Chapter 28 The Appeal of Imagination from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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Chapter 28 The Appeal of Imagination from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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Chapter 28 The Appeal of Imagination from WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING by William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

  1. 1. Copyright © 2011 by William Allan Kritsonis/All Rights Reserved 28 THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION INSIGHTS1. Materials for instruction should always be selected so as to appeal to the imagination of the students.2. Good teaching is imaginative in quality.3. The effective teacher chooses materials that kindle the imagi- nation of the learner.4. Using imagination in teaching is important for learning.5. Teaching avails little unless the student wants to learn.6. No matter how high the quality of curriculum materials may be, if the student has no interest in them, he will not readily make them his own.7. The best clues to the motives of man are found in his distinctive human capacities.8. The highest powers of man provide the key to understanding the lower levels of motivation rather than the converse.9. The thesis of this book is that the fundamental human motiva- tion is the search for meaning.10. A human being is a creature whose distinctive life consists in having meanings and whose basic aim is to fulfill them.11. The distinctively human qualities of mind and spirit are the clue to human motivation.12. Imagination belongs to the active inner life of a person.13. Imagination is the conscious center of psychic existence.14. Imagination is the power that renders experience vitally mean- ingful.15. Imagination has remarkable power in fulfilling a person’s exis- tence.16. Through imagination one is captivated by the vision of new and wider possibilities.17. Imagination is a form of ecstasy. 119
  2. 2. 120 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION18. Imagination is a manifestation of human freedom.19. The life of imagination belongs to everybody as an essential mark of his humanness.20. There is no person for whom the growth of the inner life of meaning is not the real goal of all his striving.21. All human beings are aiming at the higher things of life, and ultimately at realization of the highest meanings.22. Students learn best what they most profoundly want to know.23. The students learning efficiency is in direct relation to their motivation.24. The materials of instruction should be selected in the light of students’ real interests.25. Curriculum content must be chosen so as to maximize meanings.26. What students really care for, even if for one reason or an- other they may not acknowledge it, is the awakening of the in- ner life through the nurture of imagination.27. Students will respond to and learn readily materials that re- lease them from their ordinary concerns and lift them onto a new plane of meaning.28. The principle of appeal to imagination calls for the selection of materials that are drawn from the extraordinary rather than from the experience of everyday life.29. Through his studies the student should find himself in a different world from the commonplace one of practical life.30. The student should see more deeply, feel more intensely, and comprehend more fully than he does in his usual experiences.31. Effective teaching requires extraordinary insight into the pro- found depths of the human mind and a level of understanding far different from the judgments of practical life.32. Moral teaching, like instruction in personal relations, is plagued by unimaginative practicality and obviousness.33. Authentic moral meanings are reestablished only when the ex- traordinary mystery of unconditional obligation is recognized.34. In every realm of understanding the principle holds that mate- rial for instruction should be selected for its power of stimu- lating imagination.35. The appeal to imagination has everything to do with finding ma- terials that have unusual power to speak to persons in the depth of their being by giving them a vision of a new order of life in which they can participate.36. This cultivation of the life of imagination is the distinctive pur- pose and ultimate aim of general education.37. Success in solving the problems of life is best achieved by those whose imaginations are kindled.38. Power to act is not a prize to be directly grasped, but a conse- quence of deep understanding.39. Through concern for the life of imagination persons may be as- sured a meaningful existence, that will yield rich fruits in prac- tical affairs.40. Imaginative teaching is suitable for everyone and it is even more essential in the poor school and for the less able child than in the best school and for the gifted child.41. The means by which imagination may be kindled differ according to the person, his level of maturity, and his cultural context.42. The teacher must exemplify an imaginative quality of mind.
