IERG News & Updates is our way to keep you informed about some IERG activities worldwide. You will find examples of Imaginative Education in action, interviews with practitioners, as well as short pieces describing our different programs, publications, and events.
Content: Gillian Judson
Design: Joeri Cant
LiD Goes Viral
The Learning in Depth (LiD) program is spreading very fast. In the 2008/9 school year, 30 students in two British Columbia schools began building LiD portfolios. In 2009/10 more than 2,000 students were involved in the program. In 2010/11 many more students have become involved in Canada and the US, in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Romania, Greece, England, Japan, Iran, and other countries. We anticipate that word about the program will spread more rapidly with the publication of the book: Learning in Depth: A simple innovation that can transform schooling, due early 2011 from University of Chicago Press.
A New Approach to Ecological Education
Gillian Judson’s book, A New Approach to Ecological Education: Engaging Students’ Imaginations in Their World, has just been published by Lang, New York and is now available for purchase through our online store. Gillian is a Director of IERG and Lecturer in the Faculty of Education. The book offers a major critique of current ecological education programs, and offers an imaginative alternative.
Expanding Connections in Europe and Asia
During the first weeks of November 2010, workshops on Imaginative Education and Learning in Depth were presented in England and Hungary. Workshops and discussions were held with the Kestrel Education group in England, and the Vineyard Foundation and the International Step-by-Step Association in Hungary. The connection with the Step-by-Step Association may lead to IE and LiD materials becoming widely distributed in Eastern Europe and Asia. Step-by-Step is funded in part by the Soros Foundation. You can visit their website at http://www.issa.nl/. The Vineyard Foundation supports a set of schools in Hungary with an unusual approach to bi-lingual education.
Imaginative Education in Romania
IE continues to expand in Romania, as in a number of other eastern European countries. Annabella Cant, an Associate Director of the IERG and a Ph.D. student at SFU, has delivered workshops in many places in Romania to thousands of teachers, and, in addition to the book to the left, she has written about implementing IE in regular classrooms.
Congratulations to Corbett School
Newsweek Magazine has named Corbett School, long associated with IERG, as #5 among 27,000 public schools across the U.S. This is Corbett’s 3rd consecutive year in the top 100, and 2nd year in the top ten. This is an amazing achievement, as demonstrated by the fact that no other Oregon school has ever made the top 300. Outstanding! IERG continues its close relationship with Corbett.
Imaginative Education Ecological School Gets Go-ahead
Sean Blenkinsop, a Director of the IERG, leads a $1,000,000 project that seeks to build and study an alternative model of environmental education in the community of Maple Ridge, BC. The school is designed to address not only environmental sustainability, but also social and economic sustainability. After almost three years in the making, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education has approved the new environmental school at the end of November 2010. More information about this project can be found at http://schools.sd42.ca/es/.
More Schools Turning to IE
Currently Corbett Charter School in Oregon, Gervais School in Oregon, and Collingwood School in West Vancouver are engaged in workshops, seminars, and discussions aimed at moving them from conventional forms of education to adopting and adapting the theories, principles, and practices of Imaginative Education. Other schools wanting to follow this same route have also contacted us. We envisage spending more time and effort in building a core of trained IE teachers and schools committed to IE.
IERG as “visionary”
The November/December issue of the Utne Reader—a US magazine with over 160,000 circulation––included an article on “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” One of the “visionaries” named is IERG Director Kieran Egan. The article focuses on Egan’s forthcoming book on “Learning in Depth” but also directs readers to the IERG website. You can find the online edition of the Utne Reader that features each of the “visionaries” including, Kieran Egan.
The Educated Mind in Turkish
The Educated Mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding is one of the foundational texts of IERG and has just been published in Turkish, by Pegem Akademi, Ankara. So far it has been published in Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Danish, Swedish, Hebrew, Russian, with other translations underway—including, the soon to appear Italian version. After its first publication in 1997 by University of Chicago Press it has been listed as a best-selling university press book in the US. It was welcomed in the New York Times Book Review with the observation: “A new theory of education that is (believe it or not) useful” (C.J. Driver).
