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[Xmca-l] Re: Heathcote and Immagination


      Let me begin for thanking you for your recommendation of that collection of Heathcote’s writings on Education and Drama (O’Neill’s updated version). I am about 1/3 of the way through and at times am gripped by regret that I did not know of her take on teaching until after I left teacher education. There is much that she says that generalizes across teaching - and she seems very much aware of this - and much that she pragmatically undertakes which mirrors some thinking and actions of my own. I once suggested sans knowledge of Heathcote - I once taught was one of the few schools in the US with a Masters program in Educational Theatre - that we, the faculty, take advantage of possible expertise in ‘drama’ in our general teacher education program so as to craft some experiences for pre-service teachers. The Director of Educational Theatre was somewhat intrigued, the rest of my colleague were fairly dismissive (sort of like the experience Heathcote relates). 

      I think you continue to project your understandings of mathematics into our discussion. I don’t have a problem with this and I think, given the way mathematics is presented (including the way Lockart’s presents mathematics), this is quite reasonable. In a sense, I agree with Lockart about mathematics being about problems, but I would shift the emphasis to 'mathematics is the study of pattern’ and add that, in a sense, art is about problems and the study of patterns. You quote Vygotsky as saying, art is ‘social technique of emotion.’ I think if you watch young children in their play you will see them use mathematics in emotive socially sanctioned ways (your further quotes "just as people long ago learned to express their internal states through external expressions, so do the images of imagination serve as an internal expression of our feelings…  He goes on to say that emotion can influence imagination and imagination  influences emotion…” serves to further bolster my argument as mathematics, properly construed, is highly imaginative). Heathcote, herself, references drama that includes "A class of learning-impaired students, aged 12–14, focus on mathematics, weights, dimensions, critical timing using watches.” However, all this begins to get messy and I expect I need to address ‘social techniques of emotion’ within, at least, (1) the teaching of mathematics; (2) doing of mathematics; (3) using mathematics. 
      Teaching of mathematics. I would argue - and I am reasonably sure Heathcote would agree - that teaching (and it is important to note that she - although drawing on her experience in drama - often addresses teaching more broadly) can be quite artful in the sense that Vygotsky mentions. I have observed those she would probably term ‘excellent teachers’ and, one might say, they ‘dance' in the classroom. [This is a place Heathcote has been more than helpful for me, as I now grasp a bit better some of what she points at and that I had always ’seen’]  
       Doing of (and not doing of)  mathematics: I don’t like to think of some of what is going on as artful, but there is no denying what I often see might be categorized as a ‘social technique of emotion.’ There are, for example, socially accepted expressions of ‘inadequacy.' - "I was never any good at mathematics"; socially accepted expressions of ‘frustration’ - "this is stupid or “when are we ever going to use this?”’ On the other hand, mathematics doing can offer, among others, feelings of completeness, stability and tranquility (Edna St. Vincent MIlay has an interesting ‘argument' and there is the reflections of Dirac on the wave equation).
       Lastly there is using: Here we have work of Heathcote herself. However, things are more complicated as, in a sense (and especially if you are somewhat Kantian - smile), something like art is built, in may ways on the mathematical. I wonder how Vygotsky would feel, if I were to say (with some justification), art is emotive social expression of the mathematical (smile)?

       However, I agree (and I am fairly sure Heathcote would agree) every discipline has its strengths and the Arts certainly have "special qualities in terms of the social expression of
emotion that is not the same as for mathematics.” This, I think, is a given. However, I also think the line is difficult to draw and sometimes has been drawn unthinkingly to the detriment of both Art and mathematics. I close with a quote from Heathcote’s writings, "The very word ‘creativity’ frightens me; it is much overused like ‘expert’ and I suspect that it is biased towards the arts rather than the sciences. It seems that there is more evidence from the arts but I don’t think they own the field by any means.” [I apologize by the way about the absence of line numbers as I am reading on a Kindle - although, with some detective work, I may be able to figure it out). This together with your above quote from Vygotsky about imagination seems to imply that ‘social emotive techniques’ are not owned by the Arts by any means. However, more importantly what concerns me (and I think Heathcote would agree) is that when teachers do not capitalize on commonalities among disciplines (or ideas), children (or pre-service teachers) are invariably left confused, frustrated, and alienated.

      Oh, I note from my reading that Heathcote discusses something she terms ‘tension.’ I was wondering if you have given any thought on how this might ‘feed’ imagination?

