A Curriculum of Imagination in an Era of Standardization

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In this inquiry, the researcher explored how imagination permeates every aspect of life experience and helps develop personal and political awareness in students to look beyond what they take for granted, to question the normal, and to develop various ways of knowing, seeing, feeling, and acting upon positive social and educational change in an era of accountability. This study is an inquiry into ways of seeing, knowing, and learning that are frequently excluded in the present climate of standardized practices in the field of education. The researcher traces the evolution of the concept of imagination and seeks connections to contemporary curriculum theory through both creative and critical praxis. He describes the roles of imagination in naming, being, and transforming private and public worlds through an exploration of historical and contemporary definitions of imagination and metaphor and how they enable the creation of personal meaning and agency. Applications and connections to practice are described in a variety of settings ranging from the use of multiple forms of literacy in content area studies to the use of literature and media to enhance understanding of the "other." A fictional dialogue between Maxine Greene and Paulo Freire serves as the theoretical framework for the inquiry with the researcher's commentary interspersed at various points in the conversation. The study also explores the history of trends in standardized testing and curriculum in the United States during the Twentieth century, the role of metaphor and the imagination in opening spaces for personal discovery and construction of meaning and the creation of personal agency, and the significance of perceiving the unanswered, unfinished and the unjust, that moves us beyond the taken for granted and the status quo in the present system of "official knowledge" and contrived practices of classroom accountability.


American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (AERA)


Chicago, IL