  3. 3. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 12143. A condition for successful imaginative teaching is an uncondi- tional faith in the possibility of realizing meaning through awakened imagination in any and every student.44. The teacher must have a working conviction about the essential nature of persons and of the highest human good by which per- sons are ultimately constrained, namely, the fulfillment of meaning. ____________________
  4. 4. 122 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONThe first three principles for the selection of materials for instruc-tion relate efficiency in learning to the logical patterns of the orga-nized disciplines. They show how a radical reduction may be effected inthe quantity of what needs to be learned, by capitalizing on the factthat authentic knowledge does not consist of isolated bits of experi-ence, but belongs to organized fields with characteristic designs thatprovide important guides to teaching and learning. The fourth and fi-nal principle of selection relates to the quality of the inner life ofthe teacher and learner rather than to the logic of the fields. It isconsequently different in kind and in point of reference from the firstthree. MATERIALS FOR INSTRUCTION SHOULD ALWAYS BE SELECTED THAT APPEAL TO THE IMAGINATION OF THE STUDENTS The fourth principle is that materials for instruction should al-ways be selected so as to appeal to the imagination of the students.Good teaching is imaginative in quality, and the effective teacherchooses materials that kindle the imagination of the learner. The aimof the present chapter is to explain what is meant by imagination inteaching and why it is so important for learning. IF A STUDENT HAS NO INTEREST IN THE CURRICULUM HE WILL NOT WANT TO LEARN The central problem to which imagination speaks is that of mo-tivation. Teaching avails little unless the student wants to learn. Nomatter how high the quality of curriculum materials may be, if thestudent has no interest in them, he will not readily make them his own. It is important for an educator to realize that everyone dreams, including the teacher. In order for students to have genuine interest in a subject, it must appeal to their imaginations, not to the
  5. 5. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 123 teacher’s. How does a teacher find out what the students are really interested in and how is that incorporated into the curriculum?
  6. 6. 124 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONPicture
  7. 7. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 125 SOME SOURCES OF MOTIVATION Now what are the sources of motivation? Some are found in bio-logical needs. When people are hungry or thirsty, cold or in pain,they are moved to action that will fulfill their wants. Other sourcesare social. People are dependent on one another for protection andfor the satisfaction of desires that cannot be attained in isolation,and so they are moved to meet their demands by suitable forms of so-cial behavior. Other sources are intellectual curiosity, love of beau-ty, ethical concern, and hunger for the divine. Many investigators of human behavior regard the basic biologi-cal and social needs as the fundamental sources of motivation andall other alleged higher sources, such as intellectual, esthetic,moral, and religious interests, as secondary and derivative. Investi-gators consider man’s continuity with the lower animals as the mostsignificant clue to his motivation, and they see his distinctiveness in theways in which he uses the special capacities of intelligence to securebiosocial demands. From this standpoint, the motives of a person arederived from his animal origins, and his higher powers are instrumentsfor the efficient satisfaction of basic organic needs. THE HIGHEST POWERS OF MAN PROVIDE THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE LOWER LEVELS OF MOTIVATION But is the foregoing account of motives satisfactory? Do thefunctions usually designated as “higher” really exist primarily toserve the basic organic needs? There is much evidence for the con-trary view, to the effect that the best clues to the motives of manare found in his distinctive human capacities and not in that part ofhis nature that he shares with the lower animals. In fact, some au-thorities in the biological sciences affirm that biological drives them-selves can best be understood in the light of the psychic life of man.For example, the biologist Edmund W. Sinnott in Cell and Psyche1argues that organic hungers are identical with conscious purposes,the organic being the outside appearance of what is known inwardlyto consciousness. Along similar lines the paleontologist Pierre Teil-hard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man2 shows that the evolu-tion of the cosmos, from the very first organizations of energy toform atoms and molecules, on through the various stages of plantand animal emergence, to its culmination in man and society, requiresthe postulation of omnipresent powers of a kind that we understanddirectly in our mental and spiritual life. Again, the highest powers ofman provide the key to understanding the lower levels of motivationrather than the converse. The contrast between the two views of human motivation iswell illuminated in Hanna Arendt’s study already referred to inChapter 3.3 She says the contemporary condition of man is determinedin large part by the necessities of biological and social needs, hishigher functions being harnessed to the service of survival and repro-ductive demands. This condition sharply contrasts with the classicalGreek view that the highest good is the life of contemplation within a1 Harper & Row, Publishers, Incorporated, New York, 1961.2 Harper & Row, Publishers, Incorporated, New York, 1961.3 The Human Condition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, 1959.
