Educator helps develop children's imaginations

      A local educator is doing his part to expand children's minds and imagination.

      Al Beck is a professor emeritus of art and creative thinking at Culver-Stockton College.

      Earlier this month, the Quincy Family YMCA showcased some of his student activities that he's created to help develop what many refer to as "the right side of the brain."

      KHQA's Rajah Maples caught up with him to find out what we can do as adults to help foster young people's minds.

      We might have come a long ways in the educational field, but Professor Beck says there's a side of the brain that's often times overlooked -- the parts that deal with imagination, creativity, and "out-of-the box" thinking. In fact, he opposes coloring books for that very reason.

      Beck said, "I think it literally creates a myopic view of life. This is the only way we can see this bird. This is the only way we can see this, because there's this visual Bible if you will, visual Encyclopedia from the early times that is quote, a coloring book.'"

      IMAGI-PLAY is one of the many activities he's created in one of his 14 books. It's where young students are asked to "invent" something new in their minds and on paper. In fact, it can be an inter-generational activity that fosters collaborative learning. Beck thinks our country's "No-Child Left Behind" leaves behind a vital part of a student's potential.

      Beck said, "Not every human being is the same as any other human being. We are like snowflakes. Everyone is different. We have a different shape, a different mind. If you wish to be like someone else, who shall be like you?"

      Beck has donated many of his books, which contain these student activities, to a number of public libraries throughout the Tri-States.

      If you'd like to contact him to learn more, you can log on to his Web site at