innovatED Magazine - Issue 3 - Autumn 2019


A lively mix of news, articles, opinion, research, insight and regulatory updates. We take a global perspective and bring the latest developments and outstanding practice from across the world and across different sectors to enable educators to deliver the very best for their pupils. Produced by an experienced and knowledgeable teaching and school leadership team, innovatED is a termly must-read for all staff rooms.

Finding The Story

The first and most important step to making anything you teach

more memorable is this: Think about what it is about the topic

that engages YOU.

This is the emotional significance of the topic. Quick example: is

it the richness of the air that engages you? We could spend our

lives studying what constitutes the “empty” air around us. Or is

it the permanence of water? We simply can not get rid of it.

(Topics: Properties of the Air or Water Cycle, Primary Science


You may find it odd that I have bumped learning objectives

from centre stage and begin by seeking the story on a topic. I

am not suggesting we throw out our learning outcomes or

objectives (or whatever we currently call those “targets”)—these

are crucial to teaching. Nor am I suggesting our classrooms be

full of roller coasters of jubilation followed by gutt-rotting

despair. Human emotions are much more varied and complex:

curiosity, intrigue, joy, sadness, pleasure, fear, confusion,

satisfaction, jealousy and on and on and on…

What I am suggesting is that objectives and outcomes do not

acknowledge the role of human emotion in what is meaningful

to them. They also do not form an emotional shape for the

content we are teaching—that shape is the story. We need to

acknowledge that the knowledge we retain, the knowledge that

matters to us, has somehow engaged our emotions. So we need

to talk more about feelings. When teaching becomes

storytelling we, like our ancestors before us, make knowledge

memorable and we maximize learning.

My work with educators in all contexts, and across subjectareas,

is about how to bring the imagination—that ability to

envision the possible—to the heart of our teaching and

learning. If you want to find out more about how to make your

topics more meaningful and memorable to students then please

do connect with me and others in the Centre for Imagination in

Research, Culture and Education at Simon Fraser University in

B.C., Canada •


Immordino-Yang, M.H. (November, 2015) Emotions, Learning and

the Brain: Exploring the educational implications of affective

neuroscience. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Dr. Gillian Judson is Executive Director of the

Centre For Imagination In Research, Culture and

Education ( at Simon Fraser

University. She also teaches in the Faculty of

Education and supervises programs in

Imaginative Education.

Her research and teaching are primarily

concerned with the role of imagination in all

learning. As an educational consultant she

explores a range of topics including imaginative

and ecological teaching practices (PreK through

post-secondary), imaginative educational

program design, educational change,

imaginative educational leadership, imaginative

online learning practices and museum


She writes books/chapters/articles/posts that

focus on the imagination, Imaginative Education

(IE), Imaginative Ecological Education (IEE),

creativity, and wonder.

Her latest books are entitled Imagination and

the Engaged Learner: Cognitive Tools for the

Classroom. (Egan, K. & Judson, G. New York:

Teachers’ College Press; 2016), Engaging

Imagination in Ecological Education: Practical

Strategies For Teaching (Pacific Educational

Press, 2015), and A Walking Curriculum (kdp,


You can connect with Gillian on Twitter

@perfinker and/or subscribe to her blog

(imaginED: education that inspires


Autumn 2019 | innovatED | Issue 3 | Page 15

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