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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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Preface: Complexity of Life, Thought, and Pedagogy



Complexity of Life, Thought, and Pedagogy

Shifting one’s attitude from “reducing” complexity to “embracing” what is always already present in relations and interactions may lead to thinking complexly, abiding happily with mystery. (Doll & Trueit, in Doll, 2010/2012, p. 172)

It is life that is characterized, above all, by transformation. Informed by evolution, history, politics, religion, Doll’s very human life is dynamic, emergent, self-­organizing, relational. (Pinar, in Doll, 2012, p. 8)

While this book is about an extraordinary teacher and teacher educator’s complex journey, the formation of this book is itself complex. Writing it has taken much longer than I ever imagined, as it has gradually added layers. When I started this project, I thought this book would be published in time to celebrate the eightieth birthday of William E. Doll, Jr.,1 but now he is approaching his eighty-­fifth birthday! The difficulties have been multiple and my initial idea was reformulated several times to enable what has emerged.

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