Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ethical Literacy Lessons to Ponder This Summer: Tolerance for Ambiguity — Whole Child Education

Ethical Literacy Lessons to Ponder This Summer: Tolerance for Ambiguity — Whole Child Education:

Paula Mirk

Ethical Literacy Lessons to Ponder This Summer: Tolerance for Ambiguity

Our seventh annual Ethical Literacy Conference was smaller than usual, yet we came away from it with bigger ideas and a stronger sense of success than in past conferences. Our ability to maintain flexibility and respond to educators' needs was key to this opportunity and underscored the importance of balancing "structure" with "free flow" in the learning process.
I'm reminded of a key research finding from our Schools of Integrity project: tolerance for ambiguity. To some extent, this finding explores teachers' competence in letting go—of lesson plans, of control, of relational power—as they become more expert in sensing and subscribing to the balance between structure and free flow in their classrooms. It's a lovely art! It means that when a student's question seems arbitrary or even intimidating, the response is to listen more closely, query to learn more, and certainly step away from the plan if the student can take you and the class on a better journey. By stepping away to some degree from our own plans for this year's conference, we were able to open up to new possibilities and learning that otherwise might not have happened. These "lessons" seemed more authentic, because they came directly from 

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