Term of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

William Reynolds

Committee Member 2

Michael Moore

Committee Member 3

Clyde Coreil

Committee Member 3 Email



This dissertation is a theoretical inquiry into ways of seeing, knowing, and learning that are frequently excluded in this present climate of standardized practices in the field of education. In this study, I explore 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 is accomplished by tracing the historical and contemporary evolution of the concepts of imagination and metaphor and, in specific terms, how they make possible the creation of personal meaning and agency. An imaginary dialogue based on actual quotations from Maxine Greene and Paulo Freire serves as the theoretical framework for the inquiry, with the researchers commentary interspersed at various points in the conversation. The study also explores the connection between eugenics and the origin of standardized testing and the practice of tracking in the United States during the twentieth century. By reflecting on my own experience as a student, teacher, and researcher, I look for ways to describe the roles of imagination in naming, being, and transforming private and public worlds. 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. I also focus on the significance of sensing gaps and perceiving the unanswered, the unfinished, and the unjust in ways that passionately move us beyond the taken-for-granted and the status quo in the present system of official knowledge and contrived practices of classroom accountability.

Research Data and Supplementary Material