  8. 8. 126 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONcommunity of free, equal, and responsible persons in continuous dia-logue, having a sense of meaningful relationship with ancestors andposterity in a historic tradition, an engaging in the creation of a cul-tural treasure of enduring worth. Implicit in Arendt’s analysis is theconviction that the present desperate situation of humankind can betraced to the inversion of values evident in the contemporary subordi-nation of the higher human functions to the lower ones. DISTINCTIVE HUMAN QUALITIES OF MIND AND SPIRIT ARE THE CLUE TO HUMAN MOTIVATION The thesis of this book is that the fundamental human motiva-tion is the search for meaning. A human being is a creature whose dis-tinctive life consists in having meanings and whose basic aim is to ful-fill them. He can never rest content simply with biological satisfac-tions. He is forever disturbed by wants that are alien to animal exis-tence. His real longing is for meaning, and whether he recognizes it ornot, all his striving, whatever its apparent object, is directed towardthe enlargement and deepening of meaning. On this basis we affirm theview that the distinctively human qualities of mind and spirit are theclue to human motivation, in contrast to the position that the basicbiosocial needs govern human behavior. IMAGINATION BELONGS TO THE ACTIVE INNER LIFE OF A PERSON The above view of motivation is directly relevant to the under-standing of imagination. Imagination belongs to the active inner lifeof a person. It is the conscious center of his psychic existence. It is thepower that renders his experience vitally meaningful. By contrast,unimaginative aspects of experience are routine, dull, and unexciting.They do not grasp one at the core of his personal being. They are es-sentially meaningless. IMAGINATION HAS REMARKABLE POWER IN FULFILLING A PERSON’S EXISTENCE Imagination has remarkable power in fulfilling a person’s exis-tence. It centers in the depths of his personal being, yet at the sametime it releases him from self-preoccupation. Through imagination oneis captivated by the vision of new and wider possibilities. Imagination isa form of ecstasy (meaning literally, “standing outside of”), in whichone is lifted out of himself and transported to a higher level of exis-tence. Imagination is a manifestation of human freedom, in which one isnot constrained by the necessities of the natural and social environ-ment or of his own biological drives, but is able to participate in aworld of meanings that the human spirit discovers are its native home.
  9. 9. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 127 THE FUNDAMENTAL GOAL OF HUMAN EXISTENCE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF MEANING—ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE AIMING AT THE HIGHER THINGS OF LIFE, AND ULTIMATELY AT REALIZATION OF THE HIGHEST MEANINGS It may be thought that this life of imagination belongs to acertain small class of unusual persons, including intellectuals,artists, and mystics, but not to ordinary people, and surely not tothose who are less able than the average. Many human beings andmany human experiences are unimaginative. But it need not be grantedthat nothing better is possible for most people, most or all of thetime. If the fundamental goal of human existence is the fulfillment ofmeaning, then the life of imagination belongs to everybody as an es-sential mark of his humanness. Accordingly, there is no person forwhom the growth of the inner life of meaning is not the real goal ofall his striving, whether or not he is conscious of it as such. It is afundamental error to regard most people as more or less intelligentbeasts among whom live a few unusual souls who happen to enjoy the“higher things of life.” All human beings—and perhaps all lower be-ings too, in an unconscious way—are aiming at the higher things oflife, and ultimately at realization of the highest meanings. STUDENTS LEARN BEST WHAT THEY MOST PROFOUNDLY WANT TO KNOW—THEIR LEARNING EFFICIENCY IS IN DIRECT RELATION TO THEIR MOTIVATION These considerations are directly relevant to the problems ofeducation. Students learn best what they most profoundly want toknow. Their learning efficiency is in direct relation to their motiva-tion. The materials of instruction should be selected in the light ofstudents’ real interests. If the biosocial concept of motivation is ac-cepted, instructional materials will be selected so as to help the stu-dent satisfy his basic organismic wants. If, on the other hand, motiva-tion is believed to spring from the higher human functions, curriculumcontent will be chosen so as to maximize meanings. Remember, students do not fantasize about what they already have. The successful
  10. 10. 128 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION teacher will take them where they have not been.