Imagination in Educational Theory and Practice
Imagination in Educational Theory and Practice is an outstanding set of essays on the imagination in education. The book grew out of IERG’s 6th International conference, held in Canberra, Australia. It is edited by Thomas Nielsen, Robert Fitzgerald, and Mark Fettes, and was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This volume adds an important set of new ideas and practical applications of the many-sided imagination in education. Find out more about this book.
Mark Your Calendars!
British Columbia Teacher Professional Development Day October 21, 2011. The Imaginative Education Research Group has teamed up with Collingwood School in West Vancouver, B.C. to highlight some of the features of IERG’s work that have proven very successful in engaging students’ imaginations in learning, (and teachers’ imaginations in teaching). The results have led to greater satisfaction for students and teachers and much improved test scores across the board.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year
And finally, as this year draws to an end, we would like to wish everyone a happy and festive holiday season from snowy Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!
Another Imaginative Education School
Gervais School District, a rural K-12 school district with approximately 1100 students will be working with the IERG to introduce IE ideas and practices to the district reach staff. Located in the middle of Marion County, Oregon’s prime agricultural area, the district comprises Elriege Elementary School for grades 2-4, Gervais Middle School for grades 5-8, Gervais High for grades 9-12, and Douglas Avenue Alternative School for grades 9-12.
Collingwood School in West Vancouver is exploring wit the IERG how to create a multi-year program of support for teachers to introduce Imaginative Education ideas and practices. Founded in 1984, Collingwood is a co-educational school with 1,200 students from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12, situated on two campuses in West Vancouver. The focus of this program will be within their Middle School to increase students’ learning and engagement with curricula knowledge.
We are pleased to introduce a new section of our website for teachers. The user-friendly format provides information on how teachers can use basic “cognitive tools” in any subject area and any grade level. This is another example of the multitude of resources made available on our website to make Imaginative Education more readily usable by teachers. Visit: http://www.ierg.net/lessonplans/cognitive_tools.php
New $1M Research Grant
Sean Blenkinsop Sean Blenkinsop, one of IERG’s Directors, leads a $1,000,000 project “Aligning Education and Sustainability in Maple Ridge, BC: A Study of Place-Based Ecological Schooling”. School District 42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) and researchers in the faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU) will work together with the municipality, the local Katzie and Kwantlen first nations, and many local environmental and community groups to develop a public K-7 environmental school and learning centre in which learning across the curriculum would be tied to the growth of environmental awareness, engagement with the natural world, and community sustainability.
New Grant to Study LiD
The Research Development Initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has granted IERG $35,000 to engage in an assessment of some of the claims made pro and con regarding the Learning in Depth program. The principal investigator is Kieran Egan. We will study implementations of the program or to support doubts about LiD’s viability. Whether our results confirm some of the hypothesized benefits of the LiD program, or confirm the predictions of its critics, publishing our results would prove of significance either way in assessing this potential method of creating depth learning.
Additional IERG Director
Gillian Judson has joined the IERG Directorial team with Sean Blenkinsop, Kieran Egan, and Mark Fettes. Gillian completed her Ph.D. at SFU in 2009. She worked as a Research Assistant to IERG during much of her degree program, and has been a post-doctoral fellow with the IERG since Jan. 2009. She continues to make significant contributions of both a theoretical and practical nature to our work. Gillian is currently teaching in our M.Ed. program in Imaginative Education and has been responsible for revising and developing our planning frameworks-information about which will soon be appearing on IERG’s website-and she has been a very impressive speaker and workshop leader. We are delighted to welcome her in an expanded role as Director of the IERG.
Summer Short Courses
This summer, instead of our usual conference, IERG will offer short training courses for people interested in learning more about Imaginative Education and how to put it into practice, on 27th (p.m. only), 28th & 29th JUNE , and also our Learning in Depth program 30th JUNE. These short courses will be taught by Kieran Egan, Gillian Judson, and Kym Stewart.
