Wong, D., Henriksen, D. (2008). If ideas were fashion. Counterpoints, Mirror Images: Popular Culture and Education 338, 179-198.
In this piece, Wong and Henrickson investigate the idea of using fashion as a framework for teaching and learning. If fashion enhances our lives by adding interest, meaning and beauty to our every day, it makes sense that today’s youth are infatuated by it. If only we could get our learners to observe, create and engage in the educational experiences we offer them in the same way they observe, create and engage in fashion…Maybe we can! This article suggests using fashion as a scaffold for thinking about our teaching and learning. Focusing on the similar experiential qualities that exist between students’ lives in and out of school, can we enliven our learners and foster engagement, creativity and critical observation? How do we as educators foster creativity and possibility and include visual and tactile forms of expression? We need to attune ourselves to the psychological qualities that make fashion and ultimately learning so engaging. How do we capture a natural playful open-mindedness, reflective of that students’ experience in their everyday lives? How do we engage emotion and intellect? To fashion is to style or create so how do we help students ‘fashion a worthwhile existence? How do we get ideas to live on beyond the immediate experience? How can we get our students to imagine possibility?
We learn best in the ‘flow zone’, where we naturally and spontaneously hope, dream, create and desire; where we face goals that are challenging yet achievable. The challenge for teachers is how we help our students to enter and remain in this zone of optimal learning and productivity. Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s research lends itself to this exact question, and the importance of an exact balance between challenge and skill level. http://www.positivefuturesguide.com/free/Flowcond.html