Again thanks,


> On Mar 5, 2016, at  7:42 PM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au> wrote:. 
> Hi Ed,
> I have read the Mathematician’s Lament - thank you for that (I trust this
> is the right article
> https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf).  I can
> see how you can argue Mathematics might be an art form and how formal
> educational has tended to kill off most people’s ability to see it as such
> (and the music and painting analogies he draws are not so far fetched as
> you might think in some cases).
> I do like his point about children not being exposed to the ideas and
> history of mathematical thinking and why and how humans have grappled with
> such… 
> "They were never told the history of mankind’s relationship with numbers—
> no ancient
> Babylonian problem tablets, no Rhind Papyrus, no Liber Abaci, no Ars
> Magna. More importantly, no chance for them to even get curious
> about a question; it was answered before they could ask it.”
> "Mathematics is about problems, and problems must be made the focus of a
> students
> mathematical life. Painful and creatively frustrating as it may be,
> students and their teachers
> should at all times be engaged in the process— having ideas, not having
> ideas, discovering
> patterns, making conjectures, constructing examples and counterexamples,
> devising arguments,
> and critiquing each other’s work. Specific techniques and methods will
> arise naturally out of this
> process, as they did historically: not isolated from, but organically
> connected to, and as an
> outgrowth of, their problem-background”
> I’m still not sure that Mathetmatics has the same qualities as an art form
> in the way Vygotsky identified as a ‘social technique of emotion’.  For
> example when someone (including children) spontaneously or intentionally
> want to share and express certain emotions they may do so through certain
> art forms … For example a child who is feeling joyful doing a ‘happy’
> dance, or someone who is grieving or sad painting using black, browns and
> greys. I’m not sure I can see the same occurring using Mathematics as the
> expressive form… and others reading it as such?
> While people can read the art of others differently, in many cases similar
> emotions may be identified and ideas arouses in others in response.  One
> of the things Vygotsky talks of is a ‘dual expression of feeling’ whereby
> “every feeling has not only an exxternal, physical expression, but an
> internal expression associationed with the choice of thoughts, images, and
> impressions…. Just as people long ago learned to express their internal
> states through external expressions, so do the images of imagination serve
> as an internal expression of our feelings… ” (Vygotsky 2004, p. 18).  He
> goes on to say that emotion can influence imagination and imagination
> influences emotion…
> So I I would return again to this notion of expressive form… and whether
> some forms are more ready vehicles for the intentional expression of
> emotion and feelings than others, and perhaps that is where the arts might
> still have some special qualities in terms of the social expression of
> emotion that is not the same as for mathematics? I daresay you may argue
> otherwise!!
> I look forward to hearing your thoughts and of course those of others as
> well! 
> Kind regards
> Sue
> On 4/03/2016 3:21 am, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
>> Susan
>>    Yes, this is the sort of thing re Heathcote focus for which I was
>> hoping. I look forward to some reading (smile).
>>     Your characterization of mathematics is, unfortunately, one that
>> continues to reinforced by many; I run into it all the time if the form
>> of "I was never any good at mathematics." I really recommend you read a
>> Mathematician’s Lament - if for no other reason to see how such
>> characterizations perpetuate or for a laugh. A well known researcher at
>> Columbia in Early Childhood once did an assessment of what young children
>> did during free play and found that 30% (I think this is right) of the
>> time they engaged in something mathematical and this 30% was, by far, the
>> largest percentage spent in a single activity. So, I disagree, most young
>> children do use mathematics for their creative vehicle sharing their
>> ideas and emotions. On the other hand, I very much agree most older
>> children and adults do not use mathematica as a creative vehicle, but I
>> am far from convinced that the problem is mathematics itself.
>>    So while I do sympathize with your views (and I recognize that
>> mathematics teachers are largely to blame), I have plenty of evidence -
>> and, of course, some personal - from observing that your characterization
>> (while descriptive of much that is out there) is somewhat misleading and,
>> in fact, covers up the issues. I note purely in a jocular way (I don’t
>> mean to cast aspersions on either you or Ana as I respect you both), you,
>> perhaps, are acting as a ‘Spoilsport.’ Unfortunately, Eisner (who I
>> greatly respect) seems to know little about young children as, in fact,
>> the colors and lines are quite important. He is right in thinking that
>> parents and teachers (and perhaps, unfortunately, himself and others) do
>> not think them of importance. However, that is a very, very different
>> matter.