Imaginative Education Charter School
The first Charter School in the U.S. that is based on IERG principles is in Portland, OR. You can find out about its opening in 2009, and the energetic work of the staff since, at: http://corbettcharterschool.blogspot.com/
New Lesson Planning Frameworks
We have produced new versions of one of our key tools for helping teachers to implement Imaginative Education. You might like to look at and try using our more user-friendly and comprehensive planning frameworks.
Most recent IE book
Engaging Imagination and Developing Creativity in Education, Edited by Krystina Madej & Kieran Egan, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010.
14 essays from authors around the world that explore imaginative understanding and how to teach children “to think creatively, to be innovative, enterprising, and capable” in today’s challenging world. Topics include first “theories of development, imagination, and creativity” followed by discussions of new approaches to broader educational issues such as responsible citizenship, gender, and special needs education, to curriculum subjects such as literacy, science, and mathematics, and to important educational environments such as the museum.
Imaginative Education in Practice: A Conversation with Gianni Hadzigeorgiou
One of our IERG associates, Gianni holds a BSc (Physics), from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece, a MA (Biomechanics) a MEd (Education), Leeds University, England, and an EdD (Doctor of Education) (major Curriculum and Instruction), University of Northern Iowa, USA. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Education at the University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece. His research interests include: curriculum reform (with an emphasis on science education), science concept development in young children through sensorimotor activities and narratives, and the role of imagination in science education.
Nicole Marcia: What originally drew you to the ideas of IERG?
Gianni Hadzigeoriou: I realized from my own experience as a science teacher the importance of engaging students’ imaginations. I had become convinced that through the use of the imagination students could understand certain physics concepts and ideas, but I was initially a bit apprehensive.
In 1980, while studying as an undergraduate at the Department of Physics, at the Aristotelian University in Salonika, Greece, I participated in an experiment at the nuclear physics lab. I suggested to the supervisor (a nuclear physicist, or a physics teacher) that we could teach concepts such as pair production or annihilation – that is, concepts from quantum physics – through story. I also made a comment about teaching those things even to young children who do not have the conceptual framework or the prerequisite knowledge to understand such things. Of course I was not laughed at, but some of my fellow students and the supervisor did frown upon the idea, while some others said that I was talking nonsense. Regardless, deep down inside I knew that we, or at least I, could use story to teach physics.
A few years later in the library of the University of Northern Iowa in the early 1990’s, I came across a little book entitled, Teaching as Story Telling. At first I put it back – but as I was making my way to the corridor, the title of that little book kept ringing in my ears. I checked it out and I read it that same night. Well, I thought, here is someone else who has provided some justification for the idea I had, and he makes serious recommendations for teachers and curriculum planners. Anyway that person – Kieran Egan – made me happy that day in the library. After all, I did not talk nonsense.
NM: Have you experienced any problems associated with Kieran’s model? If so, what were they?
GH: Since the course I am now teaching is entitled “Physical Science in Early Childhood,” I am particularly interested in the Mythic planning framework. My main difficulty is, on the one hand, finding binary opposites and, on the other hand, resolving the conflict that is set up by those opposites. Although for some concepts it is easier to find binary opposites, their final resolution still requires imaginative thinking and perhaps someone with experience in making stories. This I suppose is due to the nature of scientific concepts, at least some scientific concepts. I mean it would be much easier to resolve a conflict between a beautiful princess and an ugly maid than between a “good” form of energy and a “bad” one. The Romantic framework, in which I am also interested, presents me with the difficulty of identifying those heroic qualities that are central to the scientific concept I am teaching. While for some concepts this heroic element is easy to find, for other concepts it is not. As far as Romantic understanding is concerned there is a lot of thinking that I have to do, if I want to apply it according to Kieran’s planning framework. Although wonder is central to studying science, the attempt to evoke it across all, or the majority of the science curriculum, has certainly provided me with a great challenge.
