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A New Vision of Teacher Education: Learning to Live and Thrive With Ambiguity and Uncertainty
Unformatted Document Text:  AACTE PROPOSAL A New Vision of Educational Leadership: Learning to Live and Thrive with Ambiguity and Uncertainty As the director of the Center for Educational Pluralism at my university, I have been developing an ongoing dialogue around a conceptual framework that embodies the inevitable tensions that exist in the public schools of a pluralistic democratic society. Our vision of teacher education stresses the need for embracing those tensions and dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty in a fruitful way rather than dissolving these seeming contradictions into some simplified set of imperatives. This paper is a conceptual analysis on what it would mean to help our teacher candidates cope with ambiguities in the complex world of education in ways that keep possibilities alive while not succumbing to quick and easy platitudes to guide their practice. Many of the tensions that teachers face in public schools are manifested in the tensions of the philosophy of the liberal democratic state. Thus, these tensions exist as part of a larger framework that shapes decision-making in our society. For example, there are tensions between: • excellence and equality • Jeffersonian equality and Jacksonian equalitarianism • the liberal state’s traditional understanding of pluralism as a plurality of individuals and the growing emphasis on a multicultural pluralism that focuses on group identity • conflicts between values like liberty and equality, equal educational opportunity and self- determination • teaching for cultural awareness and appreciation and teaching for cultural critique and the pursuit of truth. 1

Authors: Kasprisin, Lorraine.
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AACTE PROPOSAL
A New Vision of Educational Leadership: Learning to Live and Thrive with Ambiguity and Uncertainty
As the director of the Center for Educational Pluralism at my university, I have been developing an
ongoing dialogue around a conceptual framework that embodies the inevitable tensions that exist in the public
schools of a pluralistic democratic society. Our vision of teacher education stresses the need for embracing
those tensions and dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty in a fruitful way rather than dissolving these seeming
contradictions into some simplified set of imperatives. This paper is a conceptual analysis on what it would
mean to help our teacher candidates cope with ambiguities in the complex world of education in ways that keep
possibilities alive while not succumbing to quick and easy platitudes to guide their practice.
Many of the tensions that teachers face in public schools are manifested in the tensions of the
philosophy of the liberal democratic state. Thus, these tensions exist as part of a larger framework that shapes
decision-making in our society. For example, there are tensions between:
excellence and equality
Jeffersonian equality and Jacksonian equalitarianism
the liberal state’s traditional understanding of pluralism as a plurality of individuals and the
growing emphasis on a multicultural pluralism that focuses on group identity
conflicts between values like liberty and equality, equal educational opportunity and self-
determination
teaching for cultural awareness and appreciation and teaching for cultural critique and the pursuit
of truth.
1


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