"Imagination is ...reason in its most exalted mood."...Wordsworth
Imaginative Education posits that education consists in the initiation of young people into their cultural inheritance. What is that inheritance? In the broadest terms, it includes all of the achievements of humankind. More particularly, as it pertains to education, it consists in the Cognitive Tools that have been created over the course of human history. The Cognitive Tools are embedded in five Kinds of Knowing that are generally chronological, though the Cognitive Tools associated with more sophisticated Kinds of Knowing may appear 'out of sequence'. In the chronology that follows, any generalizations regarding sequence should not be mistaken for absolutes. Life is messy.
Somatic Understanding refers to those abilities that seem innate to human children as the result of their essential bodily and social experience. Somatic Understanding is predominant from Birth to the acquisition of oral language.
The Cognitive Tools associated with Somatic Understanding are: Bodily Senses. Emotional Responses and Attachments, Rhythm and Musicality, Gesture and Communication, Referencing and Intentionality.
Mythic Understanding refers to those abilities that are related to the acquisition of oral language. Mythic Understanding is predominant through the acquisition of literacy.
The Cognitive Tools associated with Mythic Understanding are: Story, Metaphor, Abstract Binary Opposites; Rhyme, Meter and Pattern; Joking and Humor; Forming Images, a Sense of Mystery; and Games, Drama and Play.
Romantic Understanding refers to abilities that are possible as the result of the development of written language, of literacy.
The Cognitive Tools associated with Romantic Understanding are: Extremes and Limits of Reality; Sense of Reality; Association with Heroes; Wonder; Humanizing of Meaning; Collections and Hobbies; Revolt and Idealism; and Context Change and Role Play. Romantic Understanding is embedded in literacy and dominates the imagination until the acquisition of Philosophical Understanding.
Philosophic Understanding is characterized by the desire for generalizations and theories, and by the quest for certainty. It is the full flower the adolescent mind. It depends on the theoretic use of language.
The Cognitive Tools of Philosophic Understanding are a Drive toward Generality, A Facility with Processes, the Lure of Certainty, General Schemes and Anomalies, the Search for Authority and Truth. The Scientific Method is the Zenith of Philosophic Understanding.
Ironic Understanding depends on the reflexive use of language. It entails a recognition of the limits of theoretical thinking, the particularity of the moment, the tenuousness of our knowledge.
The Cognitive Tools of Ironic Understanding are Reflexivity and Identity, the Limits of Theory, Particularity and Radical Epistemic Doubt. Ironic Understanding requires years of preparation and intellectual courage. That's the goal. Everything else is preliminary.