NM: How has this model changed your ideas around teaching? Your daily practice?
GH: Firstly, it has changed my approach to teaching in the sense that I am now employing the use of narrative very often in both my undergraduate classes and my in-service education courses. I always try to find or even make up a story that will capture the audience’s imagination and will convey the meaning of what I am trying to teach. Secondly, I am in search of binary opposites that could be used for the introduction of science concepts to young children.
NM: Can you provide us with any specific examples of exercises that you employ in your teaching?
GH: In the following examples, I employ the notion of opposites and that of conflict and its final resolution.
a) Hot air that goes up vs. cold air that stays down. I ask students to make a story that dramatizes the conversation between hot air and cold air. Two air molecules are discussing their feelings and experiences.
b) The water cycle. The story here dramatizes the experiences, feelings and problems of two water drops, one which evaporates and goes up and one that stays still (the conflict between motion and rest). The conflict between the two drops is resolved when the one that does not travel realizes the important job that the other drop does for the good of the planet and decides to follow suit.
I have also employed the notion of opposites although not in an “Eganian” way, that is, without a conflict between binary opposites and its final resolution. For example, in order to teach the concept of a wave (which is the transmission of a disturbance through a medium with a certain velocity, and in which transmission there no transference of matter from one place to another, but only the transference of energy), I made up a story that asked the students to find ways to transmit a message with and without the presence of a material body to move it. I asked the students to imagine that that they had gotten lost in a forest and were concerned about how to let people in the village know that they were in need of help. So they had to send a message by, for example, placing a bottle with a note in it in a creek and letting it float down to the village, using a mirror, setting a fire etc. Then they were asked to find out the main differences between their ideas (in some cases the message requires the presence of a material object in order to be transmitted, as in the case of a bottle, and in some it does not, as in the case of a mirror). Students understood the concept of the wave through a story that provided a shared vicarious experience. The introduction of this concept came as a natural consequence of the plot of a story. Students at least initially made use of their narrative mode of thought.
Sean Blenkinsop describes his Current Work
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Sean Blenkinsop and I have been part of the Faculty of Education at SFU for almost 18 months and the IERG for almost 30. I was hired after a stint as an IERG post-doctoral researcher, which in turn happened shortly after finishing a doctorate in philosophy of education at Harvard. The result, you ask, of this whirlwind, beyond being a new faculty member and moving thousands of miles across Canada into the most expensive housing market our nation has to offer, well … I am the least known of the three co-directors of the IERG. So apparently, although anonymity has some significant advantages, my job, in 400 words or less, is to rectify that seeming dearth of knowledge and tell you a little more about my research interests and current research projects. My doctoral work focused on the philosophical school of existentialism, primarily relating to questions of choice, dialogue, and freedom, and was an initial exploration of thinking more comprehensively about a philosophy of education based in existentialism.
Now if we agree with Kieran that the imagination is the ability to think of the possible then it is helpful, at least at times, to explore the imagination and the corresponding practical educational questions thereof using the philosophy of the possible, existentialism. As a result, I have ongoing research interests with regard to imagination and the possible. The second area of interest I want to discuss is a growing research agenda focusing on notions of ecology and ecological education. This is not a discussion about the ways in which we should theorize, discuss, and teach the subject of ecology, but more generally an exploration of what it might mean to teach ecologically. This work is currently operating in two directions. There is philosophical research searching for clarity around what might be some of the fundamental tenets necessary to sustain, for lack of a better set of terms, an ecological worldview. The second direction, which has gained some funding through SSHRC and SFU, is to begin working with elementary school teachers to develop what might be called a more ecological and imaginative curriculum. The goal of this project, which I hopefully call “In Search of the Ecological Imagination” is to build on the really exciting work of the IERG and LUCID and bring this work to educators, administrators, and parents who are searching for ways of making our planet, our lives and the lives of our children, and our education more sustainable. In closing let me be explicit in inviting you, if you are interested in being involved in either of these projects or something in a similar direction, to feel free to contact me. I am more than happy to build, grow, and extend with conversations with anyone (student, teacher, policy-maker) who wants to engage. Look out for our slowly developing Eco Imaginative Education. I look forward to working with and having conversations with many of you in future.
