Teachers at Goffs are always renewing their efforts to research and develop engaging, exciting and effective ways of learning in their classrooms. Moreover, they endeavour to create lessons that incorporate recent research of how the brain learns in order to further develop the BLP skills that students need for an increasingly complex world.
Imaginative inquiry is key facilitator here and is one of our core BLP skills at Goffs. Of course, teachers use it in many different ways in different areas of the curriculum and over differing periods of time. One of the key benefits of applying imagination skills in class is the flexibility it allows in planning lessons that cover different learning styles and multiple intelligences.
You can get an example of how effective imagination skills are used in the classroom from Daisy Dewson’s favourite lessons. These examples are from RS and History:
“My favourite lesson is the RS lesson we had when we talked about Heaven and Hell. We talked about whether they exist or not, about what they’d be like if they did exist and about why we thought they do or don’t exist. I liked it because it was interesting and fun, and also because there was a lot of talking and giving opinions and we all got our say about whether or not there was some sort of life after death.
In year seven we also re-enacted the Battle of Hastings in a history lesson. Over half term we all had to make a weapon for homework. I made a helmet and an axe. In the next history lesson we had to bring them in and we went to the sports hall. We were split into two sides: William’s army, the Normans, and Harold’s army, the English. We had previously had a lesson on the Battle of Hastings, so we knew what happened. After we’d been sorted into two armies and each side had a king, we went into battle. It was really fun and we all learnt a lot from it because things are much easier to remember when you are put in the situation or re-enact them. Also it was exciting because we did a lot of running around and play fighting with our weapons.”
In RS we also incorporate ‘imagination skills’ into some assessments. Below are examples of Daisy’s “Religion – Do we have a choice?” assessment. The students task was to design their own ceremony to mark joining a religion or a coming of age ceremony that can be compared and contrasted to the religious ‘rites of passage’ ceremonies, such as baptism, Bar Mitzvah and Confirmation. Most students opt for a coming of age ceremony based on a community or group they feel they belong to (or would like to belong to). The assessment allows for students to both imagine the community as well as be creative in its construction. For example, Daisy produced a joining ceremony for a Doctor Who fan club (one that takes itself very seriously), which allowed for all kinds of imaginative joining rituals, commitments and shared values. The ceremony was then compared to the more established religions. Although this may seem a little silly, it does get the students to consider the comprehensive nature of the actual religious ceremonies studied and how much choice we have in joining them.
Some may argue that these types of assessment are not academically rigorous or challenging enough, but RS teachers are looking for a specific explanative criteria (based on levels) to be met. Using imagination allows students to be creative, apply their knowledge to new situations and further their understanding of topics taught.