Sense and Sensibility: Educating the Somantic Imagination

Mark Fettes


Both experience and imagination are restricted in modern schooling, arguably because their unpredictability threatens to undermine the dominant assembly-line metaphor of curriculum. Kieran Egan's account of imaginative development assigns a foundational role to embodied understanding, but leaves its educational cultivation largely unexplored. Nonetheless, Egan's narrative metaphor of curriculum can be extended to highlight educationally important features of experience. This idea leads to a curriculum model for cultivating the imaginative meaning of sensory encounters with the world, involving the phases of Orientation, Complication, Transformation and Integration. Consideration of the role of language, along with other tools, in mediating learning within this framework lead to a revised account of imaginative development that places greater weight on the importance and variety of experience. It is suggested that this theoretical approach could enhance conversations between different traditions of experiential education.

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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