Dalene Swanson updates us on her IE Activities
Author: Dalene Swanson, who joined the IERG as a postdoctoral scholar in Imaginative Education in September 2006. Prior to that, Dalene completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies at UBC and was honoured to receive four prestigious national and international awards for her doctoral research. Since joining SFU, Dalene has taught a required course in the Imaginative Education Master’s program at the Surrey campus. The EDUC 820 course, Current Issues in Curriculum and Pedagogy, ran from September to December 2006. Dalene thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the wonderful students in the Surrey cohort and having the opportunity to experience a strong sense of pedagogic community with them.
Last term, she also taught mathematics methods courses to pre-service teachers in the Elementary program at UBC and acted as a Faculty Advisor for students in the long practicum in Vancouver schools. Dalene worked with the students to introduce them to Imaginative Education ideas and helped them facilitate the inclusion of these ideas in their practicum teaching. She was also able to introduce the ideas to several teachers at the respective schools where student teachers were on practicum. Last term, she presented Imaginative Education to faculty, sessional instructors and student teachers at UBC. The presentation was very well received, and many of those present were interested in having a follow-up presentation and receiving copies of the newly published handbook: A Guide to Imaginative Education. The new guide has been distributed to them and they were grateful to receive it.
As well, Dalene visited a LUCID project school in Chilliwack with Tannis Calder and Kym Stewart. She was excited to see the engaging work done there to support the infusion of a culturally-inclusive IE into the curriculum. Dalene hopes to follow this work through further research, in order to have a better understanding of how IE is taken up in aboriginal schooling contexts.
Dalene has had several proposals on Imaginative Education accepted for presentations at national and international conferences. She hopes to present a paper on IE at the 14th International Conference on Learning in Johannesburg, South Africa, in late June 2007. At that time, she plans to speak with leading educationalists in South Africa on the possible infusion of IE into educational curricula there.
Currently, Dalene is assisting IERG to collate lesson plans and units for publication on the website, and she has been invited to present a lecture at the IERG Speaker Series in early April at SFU.
Owen Tyers discusses his Research
Author: Owen Tyers. As the human population grows and Western models of capitalism and consumption spread around the globe, what should be the aim of education in North America? What, if anything, can make a curriculum worthwhile in our rapidly changing, market driven, increasingly technological society? To explore these questions, Owen is considering the vital relationships between intelligence, education, and our ability to sustain ourselves as a species. A central component of his research involves the introduction of an extended framework of intelligence, the Pentad Model, along with the associated concept of environmental intelligence (ENVI).
The challenge of increasing the sustainability of North American society will require two basic types of wide-ranging, interrelated social change: individual and institutional/collective. A slightly modified version of Imaginative Education that focuses on the process through which we develop and maximize the comprehensive form of intelligence presented by the Pentad Model and ENVI can play a key role in this process and offers a potentially useful guide for educational reform. This new conception of education provides a meaningful, achievable, and comprehensive educational aim that, although specific in its goal, is also compatible with the general objective of fostering sustainability as well as more traditional academic objectives.
Anne Chodakowski writes about IE and Teaching
Author: Anne Chodakowski. My research explores what Egan’s theory of imaginative education might imply for the theory and practice of teacher education. Underlying this investigation is the belief that the imaginations of students will be more regularly engaged in learning if pre-service teachers are familiar with the theory and practice of imaginative education and if those teachers are educated in ways that stimulate their own imaginations. One chapter specifically deals with Somatic Understanding. I suggest that Egan has not developed this notion as thoroughly as the other kinds of understanding. I build on his theory by exploring particular ways in which our understanding is embodied (both for pre-linguistic children and for adults—and everyone in between), how pre-service teachers might be encouraged to include Somatic Understanding in their classroom teaching, and how their own Somatic Understanding might be engaged more fully in their pre-service teacher education.
