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Lushyn, P. and Kennedy, D. The Psychodynamics of Community of Inquiry and Educational Reform: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
20.02.2010, 19:43

The Psychodynamics of Community of Inquiry and Educational Reform:
A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Appeared first in: Lushyn, P. and Kennedy, D. (2000)
The psychodynamics of community of inquiry and educational reform:
A cross-cultural perspective. Thinking 15 (4): 9-16.

Any analysis of the process of dissemination of Philosophy for Children in Ukraine must take account of the fact that the latter is a democracy in crucial transition. Under these circumstances, very few educational officials in Ukraine are interested in the program for reasons other than its potential for the development of citizens capable of the successful negotiation of this transition. These officials regard critical thinking as a prime means of producing a new generation of persons who are resistant to non-democratic attitudes or practices. They see no need-whether rightly or wrongly--to evaluate the program for more than its political implications and consequences.

The U.S. could also be characterized as a democracy in transition. On the surface, there is the impression of stagnation. The Presidential election of 2000 drew the largest turnout in decades-50% of eligible voters. The results of the election itself-a form of soft political paralysis-demonstrate the extent to which the democratic process has become widely if subconsciously understood by the North American people as a support system for corporate global capitalism. Americans now choose their elected officials on the basis of aesthetic judgments mediated and closely managed by media-generated images. From the point of view of a native, democracy, despite its firm base, is hampered and compromised by capitalism and its concomitant cult of individualism, which hold it back from the deeper possibilities that were first articulated by John Dewey a century ago. Under these circumstances, very few educational officials in the US are interested in Philosophy for Children except as a program in "critical thinking," designed to sharpen "skills" for survival in the marketplace.

Among Ukrainian pedagogues themselves, there is concern about, if not resistance to, the dissemination of the program. For one, they are not sure they see the need, given the fact that the Soviet system has long embraced the Vygotskian paradigm of cognitive development, which, in contrast to the Piagetian, understands children as capable of abstract thought from an early age. Thirty years ago, Soviet education began the implementation of the Vygotskian-Galperin-Davydov paradigm at a systemic level, and the approach is now being elaborated in Russia and also in Ukraine through the Maksymenko, Dusavitski and Repkin research groups in Kiev and Kharkov. It is commonly held that the sensitive period for the development of abstract, reflective thinking is between the ages of six and eight. Elements of algebra are introduced to first graders, and the elements of linguistic analysis at the same age. How, these educators ask, could P4C add to or improve a system which already understands the importance of critical thinking, which considers children quite capable of it, and which has incorporated these convictions into its curriculum on a fundamental level?

A second reason for Ukrainian educators' concern is that P4C is not particularly popular in the country of its birth--a country which prides itself on its democratic system. How is it, they might argue, that the country which acts as a role model for stable democracy for democracies in transition rejects the program which claims to enculturate democracy on the deepest level? In fact, research indicates that P4C is more readily accepted in transitional political systems like Brazil or China, Bulgaria. Do the difficulties of dissemination in the U.S. represent some implicit problem in the U.S. form of democracy, or is it simply the fact that no social system duplicates functions unnecessarily? If the first, then by implication, U.S. resistance to P4C is a sign that U.S. democracy has more to learn. If the second--if U.S. schools are producing democratic citizens without the assistance of P4C-- why add it to the curriculum?

Here ironies multiply. Among some U.S. citizens, there is the impression that democracy is not achieved but slipping slowly off course. The decline of cultural literacy, a steadily increasing ahistoricism, dwindling political activism, the increasing relationships between big business and the academy, and a reigning educational ideology of test-driven vocationalism belie those democratic impulses which were once at least available in crisis. When the U.S. looks at Ukraine and Eastern Europe in general, idealists see the chance-however fraught with risk-of a new beginning; perhaps a moment at least analogous to that in the U.S. in revolutionary times, when new formulations could emerge from a chaos as potentially virile as virulent. For those who see Philosophy for Children as emblematic of personal and political transformation, Ukraine seems a most likely testing ground.

