Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Imagination and Knowledge

This Friday our ESL school is beginning a biweekly English club open to anyone in our current 4 classes and the general public. One of the activities we’ll be doing at the English club is hosting debates. Yesterday I used my students as gunny pigs.

I posed a famous Einstein quote “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” I then asked them to pick which is more important knowledge or imagination and to explain why. The vote at the beginning of the class was 8 for knowledge, 4 for imagination. It was interesting some of the negative connotations imagination had for many of the students. Everything from killing to witch doctors came up. While knowledge was touted as being given to man from God. Many students also said that people are hired for their knowledge, not their imagination.

The debate was good in that it was one of the first times I really heard some of my students open up and really speak their minds. Often times especially for the women here, it’s difficult to cross that barrier. Hopefully the English club will be a place where thinking for ones self can be fostered.

In the end one or two students switched positions saying that imagination is more important. Most of the class agreed that imagination and knowledge are entangled in such a way that they are important to each other. That some people have more imagination, some people have more knowledge, and that it’s important to work together allowing each person to use their gifts full potential.