The body of my current work is an investigation of the three cornerstones of teacher education—subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and knowledge of contexts. Referring to the current literature, I consider the goals of each, how effectively they are being met, and specific ways in which each knowledge base will need to be altered within an imaginative teacher education program. I hope that this theory building—as well as some of the practical issues I raise and instructional strategies I suggest—will be of some use in the development of an imaginative teacher education module at SFU.
Gillian Judson explores IE’s links to Ecology
Author: Gillian Judson, who is currently exploring the theoretical and practical terrains of imaginative education and ecological education. Three questions guide her research: What are the central features of ecological education? How might the imagination help ecological education realize its goals? What would an imaginative ecological education look like in practice? In pursuit of possible answers, Gillian’s doctoral research considers how to connect two currently unrelated educational fields: Egan’s (1997) theory of Imaginative Education on the one hand and ecological education on the other. How the imagination, with its emotional roots and somatic core, might facilitate the development of students’ ecological understanding, or sense of interconnectedness within the natural world, is currently unexplored terrain.
Her present stage of exploration involves locating the imagination in the field of ecological education and delineating its pedagogical role. Her encounters with imagination have been sporadic and brief at best. The imagination seems to inhabit the borderlands, receiving little attention and no comprehensive investigation in theory or practice. As is the case in most educational contexts, there is a general consensus that engaging the imagination in ecological education is a good thing. However, its contributions to theory and practice are minimal and there has been no comprehensive documentation of its potential impact for developing ecological understanding. Gillian aims to develop a theoretical framework in which imagination plays a central role in ecological education as well as in the curriculum and resources teachers may use in their classrooms.
Catherine Broom investigates Historical Roots
Author: Catherine Broom. Catherine is fascinated with understanding the roots of the present through investigations of the past. She is currently conducting a historical study of BC’s Ministry of Education curriculum guides for social studies, focused on citizenship education. This research is particularly relevant as much interest has currently been fostered in academia regarding citizenship education and as the Ministry of Education in BC has just released a new Civics 11 course. [The new guide is found at: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/civic11.pdf] She has completed research into the founding of this controversial subject and linked its emergence in BC in 1930 to the American progressive movement. She has discovered 6 major curriculum revisions to the curriculum guides over the twentieth century.
Catherine’s work explores change and continuity in these curriculum guides, with a focus on philosophy and methodology and conceptualizations of good citizens and how these are to be educated. Sears and Hughes (1996), Osborne’s (1996) and Evans’ (2004) frameworks are used to investigate citizenship. She argues for major revisions to underlying philosophies of education in social studies curricula in the 1930s and 1960s, and for major transformations in the understanding of curriculum making throughout the century. The later will be the theme of her paper presented at IERG’s conference this summer. It explores the roots of the rationalized “science” of curriculum making, which Catherine argues, have forestalled the possibility of educating for excellence and of engaging students in learning through the imagination. A discussion of her findings includes links to the work of Foucault and Wertsch.
Lesson: A Romantic Guide to Transgression for high school English Literature
People have roles within their societies and are aware of the expectations inherent in those roles. However, an individual may assert that transgressing rules may be critical in the pursuit of a higher purpose, regardless of the consequences. Students will explore roles within their family, culture and society to determine the essential rules as well as the personal and societal consequences of transgressing them.
They will begin by looking at long-held traditions with First Nations society, and then look at examples in literature (Romeo and Juliet) as well as contemporary examples of transgression as seen in current events. Please click here to access this lesson. It includes downloadable and ready-to-use resources.
Dr. Popenici: Thank you and Farewell
Author: Kieran Egan. We greatly regret that Dr. Stefan Popenici’s time with us is concluding at the end of April this year. Stefan has been an enormous help to the development of IERG, taking charge of setting up the website for IRNIE [http://imaginativeeducation.org/IRNIE], and arranging a mammoth trip for himself and IERG directors to meet with a number of our associates in Romania, Georgia, Italy, Spain and Israel to plan future research and development work.
