world is the key to much successful teaching and learning. That connection is the focus of our work. We want nothing less than to make the learning experiences of all children in all schools more interesting, meaningful, and imaginatively engaging. By developing teachers’ and students’ imaginations, we believe we can transform the experience of schooling, and help students become more knowledgeable, and more creative in their thinking.
An incidental, but deliberate aim of our work, is to contribute towards the educational effectiveness of underdeveloped countries by providing easily accessible and innovative materials at no cost to teachers and academics in those countries. We have found that many of our ideas have a particular attraction for people in underdeveloped countries, as they have to aboriginal groups in North America, because of our developmental model, which requires building later forms of understanding on intellectual skills that are common in children in such cultures, such as story-telling, metaphor generation and recognition, image formation from spoken words, and so on. In the methods of teaching we have developed, such skills play a foundational role, and engage such students in learning more energetically than is common with more traditional methods.
The IERG brings together prominent researchers interested in the study and development of the uses of imagination in education. Although our work is varied and touches on a diverse areas of practice and inquiry, it is guided by two main objectives. The first is to increase our understanding of how the imagination of learners, from young children to adults, can be enhanced through the process of education. The second is to explore and try to define approaches through which educators can be imaginative in designing programs, planning teaching, and engaging students in richer learning.
Our current activities include:
- research–both theoretical and empirical–on imaginative teaching & learning;
- the development of downloadable curriculum materials on this website;
- masters degree programs focused on imagination in teaching and learning;
- workshops & seminars;
- organizing annual conferences on Imagination and Education