Yet a third cause for Ukrainian resistance may be a historical one. Why trade at least 70 years of Russian dominance for yet another master-slave relationship? Mistrust for P4C and for the discourse of western democracy is not just about the value of educational systems or methodologies, but about whether "democracy" is actually a code word for economic colonization. And here ironies do not just multiply, but proliferate. Our two perspectives meet, but then appear to pass in the night. For practitioners in the US, Philosophy for Children is not about democracy accomplished but democracy possible--about new forms of democracy, about democracy as continual reconstruction. It is an indication of the failure of democracy as reconstruction that the program is not popular in the U.S. Its supporters see it as the best possible gift to the educational system of Ukraine-the gift unaccepted in our own country--rather than another Trojan Horse offered by the politics of McWorld. For it to be rejected on the grounds that it represents the very system it attempts to transform, is a picture of misunderstanding. Whether in Ukraine or the U.S., Philosophy for Children is equally critical of any form of imperialism.

Community Of Inquiry From A Psychodynamic Perspective

The obstacles to the dissemination of P4C in Ukraine and the US can be characterized educationally, politically, and historically. But although each of these interpretive constructs has its own measure of validity, we want to suggest that in the case of both countries, resistance lies on a deeper level, and that it is provoked, not so much by the content as by the nature of the methodology of program--its pedagogical matrix--known as "community of inquiry." On the most fundamental level, the unease which P4C produces has to do with the way its methodology challenges some fundamental assumptions about the nature of individual and group process, and the exigencies of personal and social change. We want to suggest that at its base, the resistance lies at the level where psychology and philosophy meet in the event of communal dialogue.
Psychologists stress that in order to deal with resistance it is easier--and often more effective--to analyze one's own existential and professional model than to challenge the client's. Let us then look more closely at community of inquiry as a psychodynamic model. In fact community of inquiry process and discourse is similar to the group dynamics of encounter groups, in which the function of the facilitator is not so much to transmit something concrete as to communicate a certain style or attitude. By listening empathically, the facilitator avoids giving direct advice, concentrating rather on mirroring the dissociated components of the client's narrative. This is based on the philosophical conviction that, whatever the experience, practically all its elements may be integrated in an atmosphere of "unconditional positive regard," in the interests of dialectical reconstruction. In community of inquiry theory as defined by Philosophy for Children, the emergence of the elements for philosophical reconstruction is triggered by a stimulus text, which, through being problematized by the participants, leads to the collaboratively construction of a deliberative agenda which embodies the philosophical preoccupations of each member of the group. In his book Thinking in Education, Matthew Lipman (1984) offers a curricular scope and sequence for this process:
The offering of the text
        The text as a model, in story form, of a community of inquiry.
        The text as reflecting the values and achievements of past generations
        The text as mediator between the culture and the individual
        The text as highly peculiar object of perception that carries mental reflection already within itself
        The text as portraying human relationships as possibly analyzable into logical relations
        Taking turns reading aloud
        a. The ethical implications of alternating reading and listening
        The oral reproduction of the written text
        Turn taking as a decision labor: the beginnings of classroom community
        Gradual internalization of the thinking behavior of the fictional character ( e.g., to read how a fictional character asks a question may lead a real child to ask a question in class)
        Discovery by class that the text is meaningful and relevant; the appropriation by the members of the class of those meanings.
The construction of the agenda
        The offering of questions: the initial response of the class to the text
        Recognition by the teacher of the names of the contributing individuals
        The construction of the agenda as a collaborative work of the community
        The agenda as a map of areas of interest
        The agenda as index of what students consider important in the text and an impression of the group cognitive needs
        Cooperation of teacher and students in deciding where to begin the discussion
Solidifying the community
        Group solidarity through dialogical inquiry
        The primacy of activity over reflection
        The articulation of disagreements and the quest for understanding
        Fostering cognitive skills (e.g., assumption-finding, generalizations, exemplification) through dialogical practice
        Learning to employ cognitive tools (e.g., reasons, criteria, concepts, algorithms, rules, principles)
        Joining together in cooperative reasoning (e.g., building on each other's ideas, offering counterexample or alternative hypothesis, etc.)
        Individual internalization of the overt cognitive behavior of the community ( i.e., introjecting the ways in which classmates correct one another until each individual's cognitive behavior becomes systematically self-corrective)-or the "intrapsychical reproduction of the interpsychical " (Vygotsky)
        Becoming increasingly sensitive to meaningful nuances of contextual differences
        Group collectively groping its way along, following the argument where it leads
Using exercises and discussion plans
        Employing questions from the academic tradition: recourse to professional guidance
        Appropriation by the students of the methodology of the discipline
        Opening students to other philosophical alternatives
        Focusing on specific problems so as to compel the making of practical judgments
        Compelling the inquiry to examine overarching regulative ideas such as truth, community, personhood, beauty, justice, and goodness
Encouraging further responses
        Eliciting further responses (in the form of the telling or writing of stories, poetry, painting, drawing, and other forms of cognitive expression)
        Recognizing the synthesis of the critical and creative with the individual and the communal
        Celebrating the deepened sense of meaning that comes with strengthened judgment. ( pp. 241-243)