He has also launched into a book on ADHD, given a seminar on role models and heroes, been the guiding force in the development of an energetic group of Imaginative Educators in Georgia, Eastern Europe, and generally made himself an indispensable part of the IERG team. He will, we hope, continue in this role from Romania, becoming a major developer of IERG ideas and their implementation. We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep and sincere gratitude for all his work here, and for the friendly way he enriched our lives in the IERG for the year he was with us.
The LUCID Project is a research partnership between the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU), the Haida, Stó:lō, and Tsimshian First Nations, and B.C. School Districts 33, 50 and 52. It relies on imaginative education to bridge the gap between academic curriculum and the cultures of children’s lives by creating a learning environment in which all children can achieve their fullest potential.
What is the LUCID Project?
Many efforts have been made to make schools more culturally inclusive and even greater efforts to ensure that schools are effective in developing children’s powers of understanding, but often these have underestimated the vital role of teachers, and of culturally embedded ways of thinking, in mediating children’s encounters with the curriculum.
LUCID addresses these challenges directly. In its collaborative structure, its direct involvement of teachers, and its distinctive theoretical approach, it may hold one key to the challenge of making schools exciting places to teach and learn for all.
LUCID is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), launched Community-University Research Alliance (CURA).
LUCID expands in Haida Gwaii
Author: Mark Fettes….An innovative pilot high school program and a focus on connecting with land and community are helping LUCID reach more students and teachers in Haida Gwaii (School District 50). The new program in Queen Charlotte Secondary School, called Taay.yaan.nuhl (“cluster of stars” in southern Haida), is designed for students in Grades 8-11 who for a variety of reasons are not flourishing in the regular high school system.
LUCID expands in Haida Gwaii
By integrating the provincial curriculum with learning on the land, and with the past, present and future of the island communities, LUCID aims to make school a more engaging and successful experience for these adolescents. The program is taught by a young and energetic teacher, Kim Kyba, with a background in marine biology and outdoor education. Working with Kim to develop the program’s curriculum and make it available at the district level are LUCID director Mark Fettes (currently on leave from his position at SFU), environmental/drama educator Josina Davis, and LUCID Project Leader Vonnie Hutchingson.
The Taay.yaan.nuhl curriculum is divided into a number of phases that are shaped, in part, by the on-the-land activities that different seasons allow. The initial months of the program are largely focused on learning about health and survival, land and forests, identity and environment, and on developing a classroom culture that fosters effective learning. Over the winter months, the curriculum will shift toward the physical sciences (energy, matter) and the representation of the world in mathematics, mapping, and art; then, as the weather improves, to the ecology of the oceans and the cultures and economies of coastal societies.
It is already clear, from the first few weeks of the program, that it is making a difference for many of the 20 students, in terms of their self-confidence, motivation, and engagement. Channeling that energy into the development of their academic skills will provide an ongoing challenge, and an invaluable test of LUCID as both an educational and a research project.
District-wide, more than 20 teachers and administrators have expressed an interest in being part of an expanded LUCID group. Through monthly dinner meetings and regular e-mail communication, group members will support one another to develop and teach curriculum units, classroom strategies, and assessment tools that incorporate principles of imaginative education and connect students with land and community.
Bringing it all Together: LUCID Conference 2006
Author: Kym Stewart…..From July 8th to July 10th, 2006, teachers, leaders, researchers and supporters of the LUCID research project from all districts were able to reconnect at a quaint cannery in Port Edwards.
This conference marked the midterm point of the LUCID project and provided an opportunity for participants to share ideas and inspiration that would carry them towards additional imaginative, cultural inclusion practices for their students. Like many of their meetings together, this conference created another opportunity to support risk taking in the classroom as LUCID supporters continue to question normative practices and to work on engaging students more deeply in their learning.