  11. 11. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 129Picture
  12. 12. 130 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION TRADITIONAL ACADEMIC CURRICULUM IS DEFICIENT IN MEANING—FUNCTIONAL CURRICULUM IS DEFICIENT THAT EMPHASIZES THE PRACTICAL CONCERNS OF THE LEARNER Modern educational practice has been largely governed by theideal that studies should be meaningful. The traditional academic cur-riculum was found deficient in meaning for the great majority of stu-dents, and in its place a more “functional” curriculum was developed,guided by the principle that the greatest interest (and the most mean-ing) would be attached to studies contributing to the practical con-cerns of the learner. It is presupposed by the proponents of the func-tional curriculum that what students are for above all is the suc-cessful satisfaction of their desires, the elimination of their frustra-tions, and the full opportunity to discharge their impulses, and thatthe aim of education is to maximize these goals as far as possible foras many as possible THE AWAKENING OF THE INNER LIFE THROUGH THE NURTURE OF IMAGINATION Suppose now that the concept of meaning presupposed by thefunctionalists is mistaken and that what students really care for,even if for one reason or another they may not acknowledge it, is theawakening of the inner life through the nurture of imagination. Thenstudies directed toward the satisfaction of organic and social demandswill not enlist enthusiasm or induce effective learning. Students willrespond to and learn readily materials that release them from theirordinary concerns and lift them onto a new plane of meaning. THE APPEAL TO THE IMAGINATION CALLS FOR THE SELECTION OF MATERIALS THAT ARE DRAWN FROM THE EXTRAORDINARY RATHER THAN THE EXPERIENCE OF EVERYDAY LIFE The principle of appeal to imagination calls for the selectionof materials that are drawn from the extraordinary rather thanfrom the experience of everyday life. They should be such as to trans-form ordinary perspectives rather than to confirm them. Through hisstudies the student should find himself in a different world from thecommonplace one of practical life. He should see more deeply, feelmore intensely, and comprehend more fully than he does in his usualexperiences.In Symbolics The principle may be illustrated in all types of studies. Imagi-natively conceived, language may be understood as a game with vari-ous possible sets of rules. One can play with roots and affixes, exper-iment with various combinations of sound and meaning elements, andarrange words into sequences according to various actual and possi-ble syntactical patterns. Language so treated becomes a new andfascinating activity transcending the ordinary practices of talkingand writing to meet the demands of social exigency. By considering itsextraordinary aspects—those realities that lie hidden beneath themass of common assumptions about human discourse—the inner meaning
  13. 13. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 131of language is disclosed. If, instead, language is taught simply as ameans of social interaction and adjustment, the student’s imaginationwill not be kindled. He will miss the vision of what language reallymeans, in the deep mystery of symbols as channels for the revelationof the intelligibility of things. Mathematics imaginatively taught transcends such common-place problem solving as learning how to make change at grocerystores and how to calculate the heights of buildings. Mathematics is afield of wonder and excitement, with strange symbols and endless pos-sibilities for experiments in thought. A drastic shift has occurred inmany of the most thoughtfully conceived mathematics curricula. Thenewer materials are designed to produce real mathematical insightrather than merely computational skill for practical application.The recasting of elementary mathematics in the light of the ideal oftrue mathematical understanding is a signal contemporary exampleof giving precedence to imagination over biosocial adjustment in theselection of the materials of instruction.In Empirics An imaginative teacher of science does not treat his field sim-ply as refined common sense. He is not mainly concerned to teach stu-dents to think scientifically in the affairs of everyday life, in themanner of those who believe that thinking is simply problem solvingand the educated person is one who meets his problems successfully bythe application of scientific method. Science is in reality a highlyimaginative human enterprise, involving a complete transformation ofcommonsense ways of thinking. The teacher who wants his students tounderstand science introduces them to the extraordinary perspectiveson things which are afforded by scientific modes of thought. The fasci-nation (and value) of science consists in its transfigured vision of na-ture and man, transcending the superficial perceptions and unexaminedjudgments of everyday life.In Esthetics In the esthetic realm the functional curriculum makes use of thearts as