Saturday 5 November 2011

What does it mean to be imaginative?

Over the next few weeks students in Year 9 will be taking part in a field trial on behalf of the Centre for Real World Learning at the University of Winchester and the government body Creativity, Culture and Education. The purpose of the field trial is to research the possibility of designing an assessment framework for creativity. This is the second phase of the trial. The first was concerned with what it means to be inquisitive. This term we are focused on the imagination. Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton, joint authors of 'New Kinds of Smart', are proposing that creativity is made up of several key characteristics. These are:
  • Inquisitive - wondering & questioning, exploring & investigating, challenging assumptions
  • Persistent - tolerating uncertainty, sticking with difficulty, daring to be different
  • Collaborative - cooperating appropriately, giving & receiving feedback, sharing the product
  • Disciplined - reflecting critically, developing techniques, crafting & improving
  • Imaginative - playing with possibilities, making connections, using intuition
The Prezi above provides a really useful overview of the conceptual framework for the research. This term, I hope to be working with a team of colleagues and students in Year 9 to explore what it means to be imaginative. As well as reflecting on their understanding of their own imaginations we will be gathering a range of evidence of their imaginations in action.

We will use statements about the imagination and what it means to be imaginative and ask students to decide how much the statements reflect their learning habits of mind:

Being imaginative means trying things our. It means combining ideas from different places. It means being able to carry on even when you can't fully explain your reasoning.

If this is 'very much like me' then I can show that I can keep my mind open to ideas and that I don't narrow down too quickly. I can show that I look for links between facts and ideas. I use my own intuitions to come up with ideas. I can do these things without being prompted. I am confident about doing these things.
Whenever I have had explicit discussions with students about a particular skill or attribute prior to a learning activity I have always found it to be more successful. I hope and expect that this term's work will benefit from being framed by this exploration of the imagination and that we will have a great deal to discuss and share in terms of how this skills/ability/aptitude can be tracked over a period of time.

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