Teaching: An Integrated Unit based in Environmental Care and Connection
Cedar is central to the cultures of numerous West Coast Indigenous nations, including the Tsimshian, Haida, Nisga’a Gitxsan and Haisla. Traditionally, cedar provided these peoples with materials for clothing, shelter, transportation and utensils needed for everyday living. The cedar, then, is wonderful because it is essential for life. It represents munificence because it provides goods in extraordinary variety and abundance.
This lesson has students “perfink” (perceive, feel, and think) the munificence of the cedar; they need first to imagine themselves as needy. Thus the opening of this unit involves an examination of students’ possessions. Where did their clothes come from? Their food? Their homes? The other things they value (e.g. cars, electronics, sporting goods, music)? Everything is “borrowed” from somewhere, maybe many different places and people. Suppose that the people, places, plants and animals wanted “their” materials and labour returned to them: where would students turn to for a new source to meet their needs and wants?
Enter King (or Lord, or Chief) Cedar, monarch of the temperate rainforest, a vast realm he shares with lesser lords or chiefs. His message: he will share his wealth with those who understand and respect the laws of his land. Students have a limited period (e.g. two weeks) to show themselves worthy. To do so, they must perform a number of tasks involving research, writing, etc, culminating in a Cedar Feast.
Re-imagining Media Education: Media Detectives-in-Training Pilot Project
Author: Kym Stewart. …. A lack of media-education-teacher-training opportunities and media-education materials for elementary teachers, combined with the already-busy schedules of teachers, have often forced media-education programs to be overlooked or relegated to the margins of the BC curriculum. This project, collaboratively developed by Kym Stewart, an IERG associate and Education graduate student with an extensive media studies background, and Jude Comeau, a wonderfully energetic Grade 3 teacher at Armstrong Elementary School in Burnaby, BC, seeks to provide teacher training by presenting examples of imaginatively-based, media-education lessons, and by supporting the teacher as she creates space for the exploration of children’s media culture in classroom discussions. This is part one of a two-part article.
This media-education project focuses on helping students become “Media Detectives-in-Training.” Becoming detectives provides the students with a framework in which to examine their media environment more closely. As the lessons progress, the students are provided with situations to hone their detective skills including: opportunities to examine ‘clues’ found in media texts, images and advertising; go undercover to create their own ads; collect data through surveys; conduct interviews and, finally, analyze the data as they create a detective portfolio and report. The focus of the project is to provide an environment in which the students can reflect on their own relationships with media culture. The curriculum developed is not necessarily viewed as a series of lessons to be completed but rather as an adventure of personal transformation and reflection.
Cognitive tools to be used in the classroom, such as story, binary opposites, jokes and humour, a sense of mystery, drama, heroes and heroines are commonly found in children’s media programs and advertising. However, as Egan (1997) comments, “It is a little odd that the eight- to fifteen-year-old’s enjoyment of books, TV shows, and films that deal with the exotic and the extreme has had so little impact on learning theories and curriculum planning” (p. 85). The fact that purveyors of popular electronic media have been much more successful in understanding and capitalizing on children’s imaginations suggests that media education needs to be viewed through a broader educational theory that focuses on students’ emotional and intellectual engagement.
Masters of Education in Imaginative Education
Update on the Current Masters Program
New Journal Issue of Educational Perspectives
Masters’ Students–Mary, Caitlyn, and Gillian–Discuss their Program
Spreading Imaginative Education in New York City…
New Guide to Imaginative Education…Teachers’ Guides on the Way
Teaching Newton’s Laws
Call for Research Articles, Questions, and Topics!
IRNIE’s Inaugural Meeting
People at IERG
More People at IERG
Meaningful Learning in Narrative Environments
Welcome to IERG’s new online newsletter
New People at IERG
IERG’s Conference, July 2006
Research at IERG
Unfortunately, the following issues are no longer available.
Imagine! Winter 2005
Imagine! Winter 2004
Imagine! Winter 2003