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A Philosophy of Education Reflective Journal.

A Philosophy of Education Reflective Journal.

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Lydia Ahern. Originally submitted for Philosophy of Education at Mary Immaculate College of Limerick, with lecturer Dr. Aislinn O' Donnell. in the category of Teacher Education
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Lydia Ahern. Originally submitted for Philosophy of Education at Mary Immaculate College of Limerick, with lecturer Dr. Aislinn O' Donnell. in the category of Teacher Education

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
 A Philosophy of Education Reflective Journal
 
“Imagination is as important in the lives of teachers as it is in the lives of their
students, in part because teachers incapable of thinking imaginatively or of releasing students to encounter works of literature and other forms of art areprobably also unable to communicate to the young what the use of imagination
signifies. If it is the case that imagination feeds one’s capacity to feel one’s wayinto another’s vantage point, these teachers may be lacking in empathy”
 Maxine Greene
Maxine Greene is a philosopher concerned with education, and is a philosopher whofelt obliged to want to bring about change in education because she, like many others,
were, as she put in her own words “
[
] provoked to engage in philosophical questsbecause they were so outraged by the thought of confinement, by the tamping downof energies[
]
1
. It is like the situation today with patronage; only those provoked bythe situation want to bring about change. Greene felt the need to wake people(including teachers) up, open their eyes and help them in realising how they were
“…submerged in their own take
n-for-granted conventional life
2
.Use of imagination involves a person, in their mind, creating composedscenarios. This can be done for various reasons, such as for pleasure; to imagine a
„better‟ life or daydream, or to imagine outcomes. This can be used creatively in
teaching through putting learning into an imagined context, where pupils areforeseeing and exploring problems and situations. This in turn helps to engage withlearning, being involved in it and being allowed lead in it, using imagination. Manyteachers will put creating an imagined context for the children to partake in as anobjective for them to achieve with their pupils, but little do they realise not only thebenefits, but the need, for them to also achieve it themselves.Schooling for Greene revolves around superficial learning, and pupils rotelearn, learning for the sake of learning; they lack understanding as to why they arelearning what they are. She feels that
“…the dominant mood in many
classr
ooms…
isone of passive reception
3
. The same can be said about teaching. Many teachers areteaching the day-to-day, fulfilling curriculum requirements and getting material
1
Maxine Greene,
 Releasing the Imagination
, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995, p. 63.
2
 
 Ibid 
, p. 61.
 
3
 
 Ibid 
, p. 124.
 
covered. By placing teaching and learning into this imagined context there is createdliberation of speaking
in one‟s
own voice, a value of multiplying perspectives, pupils,and teachers not presuming all have the same life view. This incurs an enrichment of experience, which can especially strike the teacher, it gives teaching and learningmore depth and allows for reflection and reworking of impressions
 – 
something thatshould be continuously engaged in by teachers who want to teach through their trueselves, with highly tuned self-awareness and a lifelong development of their insights.To truly value works of literature, you have to firstly realise the use of imagination by writers and why they typically use it. Moments in literature and artcan unveil and
disclose the reality of other people‟
s lives. Everyone links the need forliteracy to children, but Greene outlines that it is also needed for teachers. She feels ithelps teachers develop a conscious concern
“[…] for 
the particular, the everyday, theconcrete. (Introducing works of literature and art into teacher education can helpteachers develop this conscious concern. Literature deals with particularities, seducespersons to see and to feel, to imagine, to lend their
lives to another‟s perspective)”
4
.Greene says that for teachers to develop their imagination, and in turn empathy. Iexperience this in study crime and justice through 18
th
and 19
th
century writers inFrench. Having the situations of torture and the death penalty appall me helped me toempathise and realize why people are spurred to want to bring about change insociety. Greene feels that teachers too need to engage intentionally in arts, as if 
teachers do not have an understanding of “[…] what aesthetic perceptions and
aesthetic objects signify, we are likely to deprive our students of possibilities. We
may leave them buried in cotton wool […]”
5
Children are ego-centric by nature and itis our role as teachers to bring the children out of themselves and into the widercommunity and world context. We want to evoke empathy in the children. This meansproviding scenarios that force the children into responding to injustice and to feelingsof powerlessness as well as the dead-hand of habit that keeps us fixed. It means seeingour own lives beyond centeredness on ourselves and our private spaces in order toconstruct and renew a common world. Practically speaking; children need to developa relationship with school and the wider community, broadening this into imagininglife in other parts of world. Society in Ireland is becoming more and more multi- 
4
Maxine Greene,
 Releasing the Imagination
, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995, p. 69.
5
Maxine Greene,
 Landscapes of Learning,
New York: Teachers College Press, 1978, p. 186.

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