Imagining imagination: towards cognitive and metacognitive models

Helen Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This paper presents a theoretical exploration of the relationship between imagination, cognition and metacognition, conceptualised within ‘emergent models’. These models are offered to enable dialogue and tools to understand and support imagination in education practice, through the presence of ever-transforming theory, conceived as emergent phenomena. The models are arrived at theoretically and pragmatically, drawing on evolutionary, philosophical, psychological and art paradigms. They demonstrate a fundamental relationship between cognition, metacognition and imagination. A major conclusion is that to nurture thinking, we should perceive and develop imagination as a fundamental aspect of thought, as opposed to often regarding it as a magical
force. Of special importance is the necessity for and prominence of imagination in metacognition, given the strong evidence that metacognition supports achievement and attainment. Through its fundamental relationship with metacognition, imagination increases our capacity to learn, enables personal and potentially, democratic capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2022


  • Imagination
  • metacognition
  • creativity
  • emergence
  • creative imagination
  • fantastical imagination
  • imagery


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