means of self-expression, affording psychological releaseand better integration of vital energies. The arts are also seen asone solution to the social problems of leisure time in an advanced in-dustrial society. In the imaginative approach to art education, allsuch considerations of psychological and social utility are rejectedand art is presented as an avenue to the exaltation of life throughobjectifying the mysterious depths of man’s creative life. This trans-forming power of art can be imparted by bringing students into thepresence of works that do not at once disclose their meaning and byshowing them how to perceive these works sensitively and expectant-ly.In Synnoetics The contrast between imaginative and unimaginative instructionis particularly vivid in the case of personal knowledge. Depth analy-sis of the human psyche shows that the world of self and others is fardifferent in reality from what appears to common sight. That is whycommon sense approaches to the improvement of human relationshipsand to self-understanding are so unexciting and uninstructive. Effec-tive teaching in this domain requires extraordinary insight into theprofound depths of the human mind and a level of understanding far
  14. 14. 132 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONdifferent from the judgments of practical life. The psychotherapist’suse of dreams and the use of projective tests by the skilled counselorare illustrations of what is meant by imaginative materials of in-struction in the field of personal knowledge. The extraordinary con-siderations of the perceptive counselor are more powerful in teachingthan are commonsense observations, because they bring the learnercloser to the real inner meaning of his personal existence than do theobvious but fundamentally untrue everyday platitudes.In Ethics Moral teaching, like instruction in personal relations, isplagued by unimaginative practicality and obviousness. This conditionhas been accentuated by the wide acceptance of the theory thatmoral principles are simply rules for promoting social harmony. Au-thentic moral meanings are reestablished only when the extraordi-nary mystery of unconditional obligation is recognized and when thesecret inward claim of conscience is reinforced by the consideration ofmoral dilemmas where the easy justifications of prudence and customdo not suffice.In Synoptics History has been robbed of its proper interest and meaningwhen, in the name of meaning, it has been pressed into the service ofeveryday living, being justified on the grounds that one can live moresuccessfully now if he knows what has happened in the past. The es-sential meaning of history consists in the absolutely unique and com-pletely extraordinary quality of singular events. To understand his-tory is to engage in an imaginative recreation of the past, the successof which is measured by one’s ability to transcend the preoccupationsand presuppositions of the practical present. The capacity for suchimaginative transcendence of the present is a fair measure of spiritu-al maturity. Although religion in its very essence denies subservience to theordinary, much of what is called religion is in fact interpreted in utili-tarian fashion. In religious instruction God is often represented as theall-powerful ruler to whom the faithful resort for benefits thatcannot be secured through natural channels. Such cosmic practical-ism is likely to appear to students both as untrue and uninteresting.On the other hand, imaginative religious teaching emphasizes the pro-found mystery of the divine. Authentic religious meanings are perhapsbest learned by participation in the life of the worshipping community,by meditation on the unfathomable depths of existence, and by thereverent contemplation of sacred symbols, in which the finite and theinfinite are wonderfully interfused. Finally, everyday ideas are not likely to contribute much tophilosophic understanding. The essence of philosophy is deep question-ing. Its function is to force thought beyond the obvious to the meaningsthat lie hidden beneath the surface of experience. The appeal of phi-losophy consists precisely in its imaginative detachment from ordinarypractice for the sake of a truer vision of things. MATERIALS SHOULD BE SELECTED FOR THEIR POWER OF STIMULATING IMAGINATION In every realm of understanding the principle holds that mate-rial for instruction should be selected for its power of stimulatingimagination. This does not mean that materials should be bizarre, or
  15. 15. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 133esoteric, or sensational. Some teachers depend on the appeal of theunusual, no matter what it is, to maintain interest. The appeal toimagination has nothing to do with such romaticism and showmanship.It has everything to do with finding materials that have unusual pow-er to speak to persons in the depth of their being by giving them a vi-sion of a new order of life in which they can participate and by whichtheir ordinary existence can be transfigured.