>>     Thanks for your definition of ‘feeding.’ This is quite helpful. I
>> note that I also used to teach pre-service education students; who
>> invariably said, one way or the other, "I don’t really like mathematics”;
>> which, by the way, I think can be translated as “I’m not creative, qua
>> mathematics.” I remember one young woman - in an early Childhood masters
>> cohort  - who had her BS from a place which emphasized the performing
>> arts. The first day of class she came up in tears saying she had been
>> told (by some of my quite un-thoughtful colleagues!) she would not need
>> to know or teach any mathematics (I was teaching a mathematics methods
>> course for Early Childhood pre-service masters students). I told her
>> otherwise, but said she and I would work on the difficulties (which
>> turned out to be large since from her early elementary days, her mother
>> screamed at her when she could not do her mathematics homework). I
>> usually gave ‘creative’ mathematics homework as a weekly
>> assignment (and I would characterize it now as ‘feeding’ the
>> imagination sufficiently)  and she, to her astonishment I suspect, both
>> liked it and did quite well (I hasten to add that she would, most likely,
>> never be comfortable with teaching mathematics beyond second grade
>> because of those elementary school experiences). I also told her to
>> listen to her students (those in the Early Childhood cohort most usually
>> were teaching in some capacity in pre-Kindergarten). Her children - I
>> would say of course (smile) - loved anything that was ‘creatively’
>> mathematical and she began to love creating mathematics with them. She
>> has been quite successful in her teaching career.
>>     My point in this overly long story is to parallel you in that I am
>> saying that we all actually are creatively mathematically and we can be
>> more - in our own way - if we wish, but you (and, at times, we together)
>> have to ‘feed’ your imagination. I respect the fact that people don’t
>> want to do so. However, as you say there are the others; the ‘beyonders'.
>> Magdalene Lampert once gave them a name “Students of Teaching.”
>> Ed
>>> On Mar 2, 2016, at  2:26 PM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au> wrote:
>>> Hi Ed,
>>> I thought you were after the more traditional theoretical writings from
>>> Heathcote.  She used many many theoretical concepts in her work and she
>>> did actually talk about imagination quite specfically in some of
>>> the tapes I analysed, mainly when talking about the preparation she did
>>> before teaching and the use of a projective imagination.  This was about
>>> envisaging the different ways things might play out and considering
>>> alternatives. She also talked about how she was a highly visual thinker
>>> and that options played out in her mind as if it were a movie.  At other
>>> times she talks about the creative
>>> process and she also talks about imagination even if not explicitly. I’d
>>> have to go back to my transcripts for some examples.
>>> I am well aware of arguments that other areas beyond the arts are
>>> concerned with imagination and feelings/emotions etc (and yes my
>>> defining
>>> of the arts extends well beyond Art to the many different ways people
>>> use
>>> materials, movement, sound, action and even their own lives
>>> expressively).
>>> However I’d still come back to intention,
>>> primary purpose and form, the primary purpose of Maths is not to express
>>> feelings and emotions, however in much arts practice it is. I’d also
>>> consider the accessibility of an area like Math
>>> for expressive potential for school aged children.  There are not many
>>> children who could/would be able to use math forms as their creative
>>> vehicle for sharing their ideas and emotions socially.  It is also about
>>> the qualities of such that are available for them to be able to
>>> manipulate
>>> in combination. Elliot Eisner talked in a keynote address in 2011 about
>>> how when a child writes a Math formula the content of such is important
>>> but the qualities and how they are used (e.g. Red pen or blue pen, lined
>>> paper or plain) are less so, however in the arts the quality of
>>> qualities
>>> remains very important. They encourage the cultivation of judgment,
>>> thinking and feeling.
>>> In terms of my use of the term ‘feeding’ the imagination and creativity
>>> perhaps if I explain how I first came to use that term. When I work with
>>> pre-service education students in the arts, many of them begin the
>>> course
>>> by saying ‘I’m not creative’.  What I say to them is that we are all
>>> creative, and you make creative decisions in your life every day,
>>> however
>>> you can be more creative (in the arts) if you want to be but you have to
>>> ‘feed’ your creativity. i.e. In their case choose an arts area you want
>>> to
>>> explore and be more creative in, practice it, look at lots of examples
>>> of
>>> other art work, identify what you like, would like to have a go at.  We
>>> also provide them with different materials they can use, different
>>> examples and techniques they can try out... So as Vygotsky put it adding
>>> to the richness and variety of their experience.  If people don’t want
>>> to
>>> engage in that (and some do nothing beyond what we do in class) so be
>>> it,
>>> but the ones who do go beyond that, and start observing, practising and
>>> deliberately ‘feeding’ their own creativity and imagination inevitably
>>> create more interesting and imaginative work in the long run and also
>>> feel
>>> a great sense of satisfaction and pride.
