February 2019: Question For Discussion
Maxine Greene in her book Releasing the Imagination (Jossey-Bass, 1995) says that “the main point of education (in the context of a lived life) is to enable a human being to become increasingly mindful with regard to his or her lived situation – and its untapped possibilities” (p.182). For this purpose, she says that we need to release the imagination in the person, particularly “poetic” use of imagination and “social” imagination (pp.4-5). The “poetic” imagination means, according to her, “to bring into being the “as if” worlds” created by artists and to “be in some manner a participant in artists’ worlds reaching far back and ahead of time” (p.4). In short, informed encounters with the works of art enables a person “a startling defamiliarization of the ordinary” (p.4). This is closely connected with the “social” imagination, which means “the capacity to invent visions of what should be and what it might be in our deficient society, on the streets where we live, in our schools” (p.5). Referring to Jean-Paul Sartre, she says, “we acknowledge the harshness of situations only when we have in mind another state of affairs in which things would be better” (p.5).
How does Maxine Greene’s work contribute to your understanding of imagination?
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