1) Creativity and Imagination as Learning Tool
It is not an understatement to claim that my students taught me a great deal about almost every facet of my life, including having an open mind to the creative impulse that would be incorporated in my own work. After teaching all day, I would somehow find myself behind a canvas, a piano, almost anywhere that I could “make” something. This morning, I remembered one student who (no matter the assignment) would consistently impress me over and over again. Her ability to access her imagination in such creative ways really inspired me. An example of her work (at fifteen years of age) can be seen below. This was a survival manual created while reading Lord of the Flies. Every page has been created through the use of cut paper. Again, this is one small example from a student that created many works of art.
2) Creative Reflection for School Improvement
As a developer of professional development for principals, teachers, and school-based leadership teams, I was given the opportunity to work with many leaders, both formal and informal. One of the most reflective of these inspirational leaders was Denee Hurst of Dixie County Public Schools. Principal Hurst’s principal leadership academy portfolio (in its organization and its sheer breadth of documentation of reflective leadership) is one of the best examples of a leader’s thoughts and projections of where she intended the school to go academically and culturally. Hurst included not only artifacts that support her intention of raising student achievement (e.g., classroom walkthroughs, emails, professional development, aggregated data and projections, etc.), but provided additional cultural ephemera such as photographs of staff PD and school activities. Principal Hurst has been an advocate of teacher and principal inquiry and participated and taught during several inquiry showcases facilitated by the UF College of Education Center for School Improvement (led by Dr. Nancy Dana). One of the best examples of a leader who constantly seeks engagement and improvement of the world around her can be found in Denee Hurst.
Does dreaming and the recalling of dreams suggest anything about the individual? More specifically, does dreaming explain anything about the adolescent mind?
I read a couple of studies take this question.
First, Dr. David Watson’s study, from which this extended quote is derived:
“What gives rise to these individual differences in dream recall? Much of the research in this area derives from the salience hypothesis. This hypothesis represents a natural extension of the more general cognitive literature on the processes that influence the recall of information (see Cohen, 1974; Goodenough, 1991). Salient stimuli—for example, items that are novel, intense or unusual— are more easily remembered. Dreams also conform to this general pattern; thus, considerable likely to be remembered (Cohen, 1974; Goodenough, 1991). For instance, Cipolli, Bolzani, Cornoldi, de Beni, and Fagioli (1993) classified dream content as either bizarre or nonbizarre, and found that the rate of delayed recall for the former was approximately twice that of the latter. Extended into the realm of individual differences, this model posits that people who tend to have more memorable dreams—that is, dreams that are highly vivid, intense, unusual, and interesting—should show better overall recall. This basic idea has received broad support. This evidence comes from two interrelated lines of research. The first line emphasizes the normal and adaptive aspects of dream recall, and is based on a continuity model of human consciousness (Blagrove & Hartnell, 2000; Claridge, Clark, & Davis, 1997; Goodenough, 1991) . This model assumes that people who have interesting, vivid and unusual experiences during the day—for instance, those who are highly creative, imaginative, and prone to fantasy—also will have more salient and memorable dreams and, hence, show better dream recall.”
Then, there is this wonderful study with a larger sample size (5,000+), led by a team from the University of Basel (Switzerland). The following is quoted from the abstract:
“Results: As compared with males, female adolescents reported a higher dream recall rate and felt a stronger impact of dreams on the subsequent day. Female adolescents also described themselves as more creative, and reported suffering more from sleep complaints and perceived stress. Multiple regression analyses further revealed that increased dream recall was independently predicted by factors such as female gender, sleep quality, and creativity, whereas perceived stress, awakenings during the night, and sleep duration had no predictive value.
Conclusions: Similar to the findings of studies conducted on adults, dream recall was also associated with female gender in a large sample of adolescents. Additionally, it seemed that several different factors such as good mood, increased sleep quality, and creativity influenced dream recall. These results can provide a basis for better understanding the psychology of dreams in adolescence. In contrast to nightmares, recalling dreaming is associated with health and well-being.”
If one has the time, it may be beneficial to seek out the following studies:
- Schechter N, Schmeidler GR, Staal M. Dream reports and creative tendencies in students of arts, sciences and engineering. J Consult Psychol 1965; 29:415–21.
- DeCicco TL. Dreams of female university students: Content analysis and the relationship to discovery via the Ullman method. Dreaming 2007;17:98–112.
Image- Leonardo Da Vinci, c. 1508
Dorothea Lasky is a force for creativity.
Her poems burst with color and neccessity. Her short lines are full of fire. Earth, water, and wind are present in her most recent book, but there is much fire.
Not only a respected and established poet (her books- Awe, Black Life, and Thunderbird- can all be purchased at Wave Poetry), Dr. Lasky examines the role of creativity in learning. Her dissertation, her articles for academic journals, and her class syllabi all reflect this deep passion for the creative act. She creates spaces in her writing and her teaching that allow others to experience the power of the imagination and the possibility of experiencing something transcendent.
But, you can read for yourself.
Here is a small list of some of her articles, interviews, and her book on poetry in education: