International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 7 Number 3

May 2, 2006

Evaluating the Imaginative:
Situated Practice and the Conditions for
Professional Judgement in Imaginative Education

Dave Trotman
Newman College of Higher Education
Birmingham, England

Citation: Trotman, Dave. (2006, May 2). Evaluating the imaginative: Situated practice and the conditions for professional judgement in imaginative education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 7(3). Retrieved [date] from

It is now a matter of routine that schools in England are able to demonstrate the value of their work in terms of "impact" and "outcomes." In the province of imaginative education this is problematic. While Government has sought to create a new relationship between inspection and school selfevaluation, this in effect has amounted to little more than a bureaucratic and performative form of "self-inspection." At the same time the teaching profession is reminded that it lacks a shared language to enable clarity and precision about its judgements (Hargreaves, 2004). Acknowledging the necessity for imaginative educators to make their work publicly demonstrable, and recognising the private imaginative lifeworld as a sacred space, this paper calls for a (re)focusing of educational evaluation in imaginative education. Drawing on phenomenological research approaches and ideas of connoisseurship and pupil voice, six "situated" imaginative practices, spanning the solitary and the collective, are proposed in an attempt to consider ways in which the imagination might be made amenable to communal educational evaluation. Before the development of a shared evaluative language can be entertained, the necessary conditions for educational evaluation must first be created, and these conditions involve educators in the cultivation of their own imaginative lifeworlds as a professional practice. Ultimately, through processes of interpretation and communalisation, educational evaluation of the imagination becomes an intrinsically transformative practice.

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