Day 6 – Informal Presentation #1

The journal-article I chose is Adventures in Unveiling: Critical Pedagogy and Imagination, written by Sean Michael Morris, featured in Hybrid Pedagogy. Why I chose this journal-article was the how it seemed to combine the topics of pedagogy and imagination, first intrigued by the title and then read the article further. The imagination is sometimes the only tool and skill that I can possess in writing, and the thought that a creative process could be utilized in a more technical writing setting is a comforting thought. At the least, I understand that writing of any genre relies on creativity and imagination but it may or may not prove more difficulty with technical and digital writing. To that end, I was interested in reading more of the article in order to grasp the theory in order to apply its theory into my own understanding of digital humanities. As exemplified in the article, critical pedagogy is the philosophy of education and social movement that has developed and applied concepts from critical theory and related traditions to the field of education and the study of culture.

The author’s central topic or argument seems to be that imagination is lost in education and teaching, and relays the benefits and strength of using imagination in the classroom (regardless of subject such as math, science, English, etc.). In the author’s opening statement, a personal example was used, whereas it relates to a time in the author’s life as a high school student in American Studies (or history). In short, the author wrote a paper theorizing that General Robert Lee lost the Civil War on purpose to ‘preserve’ the South. This paper was considered too radical or philosophical, rejected by the school and dismissed with the author being moved to another class as a result. The paper is implied to have used imagination, seeking out alternative process of thought and theorizing that is thus rejected or dismissed by schools.

How the author explains this argument further is stating that “imagination is important to the project of critical pedagogy precisely because of the responsive nature of its practice. We must be able to think on our toes if education (of all kinds) is meant to be liberative. Liberation depends upon a thought—a thought that things as they are can be different than they are” (Morris). He continues to argue that education (like teachers) view imagination to be fragile and vulnerable, that it lacks academic integrity or certainty, the author arguing that most teachers value concrete fact over the unexpected train of thought. He dissects imagination into an equation of sorts, that change is based on hope (the struggle) with hope being based on imagination and thus acts as a revelation; without imagination, a classroom is without change or hope. In the end, Morris feels that education without change or hope is a process that is simply a list of requirements, checked off every day, week, month, year in a singular direction. Ultimately, the author’s concern is that his teacher and school “failed” him as a high school by failing to recognize the “whys of learning” or the attempt to quantify these whys into data; whys are the answer and/or questions regardless of whether they’re right, wrong, creative, or fearful. It is the element of these whys that inspire others to strive to understand in their own unique process and ask questions rather than the answers themselves; in the author’s case during high school years was the “gleeful sense of discovery” that was inspired by the imagination behind his thesis with Lee (Morris).

The importance of imagination in pedagogy (or any classroom) is that it can enable students and teachers alike to believe that things can be changed. I believe that it’s important as it demonstrates a skill or train of thought that helps students express themselves more openly and give the opportunity to genuinely learn or the desire to learn which may cause the knowledge to be retained better. I personally agree with the author that teachers should allow their students to read the material on their own rather than being read to them within a set of plans, assignments, charts, textbooks, or lectures. As Morris argues, teachers often do not teach “possibility, but rather conformity” without allowing the students to learn and express their own minds. Furthermore, as Morris explains in the article, education without imagination can be simply repetitive “training” that merely seeks to “status quo” and assumes the system it’s based upon is satisfactory without compromise. In my personal opinion, reflecting on my own occupation, the workplace benefits from imagination in training by making team-bonding or other activities that can strengthen the work group as well as provide a learning environment while pursuing entertainment at the same time. If the workplace can incorporate imagination with satisfactory results then why couldn’t education like high schools?

What else is preventing education to incorporate imagination into their learning and activities? What else is difficult in transcribing creative techniques and elements (like imagination) into other topics (like pedagogy)? What would be a good method of including imagination into the classroom in terms of activities or teaching? What else would constitute as a reasoning of why? Are there any college students that recall personal examples where imagination was rejected in the classroom? What would be defined as a part of the imagination and what would be defined as the opposite of imagination (like conformity)? (906)

http://hybridpedagogy.org/adventures-in-unveiling/

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