>>> So I know this is not totally focussed on imagination… but more like
>>> imagination, art, creativity and the possibilities of working with
>>> expressive forms.
>>> Cheers
>>> Sue
>>> On 3/03/2016 2:45 am, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
>>>> Hi Susan
>>>>   I assume you noticed how I tried to be slightly ambiguous in my use
>>>> of the word ‘theoretical’ so what you say is disappointing as I know
>>>> many
>>>> ‘good’ teachers who use imagination without really focusing on
>>>> imagination as something in itself (it is something that is, for
>>>> example,
>>>> one ‘feeds,' but qua ‘feed’ what does that entail). That doesn’t
>>>> detract
>>>> from what they do, but makes it difficult to ‘talk’ (in the present and
>>>> in the past) with them about their teaching. However, that doesn’t
>>>> mean I
>>>> cannot learn much from Heatcote (and you) and I thank you for making
>>>> the
>>>> book available.
>>>>  I cannot resist noting that the term ‘art’ is used in wider contexts
>>>> than the usual although those that use art with a capital A usually
>>>> resist (I remember a conversation where Maxine Greene basically said
>>>> she
>>>> wasn’t going to consider mathematics - smile). There is a interesting
>>>> book by Corrandi Fiumara that argues, in a sense, that all disciplines
>>>> are concerned with "emotions, ideas, and qualities of such" and I have
>>>> always taken Alastair MacIntyre as making similar arguments in his
>>>> discussion of practice. That is not to say that Art doesn’t have a
>>>> particular role, but its ‘social’ characterization may be a little more
>>>> complicated than it seems (there is an amusing - sort of - commentary
>>>> on
>>>> this on the web titled the Mathematician’s Lament). Thus I would hope
>>>> that all, including Artists, would engage in the less socially standard
>>>> arts. I always found it interesting that my colleagues who worked in
>>>> the
>>>> Arts were always intrigued by my interest in how they co
>>>> -created instances that enabled "people to explore, externalise and
>>>> share such through various crystallised means", but - except in one
>>>> remembered instance - were a bit put-off at the idea I was engaged in
>>>> similar work and it might usefully behove them to take an interest
>>>> (smile).
>>>> Again, thank you for the conversation and thank you for the book.
>>>> Ed
>>>>> On Mar 1, 2016, at  4:54 PM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au> wrote:
>>>>> Hi Ed 
>>>>> In response to some of your questions and reflections.
>>>>> As far as I know Heathcote did not theorise imagination extensively
>>>>> and
>>>>> certainly not in any published form.  She tended to write extensively,
>>>>> but
>>>>> not necessarily theoretically and often it has been colleagues and
>>>>> students of hers who have interpreted her work in various ways against
>>>>> theory.
>>>>> In terms of the role of art and imagination. Like Vygotsky I believe
>>>>> the
>>>>> arts do play a particular role, largely because the arts are primarily
>>>>> concerned with the emotions, ideas and qualities of such. Through
>>>>> various
>>>>> artistic forms, they also enable people to explore, externalise and
>>>>> share
>>>>> such through various crystallised means crystallise. And this is not
>>>>> confined to ‘artists’ everyone can engage in such activities and
>>>>> perhaps
>>>>> should do!
>>>>> Vygotsky said:
>>>>> Art is the social technique of emotion, a tool of society which brings
>>>>> the most intimate and personal aspects of our being into the circle of
>>>>> social
>>>>> life. (Vygotsky, 1971, p. 249)
>>>>> I would agree that in many collective drama processes the exercising
>>>>> of
>>>>> imagination is both conceptual and sensory and embodied and social …
>>>>> and
>>>>> that it is a constantly recurring imaginative/embodied experience.
>>>>> Imaginative ideas feed into the doing and the doing informs the
>>>>> developing
>>>>> imaginative ideas. I’m sure there’s probably theoretical work out
>>>>> there
>>>>> about that, as there is a lot of interest in ‘embodied’ learning
>>>>> emerging
>>>>> from dance and drama circles in recent times, though I can’t provide
>>>>> references off the top of my head.
