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Useful And Fantastic: Applied Imagination - 9

Val Yule challenges a "widespread distaste for thinking''.

The widespread culture of distaste for thinking could be turned around, to value innovating as a mental activity that leads to constructive actions as citizens. There are ways to raise ‘hard thinking’ to be a sport, rather than a classroom threat, punishment or an examinable stress. When a culture encourages everyone to dare to have ideas, and to test and implement ideas – those of others as well as their own, then the zany ideas that undoubtedly proliferate work like compost, as happened with technology in Victorian England and the arts in the Italian Renaissance. Ideas spark off other ideas.

Imagination for real life can be introduced in schools in ways that carry on to post-school life, and are not restricted to classroom tasks. For example, ‘Junior Social Inventions Readers’ in English studies could inspire ‘Creative Non-fiction Writing’. This would especialy please the large numbers of students who have no bent to become literary critics or fiction writers.

Ideas and social inventions that have changed the world or just their local corner can be enjoyable reading for boys and girls, because it is practical. They can collect ideas and projects in the news, and observe the world around them to admire, emulate or improve. Individuals and teams can practice actually doing something that goes outside the classroom and off the screen.


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