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Great Deals! Nonfiction - Education

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Learning and Teaching Creativity: You Can Only Imagine...

ISBN: 9781737800712
Binding: Paperback
Author: Dan Hunter
Pages: 296
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 10/16/2023

TEACHERS: For a 20% discount, enter the promo code teacher at checkout!

For teachers, students, parents, and anyone interested in creativity, Learning and Teaching Creativity by Dan Hunter inspires and improves imagination. He details steps to improve student creativity through imagination. Hunter explores metacognition, teacher attitudes, exercises, ideation, and problem-solving techniques. Throughout the book there are stories of creative successes fueled by imagination: Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Franz Schubert, Sherlock Holmes, Leonardo Da Vinci, and more. Hunter clearly explains the latest neuroscience on creativity. Hunter draws on humor, extensive research, and his lifetime of practicing and teaching creative work.

This book is for anyone looking for pathways to creativity in life or in the classroom.

Education in America is in an upheaval. We need to prepare students to adapt to innovation, generate ideas and manipulate change—which requires an agile imagination.

Learning and Teaching Creativity lays out pathways to student (and teacher) creativity with chapters on brainstorming, curiosity, flow, and finding your passion. Hunter discusses how perception, visualization, and memory are essential to imagination.
For the classroom, Learning and Teaching Creativity provides problem solving techniques, suggests teaching strategies, and discusses the value of play and pretend play.

Learning and Teaching Creativity also punctures many of the myths of creativity by drawing distinctions between creativity and imagination. All humans have imagination. All ideas begin in imagination: the ability to predict outcomes, engage in counterfactual thinking, and visualize scenarios. Imagination is how you guide your life—making day-to-day decisions as well as thinking about the most profound issues humans face. You use your imagination to make plans, decide on your lunch, or choose a color to paint the back hall. But you also use your imagination to predict life in the next century or how to reverse global warming.

Imagination is fundamental to being human. Every human being has these skills. In fact, our ancient ancestors, Homo erectus, left traces of their imagination a million years ago.

Everyone uses their imagination every day:

  • what would be good for lunch (predicting outcomes)
  • what if I owned my own car (counterfactual thinking)
  • I bet the cafeteria is crowded now (visualizing scenarios)

If you misplace your car keys, you try to visualize the keys on the kitchen counter or the back door table. This is the same imagination technique used by Einstein to visualize how light moves through the universe. There is no secret channel in the brain to visualize light in the universe. (Einstein also spent time imagining his favorite sausage for lunch.)

Our use of imagination is so frequent and common that it escapes our notice. It is a set of powerful skills: the steppingstones to creativity. It is also Einstein's process for choosing lunch.

We also need to eliminate the self-defeating myth of creative and non-creative people. Too many people balk at the challenge of "being creative" as if it were a foreign way of thinking. All human beings have imagination and use it every day. Therefore, we are all capable of generating an idea or solution that may be dubbed creative. Other people may or may not designate your idea as creative. But it doesn't matter. What matters is if your solution works, if your idea improves your life.

Learning and Teaching Creativity is "entertaining and inspiring," and "a gift to educators and students."

Life is a challenge. Imagination is required.


Dan Hunter is the inventor of H-IQ, the first assessment of individual imagination and ideation. H-IQ provides students with practice generating ideas and teaches student metacognition. H-IQ was a finalist in Reimagine Education, the world's largest awards program for innovative pedagogies. Out of a field of 1100 applicants from all over the world, H-IQ was on the shortlist to win the award for "Breakthrough Educational Technology" in 2022.

To develop H-IQ, Hunter has devoted ten years of study to the questions of improving creativity. He is the co-author with Dr. Rex Jung of A Call to More Imaginative Research into Creative Achievement, published in the peer-reviewed Creativity Research Journal, and A New Measure of Imagination Ability: Anatomical Brain Imaging Correlates, published in The Frontiers of Psychology, an international peer-reviewed journal.

Hunter's understanding of creativity has been learned by practicing creative work, generating a steady flow of ideas as a songwriter, playwright, columnist, and political consultant. Hunter taught creative writing and playwriting at Boston University for 17 years.

Hunter is an award-winning playwright, songwriter, teacher, and founding partner of Hunter Higgs, LLC, an education consulting firm.

Hunter has served as managing director of the Boston Playwrights Theatre at Boston University, published numerous plays with Baker's Plays, and has performed topical humor in song on ABC, NPR, BBC, and CNN. Formerly executive director of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities (MAASH), a statewide advocacy and education group, Hunter has 25 years of experience in politics and arts advocacy. He served as Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, a cabinet appointment requiring Senate confirmation. He is the author of several books of humor, including Let's Keep Des Moines a Private Joke, Iowa?...It's a State, and his most recent book Pandemic Panacea: Laughing through Quarantine.


"This book is an excellent introduction to the large and complex field of creativity. It starts at the very heart of the creative process – the imagination of the individual creator – and works up through cognitive processes, brain networks, and creative outputs that might result in the production of something novel, useful, and perhaps even surprising. The anecdotes of creative individuals are informative and often surprising. The description of underlying research is accessible and true to the science. This book represents a rare combination of good science, practical and relevant advice, and a good read. Well done." - Rex E. Jung, Ph.D., Research Professor of Psychology, University of New Mexico

"Well done! Quite easy to read, full of teaching strategies, and a very important book that can help all teachers think more deeply and deliberately about their own and their students' imaginations." - Jean Hendrickson, Educational Consultant Director Emeritus, Oklahoma A+ Schools

"Dan Hunter's Learning and Teaching Creativity is a masterful study of the way the human brain works, a deep investigation, speckled with humor, practical exercises, and examples from famous lives, into the way we learn. Hunter spans the subjects of curiosity, imagination, passion, storytelling, reading, brainstorming, play, and creativity, in a style both precise and easy to read. I can enthusiastically recommend this book to teachers from kindergarten to graduate school. It serves as a wonderful counterpoint to the current overemphasis on rote learning, standardized testing, and dependence on technological gadgetry. Learning and Teaching Creativity is exactly the kind of book to address the problems with our present educational climate. It's a gift, from an original thinker to educators and students alike." - Roland Merullo, author of Breakfast with Buddha

"In Dan Hunter's entertaining and inspiring Learning and Teaching Creativity: You Can Only Imagine, he demonstrates how the democracy of imagination continually creates and recreates the world. His lessons are delivered with wit and originality, whether explaining neuroscience or observing the instinctive behavior of children. In reinforcing the value of teachers, Hunter makes a persuasive argument against our blind faith in artificial intelligence at the expense of the genuine creativity of the human imagination." - Alexandra Marshall, author of The Silence of Your Name: The Afterlife of a Suicide

"The concepts of imagination and creativity can often be difficult for people to grasp and understand. Hunter does a fantastic job of explaining the concepts of creativity and making them as tangible as possible. The examples from his life and the lives of others helped me to see the real-world application and how I can help students to grow their imagination and creativity." - Amy White, Gifted Support Teacher, Pennsylvania