>>>>> And in terms of Goffman, actually Heathcote drew upon Goffman’s work
>>>>> on
>>>>> framing to inform the different ways you might structure a dramatic
>>>>> encounter and as her colleague (and scholar) Gavin Bolton says what
>>>>> different framing can provide is the means to both protect ‘from’ but
>>>>> also
>>>>> ‘into’ emotional experiences (Bolton 1986). The framing would also
>>>>> enable
>>>>> certain imaginative possibilities and these would shift depending on
>>>>> the
>>>>> framing. The framing therefore provides some parameters and ‘tools’ as
>>>>> it
>>>>> were for the imaginative activity.  So for example if someone was
>>>>> framed
>>>>> in role as a reporter in a dramatic event, how they respond to the
>>>>> situation and what they create will be different to if they are framed
>>>>> as
>>>>> the protagonist of the event, or a casual observer.  So I guess this
>>>>> is
>>>>> an
>>>>> example also of what I was saying about ‘feeding’ the imagination.
>>>>> That
>>>>> might also be done through bringing in different texts or objects that
>>>>> can
>>>>> act as what Cecily O’Neill called ‘pre-texts’ as the launching off
>>>>> materials for a drama.
>>>>> Cheers
>>>>> Sue
>>>>> On 2/03/2016 3:16 am, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
>>>>>> Hi Susan
>>>>>>  Thank you for the reply.
>>>>>>   Since I know little about Heathcote (although a fair amount about
>>>>>> ‘good’ teachers) I can only say that I agree with many of your quotes
>>>>>> and
>>>>>> I find Vygotsky as one in a long line of thinkers who sees
>>>>>> imagination
>>>>>> as
>>>>>> integral making meaning (I have hedged here a bit as I want to
>>>>>> include
>>>>>> other thinkers in conversations about imagination). I note, by the
>>>>>> way,
>>>>>> you did not include my favorite quote (Imagination and Creativity in
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> Adolescent, p163) on this matter from Vygotsky as it, for me,
>>>>>> embodies
>>>>>> a
>>>>>> lot about how I have been thinking about imagination: “From our point
>>>>>> of
>>>>>> view the imagination is a transforming, creative activity directed
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> the concrete towards a new concrete” - although this is certainly
>>>>>> captured in the quotes you give.
>>>>>>    In any case, what I found of most interest is what follows those
>>>>>> quotes of Vygotsky and what I assume is, in part, an
>>>>>> assessment/description of Heathcote’s stance. However, Heathcote
>>>>>> viewed
>>>>>> Vygotsky (or whoever else she drew from) she seems to have been a
>>>>>> ‘good’
>>>>>> teacher (I am talking about a comparative quality, but that would
>>>>>> take
>>>>>> me
>>>>>> to far afield here) and ‘good’ teachers translate what might be
>>>>>> called
>>>>>> pristine theory into what might be called messy practice. In some
>>>>>> writing
>>>>>> I’m doing I been looking for some careful description of a teacher’s
>>>>>> doings who, perhaps, one might say has spent some time attempting to
>>>>>> “feed” imagination (this is your word so I’m not entirely sure what
>>>>>> is
>>>>>> meant) and seems to recognize that certain imaginations can and
>>>>>> should
>>>>>> be
>>>>>> ‘stabilized’ or one might say ‘verified.’ There seems, in interesting
>>>>>> cases that I am thinking about, to be sort of a hybrid
>>>>>> sensory-imagination (teacher, peers, materials, etc) transforming
>>>>>> though imagination (perhaps individual) to sort of a hybrid
>>>>>> reasoning-imagination (teacher, peers, materials, etc). From my
>>>>>> perspective I see, in your description of Heathcote, her doing
>>>>>> something
>>>>>> like this and your indication that students are allowed to sit out
>>>>>> is,
>>>>>> it
>>>>>> seems, a sort of confirmation. It is not that I don’t know other
>>>>>> teachers
>>>>>> who act like Heathcote (every discipline contains such and there is
>>>>>> nothing unique about ‘art' per se from a certain perspective on
>>>>>> teaching
>>>>>> - I am fine with loud disagreements here :)) - I have been very lucky
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> that regard (and Maxine Greene was one) - but most don’t ‘theorize’
>>>>>> imagination in some fashion (I mean make it a !particular! teaching
>>>>>> focus) and I am hoping your writings in Heathcote's regard might give
>>>>>> me
>>>>>> a better perspective on what is possible more generally.
>>>>>>     Oh, being writeable seems, to me, to be an integral part of the
>>>>>> verification process. Also I note that in all disciplines I know
>>>>>> about
>>>>>> you can play it multiple times and in different ways. However, I
>>>>>> admit
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> being influenced by Goffman in this regard.
>>>>>> Thanks
>>>>>> Ed
>>>>>>> On Feb 29, 2016, at  2:39 PM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Hi Ed
>>>>>>> Both Vygotsky and Heathcote both understood that the work of the
>>>>>>> imagination is not only an individual mental exercise but in
>>>>>>> inspired
>>>>>>> by
>>>>>>> and is expressed through interactions with others, conceptual tools
>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>> ultimately material means and artefacts.
>>>>>>> I think Vygotksy described the different ways imagination worked
>>>>>>> very
>>>>>>> well
>>>>>>> indeed and I have summarised that in the book. Some key quotes from
>>>>>>> him
>>>>>>> include: 
>>>>>>> Everything the imagination creates is always based on elements taken
>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>> reality, from a person’s previous
>>>>>>> experience. The most fantastic creations are nothing other than a
>>>>>>> new
>>>>>>> combination of elements that have ultimately been extracted from
>>>>>>> reality.
>>>>>>> (p. 13)
>>>>>>> The first law of creativity: The
>>>>>>> act of imagination depends directly on the richness and variety of a
>>>>>>> person’s
>>>>>>> previous experience because this experience provides the material
>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>> which
>>>>>>> the products of creativity are constructed. The richer a person’s
>>>>>>> experience,
>>>>>>> the richer is the material his imagination has access to. Great
>>>>>>> works
>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>> discoveries are always the result of an enormous amount of
>>>>>>> previously
>>>>>>> accumulated experience. The implication of this for education is
>>>>>>> that,
>>>>>>> if
>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>> want to build a relatively strong foundation for a child’s
>>>>>>> creativity,
>>>>>>> what we
>>>>>>> must do is broaden the experiences we provide him with.(pp. 14-15)
>>>>>>> The right kind of education
>>>>>>> involves awakening in the child what already exists within him,
>>>>>>> helping
>>>>>>> him to
>>>>>>> develop it and directing this development in a particular direction.
>>>>>>> (p.
>>>>>>> 51)
>>>>>>> –Vygotsky,
>>>>>>> L. (2004) “Imagination and creativity in childhood.” Journal of
>>>>>>> Russian
>>>>>>> and Was tEuropean PsychologyVol. 42 No. 1.
>>>>>>> This work recognises therefore that to inspire imagination means
>>>>>>> ‘feeding’
>>>>>>> the imagination and it is therefore the teacher’s responsibility to
>>>>>>> work
>>>>>>> with children and bring in various tools, processes and provocations
>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>> will draw them into creative processes.
>>>>>>> In terms of working in drama I think the notion of the social
>>>>>>> imagination
>>>>>>> comes into play (though that is a term more closely associated with
>>>>>>> Maxine
>>>>>>> Green) and collectively a group creates something together -
>>>>>>> something
>>>>>>> that did not exist previously and which would not exist in the same
>>>>>>> form
>>>>>>> if created individually.  In that sense it is helpful to draw on the
>>>>>>> language of improvised drama to understand the process -  someone
>>>>>>> generally makes an ‘offer’ to begin the imaginative exploration,
>>>>>>> practically speaking in embodied action it can be a physical or
>>>>>>> verbal
>>>>>>> offer.  Multiple offers can at times be made but one has to be
>>>>>>> accepted,
>>>>>>> and then extended upon. This process keeps going and as those who
>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>> studied improvised drama knows, the key is then to draw the threads
>>>>>>> together and find an appropriate conclusion.  Now what this means in
>>>>>>> practice is a fluid interplay of power shifts as people forfeit
>>>>>>> their
>>>>>>> right to have their every idea accepted (which is unworkable),
>>>>>>> trusting
>>>>>>> that if they go with the one that is on the table or seems to ‘grab’
>>>>>>> people,  they will be able to contribute and that the outcome will
>>>>>>> be
>>>>>>> something that they are a part of and will be worthwhile. That is
>>>>>>> social
>>>>>>> imagination in action. Decisions are often made in the moment - not
>>>>>>> after
>>>>>>> exhaustive dialogue - although reflection on what has gone on and
>>>>>>> been
>>>>>>> created often occurs afterwards. This is especially the case if you
>>>>>>> were