  16. 16. 134 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION THE CULTIVATION OF THE LIFE OF IMAGINATION IS THE ULTIMATE AIM OF GENERAL EDUCATION This cultivation of the life of imagination is the distinctive pur-pose and ultimate aim of general education. In fulfilling this aim thefundamental disciplines are particularly relevant, for they are theconsequence of the direct pursuit of meanings, without subordinationto the necessities of practical life. Although the applied disciplinescan also be taught imaginatively, they are perhaps more readily cor-rupted than are the fundamental fields by a subhuman utilitarianconcept of meaning.SUCCESS IN SOLVING THE PROBLEMS OF LIFE IS BEST ACHIEVED BY THOSE WHOSE IMAGINATIONS ARE KINDLED In respect to practicality, it turns out that the pursuit of theapparently impractical fundamental studies using ostensibly imprac-tical imaginative materials proves in the long run to yield the richestharvest of practical fruits. Profound understanding is the source ofeffective practice, and success in solving the problems of life is bestachieved by those whose imaginations are kindled. As in so many af-fairs of human life, it turns out that in the field of practice the bestresults are obtained by indirect rather than by direct attack. Powerto act is not a prize to be directly grasped, but a consequence of deepunderstanding. Thus, what the educational functionalists struggle toattain deliberately, they may lose because they do not understandhuman nature well enough. Contrariwise, through concern for the lifeof imagination persons may be assured a meaningful existence, thatwill yield rich fruits in practical affairs. IMAGINATION TEACHING IS SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE A final critical question about the principle of imaginationneeds to be considered. Is the imaginative type of general educationadvocated above really possible for everyone? Is it as applicable toan under-average child in a slum school as to a bright child in a high-ly favored suburban school? The answer is that imaginative teachingis suitable for everyone and that it is even more essential in the poorschool and for the less able child than in the best school and for thegifted child. To hold this as an active working principle requires faithby the teacher in the potentiality for real human fulfillment in everyperson. It is the consistent witness of those who have labored in sucha faith that their confidence was not in vain. For the fruits of imaginative instruction to appear, three condi-tions must be fulfilled. First, it needs to be recognized that the meansby which imagination may be kindled differ according to the person, hislevel of maturity, and his cultural context. The teacher has tochoose materials to take account of these factors. What will kindlethe imagination of a manually oriented child is not the same as for aconceptually oriented child. Imaginative materials for a countrychild may be different from those for a city child. They will ordinarilybe different for adults than for children. There are no standard ma-terials that can be labeled “imaginative” for everyone everywherealways.
  17. 17. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 135 The second condition is the teacher himself exemplifies an imag-inative quality of mind. Part of his imaginativeness is manifest in hisability to transcend his own subjectivity and to enter so sympatheti-cally into the lives of his students that he is able to create or selectmaterials that will speak to their inner being. His own imaginationmust also be alive in respect to his own existence. If it is, he communi-cates a quality of authentic life—of having been grasped at the coreof his personality by the power of meaning—and the students appre-hend this quality of reality even if they do not share in the particularmeanings the teacher experiences. The third condition for successful imaginative teaching is anunconditional faith in the possibility of realizing meaning throughawakened imagination in any and every student, no matter what ap-pearances may indicate to the contrary. This faith is not to be con-fused with a blind optimism in the goodness and indefinite perfectibilityof every person. It is rather a working conviction about the essentialnature of persons and of the highest human good by which persons areultimately constrained, namely, the fulfillment of meaning. WAYS OF KNOWING1. Why should materials for instruction always be selected so as to appeal to the imagination of the students?2. Why is good teaching imaginative in quality?3. Why should the effective teacher select materials that kindle the imagination of the learner?4. Why does teaching have little success unless the student wants to learn?5. What are the sources of motivation?6. Do the highest powers of man provide the key to understanding the lower levels of motivation?7. Why are distinctive human qualities of mind and spirit the clue to human motivation?8. How is it that imagination belongs to the active inner life of the person?9. How is imagination the power that renders experience vitally meaningful?10. Why is unimaginative aspects of experience routine, dull, and unexciting?11. Why are unimaginative aspects of experience essentially mean- ingless?12. How does imagination have remarkable power in fulfilling a person’s existence?13. Why is the fundamental goal of human existence the fulfillment of meaning?14. Why do most human beings aim at the higher things of life?15. Why do most human beings aim ultimately at realization of the highest meanings?16. Why do students learn best what they most profoundly want to know?17. Why is learning efficiency in direct relation to personal moti- vation?18. Why should materials of instruction be selected in the light of students’ real interests?19. Why should curriculum content be chosen that will maximize meanings?
