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An Imaginative Approach to Teaching

ISBN: 978-0-470-92848-6
272 pages
February 2005, Jossey-Bass
An Imaginative Approach to Teaching (0470928484) cover image


In this book, award-winning educator Kieran Egan shows how we can transform the experience of K-12 students and help them become more knowledgeable and more creative in their thinking. At the core of this transformative process is imagination which can become the heart of effective learning if it is tied to education's central tasks. An Imaginative Approach to Teaching is a groundbreaking book that offers an understanding of how students' imaginations work in learning and shows how the acquisition of cognitive tools drives students' educational development. This approach is unique in that it engages both the imagination and emotions. The author clearly demonstrates how knowledge comes to life in students' minds if it is introduced in the context of human hopes, fears, and passions. To facilitate this new educational approach, the book includes a wide variety of effective teaching tools - such as story, rhythm, play, opposition, agency, and meta-narrative understanding - that value and build upon the way children understand their experiences. Most important, Egan provides frameworks for lesson planning and more than a dozen sample lessons to show how teachers can use these tools to awaken intelligence and imagination in the classroom.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Imagination Underfoot xi

Chapter One: A Tool Kit for Learning 1
Story, Metaphor, Binary opposites, Rhyme, rhythm, and pattern, Jokes and humor, Mental imagery, Gossip, Play, Mystery, Embryonic tools of literacy

Chapter One and a Half: Examples in Everyday Classrooms 39

Chapter Two: A Tool Kit for Literacy 77
Sense of reality, Extremes of experience and limits of reality, Association with heroes, Sense of wonder, Collections and hobbies, Knowledge and human meaning, Narrative understanding, Revolt and idealism, Changing the context, Literate eye, Embryonic tools of theoretic thinking

Chapter Two and a Half: Examples in Everyday Classrooms 109

Chapter Three: A Tool Kit for Theoretic Thinking 151
Sense of abstract reality, Sense of agency, Grasp of general ideas and their anomalies, Search for authority and truth, Meta-narrative understanding Chapter Three and a Half:

Examples in Everyday Classrooms 171

Conclusion: Imagination Every Day 209

Glossary 219

Appendix A: Mythic Framework 223

Appendix B: Romantic Framework 227

Appendix C: Philosophic Framework 231

Bibliography 235

The Author 237

Index 239

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Author Information

Kieran Egan is professor of education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. His work focuses on teaching practices that develop a child's imagination. Dr. Egan is recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award and a member of the National Academy of Education. He is also author of numerous books, including The Educated Mind and Teaching as Storytelling.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • Egan is one of the leading thinkers on the topic of teaching and learning
  • Provides a framework for understanding imaginative engagement
  • Offers guidelines and examples of exemplary teaching practice 
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Related Websites / Extra

Kieran Egan's PageLearn more about Kieran Egan at the Imaginative Education Research Group.
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