>>>>>>> to be devising a new work. The whole process has to be underpinned
>>>>>>> by
>>>>>>> a
>>>>>>> sense of trust and a belief that as a group the give and take of the
>>>>>>> process will generate something that has been worth the effort. It
>>>>>>> doesn’t
>>>>>>> always, but that is often part of the educational process with
>>>>>>> children
>>>>>>> and participants - 'what do you feel worked, what didn’t, what
>>>>>>> offers
>>>>>>> ended up proving fruitful, were there ‘blocks’ that we couldn’t work
>>>>>>> around?  If we did it again what would you change?’ and so on. (see
>>>>>>> some
>>>>>>> of Keith Sawyer’s work on improvisation for more insights on how
>>>>>>> these
>>>>>>> processes work and why he believes improvised theatre is perhaps the
>>>>>>> highest form of creativity)
>>>>>>> It is writerly in Barthes sense in that while a ‘text' has often
>>>>>>> been
>>>>>>> initiated, it is deliberately left unfinished and the participants
>>>>>>> must
>>>>>>> make imaginative leaps, connections and new solutions to be able to
>>>>>>> complete the text or dramatic encounter. What is also interesting
>>>>>>> in a
>>>>>>> drama process is that you can play it multiple times, from different
>>>>>>> perspectives and something different can be revealed each time.  In
>>>>>>> Boal’s
>>>>>>> work with forum theatre people from an audience and the
>>>>>>> disenfranchised
>>>>>>> are also invited to step up and take on a role within a version (as
>>>>>>> spectactors), therefore finding ways to shift power dynamics and to
>>>>>>> explore alternative solutions.
>>>>>>> I hope this is of interest.
>>>>>>> Cheers
>>>>>>> Sue
>>>>>>> On 1/03/2016 4:58 am, "Ed Wall" <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Susan
>>>>>>>> Coming a little late to this conversation and thinking about your
>>>>>>>> comments last July on Vygotsky and imagination, I was wondering if
>>>>>>>> any
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> that played a large role in your book. In particular and if so, how
>>>>>>>> did
>>>>>>>> Heathcote, one might say, pragmatically theorize imagination? It
>>>>>>>> seems,
>>>>>>>> given, what you have written in the present thread that she seems
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>> created moments through a stance that "respected and worked with
>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>> material they offered, drawing out significance, considering the
>>>>>>>> implications and working dialogically with very alternative views
>>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>>> her own.” This, in some of the literature, is indicative of an
>>>>>>>> imaginative ‘leap’ that is stabilized in the ‘waking state.’ In a
>>>>>>>> sense,
>>>>>>>> the moment becomes, in somewhat the sense of Barthes, ‘writeable.'
>>>>>>>> Ed Wall
>>>>>>>>> On Feb 24, 2016, at  5:32 AM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Thanks Robert,
>>>>>>>>> It’s great to have the book published as part of your series.  The
>>>>>>>>> book
>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>>> called “Learning that matters: Revitalising Heathcote’s Rolling
>>>>>>>>> Role
>>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>>> the digital age”.
>>>>>>>>> https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/imagination-and
>>>>>>>>> -p
>>>>>>>>> ra
>>>>>>>>> xi
>>>>>>>>> s/
>>>>>>>>> learning-that-matters/
>>>>>>>>> For those who haven’t heard of Heathcote before, she was a
>>>>>>>>> ‘master’
>>>>>>>>> teacher who achieved international recognition for her teaching
>>>>>>>>> practice
>>>>>>>>> in the 70s and 80s - in particular for pioneering processes such
>>>>>>>>> as
>>>>>>>>> Mantle
>>>>>>>>> of the Expert - which use role and fictional contexts to position
>>>>>>>>> children
>>>>>>>>> as ‘experts’ and active agents in investigative processes. She
>>>>>>>>> also
>>>>>>>>> invented this system called ‘Rolling Role’ which is a form of
>>>>>>>>> trans-disciplinary learning - where multiple classes work with the
>>>>>>>>> same
>>>>>>>>> common context, but from their particular frame or subject
>>>>>>>>> perspective.
>>>>>>>>> The beauty of it is that no one group ‘owns’ the outcome, but
>>>>>>>>> groups
>>>>>>>>> regularly ‘publish’ and share artefacts and outcomes throughout
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> process, with each group having to use and ‘roll’ the work of what
>>>>>>>>> has
>>>>>>>>> gone before.  It was a system she believed was perfectly suited
>>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>>> revisiting in the digital age… so that is what the book hopes to
>>>>>>>>> assist
>>>>>>>>> with… the Vygotskian and CHAT work was very helpful in
>>>>>>>>> conceptualising
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> understanding this work.
>>>>>>>>> At times reading the work of Vygotsky and Heathcote it felt like
>>>>>>>>> they
>>>>>>>>> could have been writing about education today!
>>>>>>>>> Educational experience, no less than theoretical research,
>>>>>>>>> teaches us that, in practice, a straightforward learning of
>>>>>>>>> concepts
>>>>>>>>> always
>>>>>>>>> proves impossible and educationally fruitless. Usually, any
>>>>>>>>> teacher
>>>>>>>>> setting out
>>>>>>>>> on this road achieves nothing except a meaningless acquisition of
>>>>>>>>> words,
>>>>>>>>> mere
>>>>>>>>> verbalization in children, which is nothing more than simulation
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> imitation
>>>>>>>>> of corresponding concepts which, in reality, are concealing a
>>>>>>>>> vacuum.
>>>>>>>>> In
>>>>>>>>> such cases, the child assimilates not
>>>>>>>>> concepts but words, and he fills his memory more than his
>>>>>>>>> thinking.
>>>>>>>>> As a
>>>>>>>>> result, he ends up helpless in the face of any sensible attempt to
>>>>>>>>> apply
>>>>>>>>> any of
>>>>>>>>> this acquired knowledge. Essentially, this method of
>>>>>>>>> teaching/learning
>>>>>>>>> concepts, a purely scholastic and verbal method of teaching, which
>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>>> condemned
>>>>>>>>> by everybody and which advocates the replacement of acquisition of
>>>>>>>>> living
>>>>>>>>> knowledge by the assimilation of dead and empty verbal schemes,
>>>>>>>>> represents
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>> most basic failing in the field of education. (Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>> 1934/1994a,
>>>>>>>>> pp.
>>>>>>>>> 356-7)
>>>>>>>>> So – getting rid of the dummy run. On the face of it you
>>>>>>>>> have a rather interesting paradox in drama, because it looks like
>>>>>>>>> drama
>>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>>> entirely artificial and that the whole thing would be a dummy run
>>>>>>>>> –
>>>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>>>> are
>>>>>>>>> only
>>>>>>>>> pretending actually.  And we use words
>>>>>>>>> like pretend and play and in our culture it does suggest that it’s
>>>>>>>>> ephemeral
>>>>>>>>> and there’s no real work/life purpose for it…. So it seems to me
>>>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>>>> need to
>>>>>>>>> look and see what it is that makes something NOT feel like a dummy
>>>>>>>>> run…
>>>>>>>>> It seemed to me that one of the important aspects of not
>>>>>>>>> being a dummy run is that it matters now, we feel like its urgent
>>>>>>>>> now.
>>>>>>>>> (Heathcote 1993, Tape 9)
>>>>>>>>> Cheers
>>>>>>>>> Sue
>>>>>>>>> Dr Susan Davis
>>>>>>>>> Senior Lecturer | School of Education & the Arts | Higher
>>>>>>>>> Education
>>>>>>>>> Division 
>>>>>>>>> CQUniversity Australia, Noosa Campus |
>>>>>>>>> PO Box 1128, Qld 4566
>>>>>>>>> P +61 (0)7 5440 7007 | X 547007 | M +61 400 000 000| E
>>>>>>>>> s.davis@cqu.edu.au
>>>>>>>>> On 24/02/2016 12:14 am, "Robert Lake"
>>>>>>>>> <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> ​Susan Davis has published a book that weaves LSV, Dorothy
>>>>>>>>>> Heathcote
>>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>>> CHAT
>>>>>>>>>> into one seamless, present tense unfolding of "rolling role". If
>>>>>>>>>> anyone
>>>>>>>>>> would like to write a review of it I can get you a copy. It has
>>>>>>>>>> been
>>>>>>>>>> five
>>>>>>>>>> years since Heathcote's passing and I suspect her work will
>>>>>>>>>> become
>>>>>>>>>> more
>>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>>> more  important in this era of standardized everything.
>>>>>>>>>> *Robert Lake*
>>>>>>>>>> https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2709-learning-that-matters.p
>>>>>>>>>> df
>>>>>>>>>> For a sense of the dynamic of  Dorothy's pedagogy, scroll to
>>>>>>>>>> about
>>>>>>>>>> 5
>>>>>>>>>> minutes into this.
>>>>>>>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owKiUO99qrw
>>>>>>>>> <default.xml>