IERG News & Updates March 2015
IERG News & Updates is our way to keep you informed about activities of the IERG, examples of Imaginative Education in action, interviews with practitioners, as well as short pieces giving in-depth insights into various aspects and programs of the Imaginative Education Research Group.
We welcome your feedback, and as always, please feel free to share this with your colleagues and students, so that everyone can stay connected.
AT A GLANCE
Spotlight: Dr. Gerd Brauer
Interview with Dr. Buğra Zengin—IE Turkey
Amber Lee: update on IE in Taiwan
Welcome Korean Guests!
Spotlight on 2 LiD Kids
And More …
Spotlight: Dr. Gerd Brauer
IE/LiD in Germany
In 2012/2013, I spent a year as a visiting professor at the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada. When I prepared myself for this endeavour, I learned about the IERG and Kieran Egan’s work mostly from the Internet. I was intrigued from the beginning by the concept of Imaginative Education (IE) in general and of Learning in Depth in particular. I kept asking myself how I could possibly combine the research project for my year abroad with IE and other projects from the IERG. Various difficulties with the implementation of my project on-site and several months of illness meant I only made contact with Kieran Egan and his team near the end of my stay at the 2013 IERG Conference. At the conference I was deeply impressed by the many different ideas that have emerged over the past years in the international IERG community to put the concept of LiD into practice in schools. With a keen sense of the immobility of schools in Germany that I had encountered in many ways over the past 15 years, I immediately thought of the importance of introducing the concepts of Imaginative Education and Learning in Depth to German teacher training models, hoping that over time, together with a new generation of teachers, these ideas would transfer into both primary and secondary schools.
Two years later, IE and LiD have indeed started to blossom at least at my school, the University of Education in Freiburg, Germany. Once a year, I teach a seminar on Imaginative Education where students plan IE units and lessons and then are encouraged to take their IE work into local schools where they put them into practice during one of their internships. Later on, these students write about their experiences using IE in academic papers and, hopefully, also in their final thesis for graduation. To foster the latter, I began a LiD project at UE Freiburg. To begin, the LiD approach is introduced in a course on academic literacy in which students shape their academic skills for their college career and beyond. In the course, students are invited to select a topic that they will work on independently not only during this course but during all four years of college. Through a local database that will be accessible to all students and instructors at UE Freiburg starting with the academic year of 2015/16, participating students will introduce their LiD topics to the local academic community. The database will allow the students to be contacted by interested peers and instructors alike. The plan is that with their entry to the database, LiD students will willingly provide resources about the topic, make their LiD-ePortfolio (partly) accessible and/or give presentations in classes. Once or twice each semester, I will organize, together with the college library, public poster presentations where the LiD students make their work more visible. Also once or twice each semester, at the writing center that I am heading, there will be workshops on how to shape one’s work on LiD-ePortfolios. In addition, I started to invite the college teaching staff to workshops around IE and LiD with the goal, among others, that my colleagues would make use of the database mentioned above and provide our LiD students a chance to make use of their expertise during classes, in presentations, exams, and, last but not least, in their final thesis for graduation.
Despite promising beginnings of IE at the University of Education in Freiburg, the way into German primary and secondary schools may take a long time. I hope that the situation in nearby Switzerland will be a bit different. I got invited to present a workshop in April for Swiss schoolteachers at a regional conference on portfolio work in primary and secondary education. To me, portfolios are an ideal mode and medium for carrying out IE and LiD over the long term. I hope I will soon be able to report about this topic at one of the future IERG conferences, ideally together with some of my LiD students and/or colleagues who support my efforts in Freiburg.
Interview with Dr. Buğra Zengin
Imaginative Education in Turkey
Amber Lee: Imaginative Education in Taiwan
An UPDATE on the Program of Future Imagination and Creativity in Education Project
From January 25-27 of this year more than 130 Taiwanese educators (including teachers and principals of elementary, junior and senior high schools) participated in workshops on Imaginative Education (IE). These workshops were hosted and funded by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education through the Program of Future Imagination and Creativity in Education project. The workshops were led by a team of fourteen educators who, in October 2014, had travelled to Simon Fraser University to receive training on IE from the IERG. Workshop leaders introduced the theory and practice of IE and also shared their experiences and insights in relation to the training they received from the IERG. By employing an approach called the “World Café” workshop facilitators were able to share their ideas about IE and create an open conversation space so participants could gain a deeper understanding of IE, experience creative ways of conducting professional development, and discuss the future of imagination and creativity in schools in Taiwan. One teacher from a small elementary school in Miaoli county (a remote area in western Taiwan) had this to say about the workshops: “This three-day workshop made me exhausted but grateful… [because] it not only delivered knowledge and demonstrated practical skill to us, but also provided lots of supports and resources for us. After this workshop, I feel like I am more confident and capable of making efforts on Program of Future Imagination and Creativity in Education.”
Welcome Korean Guests!
The IERG was pleased to host a group of professors and graduate students from Korea in early February at Simon Fraser University. Professors Hoy-Yong Kim and Dr. Kwak Han Young (from Pusan National University) and Dr. Duck-Joo Kwak (from Seoul National University) were awarded a grant from the Ministry of Education in Korean to develop and implement a model for LiD in Korean schools. Over two days, they studied the theory and practice of the Learning in Depth project and its connections to the Imaginative Education approach to teaching with a team of IERG representatives. Our guests were also able to see LiD in action at University Highlands, KB Woodward, and Capitol Hill Elementary Schools. We look forward to learning about the launch of LiD in Korea in the future.