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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 4. Pedagogy of Patterns



Pedagogy of Patterns

When we shift our gaze from the particular to the interconnected and to the generativity of all life and creation, a sense of awe arises. It is this focus, rather than our own personal salvation, I am advocating we adopt—a focus on the “pattern which connects,” rather than on the individual objects connected. (Doll, 2002b/2012, p. 36)

Playing with patterns has been a life theme and a pedagogical orientation for William Doll. In childhood, he had been encouraged by his parents, particularly his mother, to see patterns, and this “eye” for patterns has stayed with him in teaching. In his own words:

When we, as a family, took a Sunday drive, Mother encouraged me to look for patterns, sometimes as we crossed bridges, more often as we looked out the window at clouds and their shapes. The same would be when we hung out wash to dry in the blowing wind. I liked the wind blowing and Mother would look to the sky and see imaginary creatures in the clouds. We lived on a hill, overlooking a bay. The wind blew, the clouds flew, and Mother encouraged my imagination as to the shapes—often animals—the clouds took. I was probably seven or eight or nine years of age. (Personal communication, November 11, 2015)

Doll also recalls that as a teenager he walked a lot. As he was walking, he looked for “numerical and geometrical...

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