“The high school and college graduates who will get and keep good jobs in the new global economy and contribute solutions to the world’s most pressing problems are those who can bring . . . ‘a spark of imagination’ to whatever they do”.
I believe a student who graduates with a spark of imagination will be an amazing contribution to our society, and isn’t that what educators should be striving for? Imagination gives a person the ability to think critically, and let go of common sense, as we’ve described during previous lectures. A person who is willing to examine the way things are done and make propositions for change is a person who thinks with imagination and forgets about what is the normal person would do. As an educator, I can either foster that imagination or hinder it. Perhaps Tony Wagner was speaking about the older students, but I think the creation of a student’s “way of life”, and of personality starts at a younger age than high school and college graduates. These young students who will be in my classrooms will be figuring out what is important to them, and how to question and investigate. Through curiosity they can have that spark of imagination; but first they must learn to be curious.
Young students are highly impressionable and will be looking to their role models for how to act and make decisions. Parents and guardians make up a large portion of a young child’s role models, but teachers also spend a significant amount of time with school age children; they are most definitely an influential person in the child’s life. The classroom is a perfect place for fostering imagination and creativity, especially in the primary years. Young children can surprise you with the hypotheses they come up with, or the certain unbiased way they think about things, if you only give them a chance to do so. Unfortunately it is because of society’s influence that they become privy to biases and learn to forget about their imagination. I agree with Wagner, that as educators we need to pay special care to not inhibit imagination and creativity in the students that pass through our classrooms in order to create a society that can contribute to the world’s most pressing problems. Personally, I plan to take a closer critical look at my idea of education, and at lessons I plan to teach, and ensure that I allow curiosity in order to spark the imagination in my students.
To all my peers, let’s allow imagination vindication! Lets bring back the curiosity and creativity into the classrooms in order to create a society of makers of change and critical thinkers.