Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Education: Imagination, intuition, inspiration

There is something special about creativity and the way that our minds are structured. some of us are lucky to find a source of inspiration in everything around us, some people need to find a muse. I said when I started my course in learning and teaching that I learn something new everyday and I stick with that. Today I finished reading "The Meaning of It All" by Richard Feynman. It struck lots of chords. He was inspirational and he has some of the same feelings towards English for example, although I am more conciliatory towards psychology.

What we want as teachers are to create reasoning adventurers. People who everyday set out with a sense of wonder about the world, that are on a voyage of discovery and that know how to be discerning. They can sort the wheat from the chaff, the Chomsky from the Coulter.

So how do we teach intuition and imagination? How do we inspire?

Well apparently we have to bore our students so that they will then respond by using their imaginations! That is one hypothesis on the Cultural Uses of Boredom. In some ways it is true in the PlayStation and wii generation they are always active and at school active learning is in fashion. Just because students are busy it does not mean they are busy learning. In a fast paced world boredom gives us some time to digest.

There is a certain joy in knowing that you know nothing, that there is much less certainty than most people appreciate. Feynman thought the Russians were wrong because they had fixed ideas. They had decided that in some areas of science the ultimate truth had been found. For him there was no truth, all politicians should sit on the fence, then they might think out some of their plans a bit more methodically (that explains why I am a fence sitting Liberal Democrat). We have got into a world where we have a lot of data, a little bit of knowledge and we are getting less and less wisdom.

What is sad is that his Lecture is as relevant today as it was when he gave it in 1963. Sure the Russians are not the baddies anymore but the same prejudices and small-town ideas still cause the same problems nearly 50 years later. It is sad because we have made so little progress with all that opportunity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Creativity is one method of somehow stimulating the senses, all which can have an affect on imagination, inspiration and intuition. What strikes me is that humans judge the impact creativity has on the senses so differently from one another. This is what sets humans apart when it comes to appreciating with and applying the mind.