‘Elves in the basement’ was how the neuroscientist, Peter Tse, described the internal workings of the imagination. This was part of a discussion of ‘ imagination’ on The Forum, Radio 4 29.8.2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b067vh8s
Apparently brain scans now show that some neuronal networks are more active when ‘day-dreaming’ than when the brain is ‘task-oriented’ , and that when we are busy imagining, our ‘elves’ hop about between our conscious and unconscious. So, encouraging imaginative play realises potential while too much ‘deliberative’ action may limit learning. (Valuable evidence to cite when discussing our test-oriented culture?)
Arundhati Subramaniam, who was part of this same discussion, spoke about the verbal choreography of poetry which provoked understandings beyond - and sometimes before - the literal. It allowed you ‘to get from one point to another without realising how the dots had been joined.’ She also made a special claim for poetry being ‘the only verbal art that embraces silences – the high voltage zones from which a poem draws its life.’
She quoted the third of her ‘Quick fix memos for difficult days’
Some nights you’ve seen enough of earth and sky for one lifetime
But know you still have unfinished business with both.
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Six years’ of evidence from NWP groups shows that such a model of voluntary, collaborative creativity is valued by many teachers – and has measurable value to the pupils they teach. I am very grateful for the dedication and partnership of many teaching colleagues in proving that NWP not only supports teachers’ sense of professional agency, but also introduces them to approaches which inform, engage and enrich their writing classrooms. An increasing number of university departments and school leaders now seem to endorse and invest in such teacher-led CPD.
Luton was the 26th time I’ve supported the launch of an NWP teachers’ writing group over the last six years. I plan to do so five more times this year – in Lincoln, Kent, Bodmin, Stoke and Darwen.
As existing group leaders know, I plan to step back from the project in 2016. However, I am sure that others will step forwards to take on the project’s outreach work. I would be keen to hear from anyone wishing to do so.
NWP outreach director