This is a diagram that I came up with after a conversation with two different groups of people. The first group was my class of advanced English learners on Tuesday night. We were discussing how children are losing interest in science. One of the learners is also a high school science teacher, and he suggested that without knowledge, children cannot be imaginative. I suggested that without experience and knowledge, children cannot be imaginative.
The second group I spoke to was a group of people who were suggesting that I enroll my son in their private school. They were suggesting that public schools are inappropriate places for children to learn in. I replied that with the proper environment, with appropriate levels of experience and knowledge, children can be imaginative. The problem with formal education of late is that there is too great a focus on knowledge, because it’s easy to quantify through testing. Bureaucracies like that, because then children can easily be slotted for easy management. Then they wonder why children lack imagination.
I do not rely on schools to educate my children. In fact, though schooling is mandatory, I am entirely responsible for my children’s educational experience. School is just part of it. Their lives at home are far more important than their school life, and ensuring that they get plenty of experience, by playing with their friends, helping out on the farm, spending time abroad with their extended family, and expressing themselves in various media, I can make sure that their imaginations are healthy and active.
My students have the same needs, too, though I cannot ensure that they get what they need at home. Part of my task then is to make sure that part of their experience in my classes is experiential, so that their imaginations are stimulated.