“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
What to make of this famous quote, one of many no doubt, by Big Al?
For me this seems to tilt in the direction of creative thought and discovery/exploration over “content delivery systems” (as I like to call the system of traditional education). Einstein is not against knowledge, of course. He’s simply saying that NEW knowledge comes from imagination – as has all human achievement and advancement. Knowledge is the bricks, but a pile of bricks on its own is just that. Add imagination and we can build something with these bricks.
What are most schools doing? NOT developing imagination. NOT allowing for creative thought. When we place students in rooms and talk at them, we’re not getting to where we need to go. We’re not allowing thought to truly develop, unhinge. And you don’t solve this by telling students to use their imaginations at 10:15 AM because that’s “creative time”, art class, whatever. Imaginative exploration needs to be the culture of a class, of a school. We need to allow students to ask their own questions – to find the right/good questions. Not give them an assignment and have them turn it in. Asking a bunch of twelve year olds to come up with a solution to the problem YOU offer is half-baked and not in the spirit of imaginative exploration or thought. Let the student solve the problems that they discover and select. It needs to be there all the time – this is when it becomes the culture of a school.
Let’s make room for imagination and stop feeding so much knowledge.