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From the Parade Child to the King of Chaos

The Complex Journey of William Doll, Teacher Educator


Hongyu Wang

From the Parade Child to the King of Chaos depicts the pedagogical life history of an extraordinary teacher educator and internationally renowned curriculum scholar, William E. Doll, Jr. It explores how his life experiences have contributed to the formation and transformation of a celebrated teacher educator. From the child who spontaneously led a parade to the king of chaos who embraces complexity in education, complicated tales of Doll’s journey through his childhood, youth, and decades of teaching in schools and in teacher education are situated in the historical, intellectual, and cultural context of American education. Seven themes are interwoven in Doll’s life, thought, and teaching: pedagogy of play, pedagogy of perturbation, pedagogy of presence, pedagogy of patterns, pedagogy of passion, pedagogy of peace, and pedagogy of participation. Based upon rich data collected over six years, this book demonstrates methodological creativity in integrating multiple sources and lenses. Profoundly moving, humorous, and inspirational, it is a much-needed text for undergraduate and graduate courses in teacher education, curriculum studies, theory and practice of teaching and learning, life history studies, chaos and complexity theory, and postmodernism.
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Chapter 1. Pedagogy of Play



Pedagogy of Play

Our own [postmodern] vision is a good deal more doubtful, inherently filled with problematics, rooted in dialogue and history, and continually remade as we interact playfully with ourselves and the environment of which we are but part. (Doll, 1990/2012, p. 152; emphasis added)

William Doll laughed when I told him that the title of the book would be From the Parade Child to the King of Chaos. His laughter is loud and long with a unique rhythm; anybody who walked into Peabody Hall where the College of Education is housed at Louisiana State University (LSU) would know that he was around when he laughed. To my delight, he was delighted with the title. I actually came up with it quickly after he told me stories about his childhood. Here is his story about the parade child:

There used to be parades in town, a small town near Boston. On the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, there were always parades. The parades were always led by the policemen marching first, and then came other people, except there was a little kid who marched in front of the policemen. That was me. I led every parade. Nobody ever kicked me out. Mother used to say, “Should he really do that?” And Father said, “He’s okay.” When I was seven, or eight, or even six, who knows [at what age]. Nobody stopped me. Obviously when I was a little older,...

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