  18. 18. 136 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION20. Why is the traditional academic curriculum deficient in meaning for the great majority of students?21. Why is the more “functional” curriculum deficient that was de- veloped by the principle that the greatest interest would be at- tached to studies contributing to the practical concerns of the learner?22. Why should studies be specifically directed toward the awaken- ing of the inner life of the learner through the nurture of imag- ination?23. In appealing to the imagination, why should curriculum materi- als be selected that draw from the extraordinary rather than the experience of everyday life?24. How are the hidden meanings of language disclosed by consider- ing extraordinary aspects of language?25. How can the field of mathematics be filled with wonder and ex- citement with strange symbols and endless possibilities for ex- periments in thought?26. How is science in reality a highly imaginative human enterprise, including a complete transformation of commonsense ways of thinking?27. How does the teacher who wants his students to understand sci- ence introduce them to the extraordinary perspectives on things which are afforded by scientific modes of thought?28. Why does the fascination (and value) of science consist in its transfigured vision of nature and man, transcending the super- ficial perception and unexamined judgments of everyday life?29. In appealing to the imagination, why should art be presented as an avenue to the exaltation of life through objectifying the mysterious depths of humankind’s creative life?30. How can the transforming power of art be imparted by bringing students into the presence of works that do not at once disclose their meaning?31. How can the transforming power of art be imparted to students by showing them how to perceive works sensitively and expec- tantly?32. In depth analysis of the human psyche, why is the world of self and others far different in reality from what appears to com- mon sight?33. Why are commonsense approaches to the improvement of human relationships and to self-understanding so unexciting and unin- structive?34. Why does effective teaching in the domain of personal knowl- edge require extraordinary insight into the profound depths of the human mind and a level of understanding far different from the judgments of practical life?35. Why does effective teaching in the area of personal knowledge require a level of understanding far different from the judg- ments of practical life?36. Why are the extraordinary considerations of the perceptive counselor more powerful in teaching than are commonsense ob- servations?37. Why is moral teaching plagued by unimaginative practicality and obviousness?38. Why is there acceptance of the theory that moral principles are simply rules for promoting social harmony?
  19. 19. THE APPEAL TO IMAGINATION 13739. How can authentic moral meanings be reestablished that bring about an attitude of unconditional obligation to do what is right?40. Why does the essential meaning of history consist in the abso- lutely unique and completely extraordinary quality of singular events?41. In trying to understand history, why is it important to engage in an imaginative recreation of the past?42. In trying to understand history, why should success be measured by one’s ability to transcend the preoccupations and presuppo- sitions of the practical event?43. In religion, why should imaginative religious teaching emphasize the profound mystery of the divine?44. Why are authentic religious meanings perhaps best learned by participation in the life of the worshipping community?45. How can authentic religious meanings be learned by meditation?46. How can authentic religious meanings be learned by reverent contemplation of sacred symbols?47. How can authentic religious meanings be learned by contempla- tion in which the finite and the infinite are wonderfully inter- fused?48. Why are everyday ideas not likely to contribute much to philo- sophic understanding?49. Why is the essence of philosophy deep questioning?50. Why is the function of philosophy to force thought?51. How does philosophy force thought beyond the obvious meanings that lie hidden beneath the surface of experience?52. Why should material for instruction be selected for its power of stimulating imagination?53. Why is it important to find materials that have the unusual power to appeal to the imagination of the learner?54. Why is the cultivation of the life of imagination the ultimate aim for general education?55. Why is success in solving the problems of life best achieved by those whose imaginations are kindled?56. Why is it that in the field of practice the best results are ob- tained by indirect rather than by direct attack?57. Why is power to act not a prize to be directly grasped, but a consequence of deep understanding?58. Why is it true that through concern of the life of imagination persons may be assured a meaningful existence, that will yield rich fruits in practical affairs?59. Why is imaginative teaching suitable for everyone?60. Why is it important for the teacher to have faith in the poten- tiality for real human fulfillment in every person?61. Why is it important for the teacher to recognize that the means by which imagination may be kindled differ according to the person, his level of maturity, and his cultural context?62. Why is it important for the teacher to exemplify imaginative quality of mind?63. How does the teacher transcend his own subjectivity and enter so sympathetically into the lives of his students so that he is able to create or select materials that will speak to the learner’s inner being?
  20. 20. 138 PART THREE: THE CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL EDUCATION64. Why is successful imaginative teaching helped by the teacher’s unconditional faith in the possibility of realizing meaning through awakened imagination in every student, no matter what appearances may indicate to the contrary?65. Why is it the essential nature of human beings to seek the ful- fillment of meaning?

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