Play-based Pedagogies: Supporting Imaginative Engagement in HS

Play-based Pedagogies: Supporting Imaginative Engagement in HS

“When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it himself.” Jean Piaget

What happens if we see ourselves as curators of experience rather than teachers of concepts and content? How does curating experience allow us to model the joy and curiosity that first brought us to our content areas? Using Rita Felski’s work on “Curation, Conveying, Criticizing and Composing,” as a provocation, we will explore the benefits of play-based pedagogy and imaginative experiences within a framework of academic skill and intellectual rigor. Authentic voice and creative disruption are valued by today’s changemakers. When we recognize the ways creative engagement improves student confidence, supports memory and encourages critical thinking, we are able to justify and plan for moments of discovery, when transformation of ideas allows for the tension that creates lasting, productive learning.  This session will take the work of play seriously, and it will provide room for conversation about the value of allowing learners on the brink of adulthood to hold onto the childlike curiosity that can set them apart as critical thinkers, writers and innovators of idea.  

Session Audience:

High School 

Session Goals:

In this session we will explore how we might use play and whimsy to encourage imagination while supporting rigor and achievement in high school classrooms.  For older students, Imaginative engagement creates opportunities for critical thinking and develops authentic student voice, but often, our push to prepare for assessment excludes practices that foster joy and curiosity in learning. Together, we will make the playful practical for classrooms that value serious success

Session Outcomes:

  • Consider what changes in our teaching when we consider ourselves “curators of experience.”
  • Identify ways in which “student work” might be enriched by creating room for the imagination
  • Practice practical learning engagements that support traditional academic achievement through imagination and play.
  • Explore ways to capture a student’s engagement in the process in order to support the development of authentic academic voice.
  • Justify re-introducing our older students to whimsy and imagination as a path to achievement.

Presenter Bio:

Amanda Lives a life of words and ideas in Nanjing, China. Her path to the classroom is the stuff of legend; it includes excursions into rare book conservation, planetary cosmology, and the perfect palmier. As a journalist and ghostwriter, she realizes that the best way to learn is by doing, and she strives to bring a sense of adventure and whimsy to inquiry. After thirteen years of experience as an MYP and DP English Language and Literature teacher, she is making peace with the fact that she will never fulfil her childhood dream of being a mailman, but in her classroom, she still does her best to connect kids to the world through the written word and through the language that we use to understand and describe experience.