Cynthia L. Uline

Teaching

Approach to and Goals for Teaching

I see my classroom activities as closely aligned with my larger research interests. As an educator of school leaders, I pose the following question for inquiry: How do educational leaders reach elegant and felicitous, reasoned and deliberate decisions? Such artful decisions takes account of three necessary conditions, not to be construed as the basis for separate courses of study, but rather the necessary components of any course I would presume to teach.

School and Community . Decision-making must be inquiry-based, a means rather than an end. Understandings of school as existing within diverse, democratic communities stand at the center of this inquiry-based process. How do school administrators become the agents of public deliberation and intelligently guided, collective inquiry?

School and Change. School professionals face barriers when they attempt to apply reflective methods to their work: competing and conflicting obligations and expectations, the ambiguities and role overload experienced by administrators and teachers, the frenetic and fragmented nature of the work, the dilemmas inherent in conflicting needs for autonomy and control within school organizations, the norms and pressures of teacher and student subcultures, time and structural constraints, external vulnerabilities and entrenched and intractable internal decision structures and processes. How do school administrators come to understand these barriers within the context of school life, which resists change? What specific structures, techniques, and policies might they employ to eliminate such barriers?

School and Mission . What is school? Active moral reflection insists upon a thorough and painstaking analysis of all possible causes and consequences of social arrangements and keeps open every opportunity for human agency. It assumes an understanding of concepts such as human nature, habit, impulse, problem situation, principle, conduct, value, and growth. The nature of school in America is not a given. Rather, it is something we assume and agree upon every day. When it comes to the enterprise of school, how do we decide what we value and how do we go about changing our minds?

 

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