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"Imagination is more important than knowledge"
That banner-statement of Einstein's came back to me yesterday, as I was reflecting on the questions and uncertainties of an enthusiastic team of educators with whom we're currently working. Keen to thoroughly shift their practice from 'instruction' to 'construction', they are encountering that 'rug-pulled-from-under-their feet' feeling of what it might mean to do things differently, with a different mindset:
"What should we do if we're not instructing?"
"What if the children have different interests and ideas to ours?"
"How can we understand what to do?"
Their imagination is kindled, nudging them towards 'doing things differently', yet like many/most of us, their own experience of 'what education is' had been solidly instructional: that's what they'd had, and that's the common practice in the schools around them. Very unsettling, to say the least. I recall how education students participating in our Floor Four exploratorium also discussed how they felt initially de-skilled by the challenge of beginning with listening and observation, rther than predefined ctivities (as they'd been taught in college.)
How different the challege is to work with imagination at the fore, rather than repetition and ingestion.
What a positive call of encouragement Einstein's famous proclamation is, and I was prompted to hear more, so I tracked down the 1929 interview. If you click on the statement , you can read the full interview too - I hope you enjoy it as much as did I. Einstein discusses so much, so elequently - the artistry of being, thinking, examining, living - and the serious danger of living withough so doing.
"Life," Einstein said later in a letter to his son, "is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Maybe that is good enough advice for us educators too, as we learn, uncertainly, but with inner energy, how to do things differently: learning how better to work with our children who themselves are also born natural examiners of worlds.
One of our network members is seeking new creative enabler:
"1st Place is an early childhood education service based in Southwark, London; we aim to follow Reggio Emilia approach in our purpose-built Reggio-inspired nurseries, supporting children to explore the 100 languages through Mmusic, movement, dramatic play and visual arts.
We are currently seeking an atelierista to join and support our expanding team to extend children's learning experiences by facilitating explorations through a wide range of resources and materials, helping children to develop projects and providing workshops supporting their investigations.
Documentation plays a fundamental role in interpreting children's learning journeys. You will work with and support staff in developing an understanding of Reggio Emilia and related practice, by promoting creative learning approaches to staff, other professionals/children and families through workshops and training.
Hours of work 14 hours per week; Salary £10.430.60 Closing Date for application: 22nd June 2018
1st Place is a charity devoted to improving the opportunities for children and families in its diverse community of London borough of Southwark. We are committed to providing the highest quality of care and learning opportunities for children as well as nurturing and training our employees. "
"Ultimately only life educates, and the deeper that life, the real world, burrows into the school, the more dynamic and the more robust will be the educational process. That the school has been locked away and walled in as if by a tall fence from life itself has been its greatest failing. Education is just as meaningless outside the real world as is fire without oxygen, or as is breathing in a vacuum." Vygotsky, L. (first published in 1926) Educational Psychology
I have this quote on my desk, thanks to colleague Mary Jane Drummond, and when this morning I heard about the UN Global Youth Survey, it seemed to be a fitting comment.
Here is an extract from their pilot study, of 10 - 18 year-olds:
"The most alarming result Irom the test run of the Global Youth Poll is the common agreement by all participants that school is not a place they enjoy spending their time. Vietnam and Mexico show the best results among the 11 different regions, where only 29% and 28% of those interviewed answered with a clear NO when asked if they had enjoyed their time at school in 2017. Other countries such as the U.S. are clear with 44% of young people turning their back to the vision of education they experience from secondary school up to university. In the U.K. the frustration is at 42% of the respondents. Together with the other questions asked around education in the Global Youth Poll this sends a stark alert to all in charge of education ... "
At the moment the poll is for secondary age children: HERE is the link for more info and for children to participate.