What Is Imaginative Thinking? How Does It Help Students?

Guest post by Kathleen Fox – ImaginGO

We’re hearing a lot about Imaginative Thinking in the classroom, but what exactly is it? And how does it help our students?
At its core, Imaginative Thinking encourages students to explore beyond boundaries. They generate new concepts using ideas that are real AND imaginary. Imaginative Thinking allows students greater freedom and flexibility to seek out unique possibilities.

Nothing is off the table when students use Imaginative Thinking. All ideas, real or imaginative, are valued. Students produce one-of-a-kind imaginative solutions and then merge those solutions with more methodical applications. The outcome is multi-layered innovation. A fresh idea fueled by imagination but grounded in logic.

Teachers typically see a natural tendency towards Imaginative Thinking in younger children, but as children age, they are taught to “un-learn” the creative process. They tend to become overly convergent in their problem-solving skills leading to one or two solutions that are often unexceptional, ordinary, and most likely similar to the ideas of others. When students are motivated through Imaginative Thinking to seek many different solutions to solve a challenge, they become far more confident in taking risks to create new innovative concepts.

Without innovation, we stand still. We need to train students to seek many solutions to complicated problems that don’t even exist yet. Imaginative Thinking teaches students to imagine what’s around the corner from the corner and gives students a stronger tool for success.

About the Author
Kathleen Fox is the co-creator of ImaginGO. A former public school teacher, school librarian,
and director of her own school. Kathleen authored two children’s books, dozens of educational
games, and several professional development books for teachers. You can reach her at