Teaching about Imaginative Education Imaginatively

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Kieran Egan, Faculty of Education

Project team: Gillian Judson, Faculty of Education, and Annabella Cant, research assistant

Timeframe: January to October 2014

Funding: $5,000

Final report: View Kieran Egan's final project report (PDF)

Course addressed: EDUC 398 – Imagination in Education (Special Topics Course)

Description: The Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG) has developed some innovative pedagogical principles and practices, which have been used in many countries. Various empirical tests of their effectiveness have been published, showing their success. These principles and practices, and the theory behind them, form the contents of a Special Topics course proposed and accepted for teaching in the Faculty of Education in the Spring 2014 semester. Our aim is to deploy the principles and practices we will be teaching “about” and use them “in the process” of instruction. Working out how to reformulate these principles and practices is important both for the consistency and plausibility of our work, and also, if they prove as effective as we hope, they can be made available to anyone else in our faculty, in other faculties in the university, and in other institutions, especially those that focus on pedagogy.

Our team will plan the instruction, helping to design ways of incorporating the cognitive tools to the content of the classes being taught. We will follow a sequence in which we will focus on three distinct “cognitive toolkits” during the course. We will also add three assessment instruments to the course, administered at the end of each month, which aim to disclose information about students’ learning that will augment that from the regular assignments of the course. We will also try to gain information about the degree of students’ imaginative engagement, and also the students’ own assessments of the engagement in the course.

Questions addressed:

  • How can we design undergraduate instruction about the cognitive tools by using the cognitive tools?
  • How effective is using Imaginative Education methods in supporting student learning?
  • Were the students’ imaginations engaged in the contents of the course?
  • How can we create a guide for other instructors based on what was learned in this project?

Knowledge sharing: The results of this project will include some principles for imaginatively engaging undergraduate students in learning pedagogical content and principles, and that these principles will be of practical use to many of our colleagues in the Faculty of Education, and quite possibly to others as well. We anticipate producing a Guide at the completion of the research project, which will incorporate principles for engaging undergraduate students in learning pedagogical theories and practices. Among our 8,000+ members in many countries, there are many who teach about Imaginative Education in colleges, universities, and teacher education programs in various institutions. We anticipate that many of these will make beneficial use of the results of our research project and it projected resulting Guide. We will make the Guide available on our IERG website.

Egan, K., Bullock, S.M. Chodakowski, A. (2016). Learning to teach, imaginatively: supporting the development of new teachers through cognitive tools. McGill Journal of Education. 51, 3: 999-1012.

Cant, A., Egan, K., & Judson, G. (n.d.) Engaging Adult Learners Through Imaginative Practice: A Guide to More Effective Undergraduate Teaching, [Pamphlet]. Imaginative Education Research Group.