Characteristics of Students̕ Imaginative Lives, Ages 8-15
How can we go about this? This is not an area in which we can turn to empirical research for much help. Empirical research can usefully come into play once the phenomena to be dealt with are clearly conceptualized — but this has so far been lacking for imagination. What I will do here, then, is try to describe some fairly general characteristics of students' imaginations. That is, if imagination is being able to think of things as possibly being so, what are some of the prominent features of the possible worlds students in this age-range construct? This chapter will be exploratory, using the concept of imagination developed above and attempting to establish some generalizations that can then be used in the following chapters to design teaching techniques. The approach here has to be exploratory because this kind of characterization of imagination is not common in education: there is very little research to draw on, much of the literature uses diffuse and varied concepts of imagination, and the abundant studies of students' games, reading, social activities, and so on, rarely move towards generalizations about students' imaginations such as I am seeking here.