Monday, February 4, 2008

Embracing Uncertainty

"Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty." --Mark Twain

What happens when we take away our neat and tidy outcomes-based systems with which we declare success and failure, point our fingers, and create heroes or villains? It all becomes a lot more complicated. When we reevaluate our philosophical roots in what it means to be, to live, to learn? Education gets personal. Words like humanity, love, transformation, and meaning try to weave their way into a world bogged down by positivist blinders and "neutral" agendas.

We need to challenge our policymakers, administrations, teachers, students, and selves to embrace the uncertainty that comes with real meaning-making education. An education of discomfort, critical thinking, challenges, and even upheaval. But one that is accompanied by awakenings and images of a future that challenges the status quo and social norms.

How do we create not only an education system, but also a society that embraces the spectrum of opportunities for individuals and communities--that no longer subtly oppresses the marginalized? I'm not sure. But I know that the answer is not to pretend we know how. We must ask questions. We must start from scratch, if that's what needs to happen. We must embrace the uncertainty of the human aspect of education--the emotions, transformations, and experiences that make learning real. The part of learning that relies not just on strict standards and curricula, but also problem-posing, relationships, frustrations, and injustice.

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