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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 3. Pedagogy of Presence



Pedagogy of Presence

Relationality is the “glue” (of connections) which holds any system together. (Doll, 2008/2012, p. 28)

Most of William Doll’s students have a deep appreciation for his presence in teaching and mentorship that accompanies them through a learning process often filled with difficulties and challenges. Sharing life, sharing food, and sharing ideas with students both inside and outside of the classroom, Doll teaches what he is. As both Al Alcazar and Stephen Triche—both his former advisees—put it, one cannot separate Doll as a person from the class he teaches. Triche perceives Doll as being one with the class: “He does not merely teach us the content; he really teaches himself. He fully believes in the things that he teaches: It is part of him and he is part of it” (interview with Triche, 2012). Such a unity between the teacher and teaching is remarkable, just as Ted T. Aoki (1992/2005) comments, “Good teachers are more than they do; they are the teaching” (p. 196).

Alcazar used to drive with Doll—they lived near each other in the New Orleans area—to Friday seminars that Doll taught at LSU in Baton Rouge. Alcazar enjoyed all those conversations during the drive. He commented, “He is the guy who drives, he is the guy who teaches, he is the guy who invites you←45 | 46→ to lunch, and he laughs the same way wherever he is” (interview with Alcazar, 2012)...

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