It doesn’t have to be big to have a bucket full of atmosphere.

This is Skelton Tower on the North Yorkshire Moors.

It’s almost 200 years old and is a former hunting lodge.

If you time your arrival at the Tower correctly then you can enjoy the passing Steam Train coming down the North Yorkshire Moors railway. Unfortunately this walking muppet has never managed that. Still you still get views of the haunting Newtondale.

The Tower is also a fantastic dreams portal. As long as no other walkers are in sight our son can spend hours here. Lost in another world. Talking animals and mythical creatures. Playing about with time and the laws of science. I must admit I often dream of rebuilding the tower and living here 200 years ago.

It’s really good to dream and stretch your imagination. I wonder how many inventions and leaps in understanding have come from doing this. That’s why it’s so frustrating that as soon as kids get past the age of 11 dreaming is often frowned upon. At school the kids have a predetermined and restrictive curriculum to get through (set by the Government – god help us). Hardly anytime is scheduled for creative thinking. Even in subjects like art the approach seems to be learn about this artist then reproduce one of the artists most famous pieces. More marks for getting close to it. Only occasionally are kids allowed to free draw. When our son tries to reproduce something then it’s a disaster. He just can’t do it. But allow him to draw from his imagination and suddenly he’s away.

Kids are not encouraged to explore logic and push the boundaries of thought. In science son has been told on a number of occasions to just accept the facts. Once he asked why science was seemingly so sure of its laws when we can only see less than 1% of the universe. He got the above response.

In maths the class had some questions to work out. Son found a quick way to get to the answer. It worked for every question but was told he was doing it wrong as it wasn’t the approach set out in the textbook.

In our area we are so lucky in terms of history. On our doorstep we can touch the Neolithic. The Stone Age. The Bronze Age. Roman History. Viking History. Medieval Times. The industrial Revolution. Victorian Times. World Wars. So much history to live and breathe. Yet do the schools make use of this. Not really. In his 5 years at Primary School he went to two historical sites. Currently at his present school he has spent one hour at a local archeological dig. What a waste. Won’t the kids learn more about history if they can actually live it. Apparently not – the only source of learning is from predetermined textbooks.

Imagination is the key to so much. It should be one of the key facets of modern education. When I was a kid the brilliant Carl Sagan ignited my passion for astronomy and thinking. I will leave you with his take on imagination.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. CARL SAGAN

59 thoughts on “Imagination

  1. Schools only educate us to do one thing–become a wage-slave. Who knows what anti-capitalist ideas we may come up with if our minds are allowed the freedom of thought and imagination. As some 70s band once suggested, “Just another brick in the wall.” A lot of us in the 60s had already realized this, dropped out of school, and gone in search or our selves. We taught the gov’ts to fear freedom, unfortunately.

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  2. Schools don’t bother with history, now. I suppose it’s not thought necessary for data entry and burger serving.

    And even when I was at school imagination was a no-no. I also solved some maths homework the ‘wrong way’ and despite getting the answer correct, while the method outlined produced the wrong answer for the rest of the class, I was ‘wrong’. Ho hum.

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  3. Amazing – it looks so much older, 800 years at least – until you notice the neat tuck-pointing! πŸ˜‰

    Spot On!

    School is definitely not a place for Imagination – and certainly not UK govt schools.

    Your son needs to have his imagination fed and nurtured at home, or with you at places like this, or in cinemas or zoos. And, if at all possible, with kids he can relate with.

    Thanks to you (and the missus) your son has a great mind – it would be wonderful to have him share it and be a part of it’s development. Try and make sure he knows school has a specific purpose and perhaps even some benefit, but that what he thinks and how he thinks is of far more value to him than the limited, restrictive environment they seem determined to impose upon him and other free-thinkers who are way better than the school system is set up for.

    The only positive thing i could say about the system is that it does develop a form of mental discipline – of a kind, but for kids like yours, the negative effects might outweigh the positives. 😦

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  4. I had this problem with maths. The “correct” way wasn’t logical to me, but my way worked. I lost interest.
    I love the big wide open spaces in Yorkshire. They make me feel closer to history and the people who lived there hundreds of years before.

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  5. A very sound post. Our eldest granddaughter, an artistic genius, considers it cheating if she uses a model. In her final year she had an art teacher who actually put his own brush strokes on her painting of a cow. Hers was far better. She never went back.

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  6. Now, why would you want to take the train when you and your boy can roam and let your imaginations run free? AND have the ability to take something that on the surface some folks might say..oh yeah a day on slog to look at a wall… and turn it into something wonderful. I always get a giggle the days we take our wee grandie say to the beach which is just down the road, and then his mum asks oh what ere you doing and I can following the footprints of savage beasts, burying treasure, scaling Everest, manning networks of ancient forts as the tide came in as opposed to, well we built a sandcastle. It is all our duties to see kids don’t fall into this almost Orwellian trap of education. I have never been to this ruin. Must visit next time.

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      1. Lol..well some of the beach is fenced cos it is a conservation area. And actually I do get what they are protecting here in terms of the ancient dunes. No seriously I do. So we aye go to a bit under the lea of the Castle that is totally missed as you step onto that beach and look the other way–unlike when I was wee and got a posh week in this area with cousins who lived here at that time– and we aye get it to ourselves. It has high rocks and everything, now totally missed. I often think of it as a bit of heaven. It is a place to dream. or put your dreams in a bos to dig up another day.

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  7. You really do have so much history, it’s amazing. In our area there are a few cannons still around from the revolutionary war – but that’s as far back as we go. I agree with you about the education system. THAT is the same here. I am noticing now the focus on learning XYZ instead of creating. And I am scratching my head at some of the ways they have to learn something as opposed to just getting the answer the way that makes most sense. I think we need to show the governments that scene from SpongeBob when he touts “I-MAG-IN-A-TION……” πŸ™‚

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  8. I have yet to write about it, but I couldn’t help but rock the boat a bit at Parent/Teacher Conference. My oldest has a history teacher who is quite boring. After asking the man what his daily outline is (introduces a topic, then opens up the class for discussion on it. Sometimes there’s a VIDEO and they get a WORKSHEET!), I said, “Have you ever considered trivia questions, or something fun?”
    The man looked truly perplexed.

    I wouldn’t want to go to school; why would the kids?

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  9. My son is fantastic at math. Does it all in his head. But when asked to explain how he gets the right answer so quickly and has to show it on paper her gets told he has to learn to do it the harder and less efficient way. Ridiculous. Nearly turned him off maths for life.

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  10. Schools are bound by rising costs and lower budgets. Add the excessive amount of paperwork needed for each trip and the pressures of results (pupils can’t miss too many lessons) and you have you answer.

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  11. I thought of you the other day because my Metaphysics and Folklore Club has resumed at school, with triple the number of attendees from last year. This term’s programme includes the history of Hallowe’en, artificial intelligence, cults and cult leaders and the Found Footage horror genre. I really, really wish your son could come.

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  12. Sooooo I realized I was so ridiculously far behind in reading your blog that I’m just going to have to bypass September so I can vaguely hope to catch up. Sorry! 😦

    But I agree. Inventions and Innovations don’t come from just accepting things as they are, but by imagining what is beyond them. But teaching to the imagination is, like, hard, so unfortunately many teachers don’t bother. Course, in their defense, many schools here get their funding based on student test scores, so for many it seems the only way to ensure their paycheck is to teach the facts and that’s it.

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