Community of Inquiry and Imposition

From a dialectical perspective, it is assumed that a pedagogical form like CI, in which students' narratives-in response to a presenting stimulus, i.e. the text--are taken unconditionally as the course agenda is more effective than a unilateral model, because the student/client receives not just ready-made knowledge, but also a dynamic structure in which to appropriate knowledge on the level of deepest personal and communal meaning. In fact the learner is expected to process three things at once: (a) the teacher's educational contents, in the form of the text and of the cognitive skills which the teacher is modeling and coaching; (b) a feeling of empowerment and ownership of one's own issues, ideas and feelings; (c) that crucial change element which system theorists call a "non-additive integrative element"-i.e. that element which, when it emerges in an open system, inevitably transforms it.

It might be argued that, since all educational systems are impositional, none can be open. But what distinguishes community of inquiry from all other educational systems is that it is one in which both teachers and students are licensed to impose their contents and meanings, which places it in almost direct opposition to a transmission model of education. For the latter, unilateral imposition is not an issue because it is assumed. In a bi- or multi-lateral model such as community of inquiry, every individual is understood as attempting to impose his or her meaning-model on the group. It is through the ensuing dialogue between these multiple models of meaning that the non-additive integrative element, which reconstructs the whole system, emerges. In this way, each individual meaning-model is both preserved, accepted, and transformed by the group process.

The transmission model does have-through the direct challenge which its impositional structure puts to students' assimilative powers-the capacity to trigger a powerful "digestive" or "editing" process, whereby stronger or more integrated individuals are able to incorporate "alien contents" into an integrated and personified construct of their own. As such, it is implicitly an elitist model. Whatever its transformative effects on those students capable of this process, the transmission model itself, as an internal structure, is ultimately not interested in the student's capacity to digest/assimilate, but only to replicate its elements. It is a system which is separated from its effects-and thus a system which, whatever its opening effects on certain individuals, is fundamentally closed. Community of inquiry is a profoundly both democratic and collectivist model because it assumes the reconstructive capacities of every individual in the group, and offers a cognitive and psychodynamic process-communal dialogue-through which that becomes a human possibility. The teacher insists that the student not only receive but give; that, rather than sacrifice her own meanings in order to learn, she carry them whole into the dialogue; that she experience the power-relations with the other and with the whole group as an active participant who bears equal measures of strength and vulnerability, of autonomy and interdependence, of talking and listening; of the capacity and disposition to think for herself and to think with others. As a model, CI can integrate even the transmission model-as long as it adds to a constructive group process--for it recognizes even such a model as simply another element in a system which is in continual transition. Thus, as soon as the transmission model is integrated into CI, it loses its directly impositional contents.

Community of Inquiry, Reconstruction, and Growth

We may now attempt roughly to layer onto Lipman's formulation an account of the psychodynamics of community of inquiry in order to bring out, from both a philosophical and a psychological point of view, its dialectical-systemic structure. The principles formulated here operate in the reconstructive growth-process both of the individual and of groups. It is not difficult to imagine how different is the model they represent from a monological educational one.
  • Stage 1. Exposure to emotionally and philosophically charged learning material, often in the form of a narrative. In psychotherapy, the material is brought by the client. In CI, each participant's material is triggered and shaped in its expression by the communal exposure to the narrative.
  • Stage 2. The organization of dialogical communication-actually a communal interpretation of the material which emerges from step one. The communication is conducted in a relatively safe atmosphere, and, in the case of Philosophy for Children, typically is structured around the deep assumptive meaning-structures which the discipline of philosophy explores-i.e. assumptions about persons, existence, being, experience, knowledge, relationship, justice, beauty, and so forth
  • Stage 3. A confrontation of perspectives, through which discrepancies between individual meaning-models emerge. Because this confrontation is socially mediated, and because it is based on the principles of dialogue, contradictory interpretations can be resolved at a more inclusive, integrated level of meaning than would be possible either for individuals or for dyads. Dialogue, whether between two or many, operates in the space of the inter-human, or the "between." It is both a psychological and a philosophical space of decentering--whether of ego or of the beliefs that maintain the ego in its illusory sovereignty. When we enter intersubjective space we find ourselves working with the system as a whole, rather than just with our individual piece of it. The system as a whole has-or is--a logic which is always beyond us, because its pattern of emergence is chaotic. All it promises in the moment is what Peirce refers to as a "lure," the intuitive sense that its most fundamental characteristic is dialectical, and that it is driving towards a new form of integration. In entering the system, we relinquish control of it, and the only way we find through it is to, as Lipman characterizes it for philosophy, "following the argument where it leads."
  • Stage 4. Reconstruction of group and individuals attitudes, which include new social perspectives, philosophical generalizations, and new forms of approach to learning situations and life-events. Reconstruction is always promised, but never complete except-again in the words of Peirce--"in the long run." Through entering the space of the system we begin to understand that reconstruction is continuous, and so come into some new relationship with the fact of change. The reconstruction will involve not only some new form of objectivity-the philosophical judgments which are made-but some new form of subjectivity, i.e. some new psychological information. Through entering the realm of intersubjectivity we discover ourselves as intersubjects. The intersubject thinks both for himself and with others, and feels that way as well.
The process presents us with a paradox: when a communicative event feels safe, participants--just because they do feel safe--move naturally toward a confrontation between their diverse meaning-models. As a result, a new level of safety and stability emerges-there has been an event of transcendence. If CI is stuck at the "safe" stage (Step 2) or at "confrontation" (Step 3), this transcendence would also necessarily occur, but on an emotional rather than a philosophical level. Following the predictable patterns of group dynamics, the participants who do not move consciously through and beyond confrontation, will sympathize or empathize each other, or even intuitively finish up the "unfinished business" (i.e. the elements of the confrontation), but this closure would most likely be detached from the level of conscious, personal, philosophical reflection and generalization. For example, a group member may not be satisfied with the behavioral style of another participant, and may attempt to express his concern towards her. She in turn may apologize for her "misbehavior," although objectively speaking this "misbehavior" could represent a projection of her critic's own meaning-model. Because she has conciliated, the issue remains unexplored, and thereby the situation is resolved emotionally-the complainant is disarmed without loss of face--but not cognitively or philosophically, i.e. on the level of fundamental assumptions. But the fact that resolution has been reached on the level of attitudes and dispositions-i.e. on the level of the intersubject-promises that the assumptions that triggered the confrontation in the first place will eventually present themselves for group exploration. In this case the psychological dynamic of CI leads the philosophical. In other cases, the placing of philosophical assumptions in the "between" of the intersubjective system will trigger the feelings and attitudes that are as much a part of their structure as is their cognitive content,

Uncertainty and the Collective Subject

Thus community of inquiry as a group process begins in safety, moves to a level of confrontation, whose resolution creates a new state of safety, and so on. It both requires and produces an attitude of unconditional positive regard among participants. Neither the pace, the style, nor the outcomes of this process are structurally prescribed. A group may move deeper in order to confront the more fundamental assumptions of each meaning-model, or it may, as in the example given above, back off and resolve the confrontation on a more surface level, which still leaves the opportunity for further exploration. If confrontation is not avoided, a group may even move to the level at which the facilitator herself loses "control" of the group, and each member then becomes responsible for the process of dialectical transcendence. This is the point at which the collective subject"-i.e. the unitary identity of the group as a whole-can begin to materialize. A form of responsibility emerges which is shared in diverse ways by each individual member of the collective subject--new kinds of commitment are born. The emergence of this group subject will never occur as long as the facilitator holds to the illusion of mastery and control.

The abdication of control of the group leader presents education as it is understood with a problem of the first magnitude. It could be speculated that the facilitator who has not taken this "last" step of relinquishing authority is simply another transmissional pedagogue disguised as a dialogue-facilitator. She still presumes to control the agenda, and resists the final reality that, if there is to be real transformation, the agent of control must be the collective subject. The moment of true unconditional positive regard emerges only when no one is "in charge," and it arrives as a sort of miracle-as does all systemic transformation--for its future is always contained, but in a state of mysterious indeterminacy, in its present. Community of inquiry pedagogy strikes at the heart of the transmission model because it alters the conditions of power in the classroom group. It deconstructs involuntarized hierarchical power relations, and locates power in the fluid matrix of inter-relations which, if lived in the immediacy of the between, allows the natural authority of each group member, and the emergent authority of the whole, to function for wholeness and transcendence. This is the heart of deep democracy.

In Summary

We are now in a position to characterize community of inquiry, not only in contradistinction to transmissional pedagogy, but as a model which is consonant with the new therapeutic modalities associated with open systems theory and dialectical psychology. Community of inquiry is a "whole" pedagogy, in that it recognizes the systemic nature of group process, the congruence of personal and social systems, and the identity-in-difference of thought and feeling, self and other, and individual and group. Above all it recognizes the fundamental urge-however tortuous and conflicted in its outworking--of both individual and social systems for self-actualizing transformation; for the chaotic passage to higher, both more inclusive and more diversified, levels of integration. In this regard it provides a deep-structural theory, not just for the democratic personality, but for democratic systems as well. It produces individuals who are capable of thinking both for themselves and with others, and thus provides a socialization model for the deliberative process which is essential to deep democracy. In comparison with traditional educational models, its basic operative principles are:

Unconditional positive regard versus conditional positive regard. In the latter, students (as well as teachers) are regarded as successful and qualified on the condition that they meet the authority's expectations. In CI, expectations and the authority to impose them are mutually constructed by members of the collective subject, and positive regard is the first and most basic characteristic of any healthy group-as-system.

Transition: "order through chaos" versus gradual change. In the latter, the nature of educational change is constructed as reversible and linear. Chaotic phenomena-such as misbehavior, learning anxiety or performance failure--are regarded as unhealthy, and teachers are strongly advised to avoid it in the classroom. In CI, chaos can be interpreted as a natural and adequate coping reaction to a certain aspect of group dynamics. In this sense, chaos signals a transitional moment in the process of the group. The process of transition is irreversible and non-linear: irreversible because the system never reverts to a former state, nor is it every finished transitioning into a future one; non-linear because the manner of change and transformation is not determined by gradual accumulation or deliberate sequencing, although these kinds of structures can be part of the system. A massive learning effect could be reached by minor change in the group or individual's development-the "non-additive integrative element."

Uncertainty: neither the pace, the style, nor the outcomes of the process are structurally prescribed; versus predetermination of all the components of the learning process. In the latter, it is presupposed that if the teacher is uncertain in the process or the outcomes of his educational interventions, then the learning process is uncontrolled and at risk of failure. To guard against this, the pace of learning is strictly regulated by the syllabus and by univocal pedagogical methods. In the former, each individual, the group and the curriculum form an emergent whole. The outcomes which result from their interaction cannot be fully predetermined; and it is just the element in the system which resists determination which is the one which promises transformation, for it is the element most likely to trigger the "non-additive integrative element." Learning becomes just as much a collective as an individual process. In addition, the system will not reject the introduction-when the context calls for it-of any particular style of teaching or learning. The facilitator may lecture sometimes, or direct students to specific tasks, or leave students alone to generate their own tasks. Style is determined by, rather than determining context.

The emergence of the collective subject as the unitary identity of the group as a whole--which implies commitment, responsibility and development--is the governing authority in the process; versus the individual subject (whether teacher or student) in charge. In the latter, group interests, values, commitments, cooperation, and communal identity-which are systems phenomena--are neglected and even rejected and avoided as potential elements in the learning process. In the former, the collective subject is understood as capable of a form of self-regulation which one person never could be. Democracy understood as a normative ideal is a form of radical optimism, for it posits individual and social life as an open system whose telos is unity-in-diversity, autonomy-in-interdependency, and individual health as both an element and an outcome of group health. Groups which do not, in the very process of the interactions which constitute them, emerge in a context of commitment, responsibility and development will never emerge into collective subjectivity, and will disband. Groups constituted by individuals who in their interactions move (or are moved) into the space of the between, enter a mutually regulating system which calls forth commitment, responsibility and development as the only way it which can be lived through-survived. As Levinas has shown us, the Other calls forth a form of responsibility which precedes, or is equally fundamental, as our responsibility to ourselves.

We may now have further insight into the resistance encountered by the community of inquiry model, both in the U.S. and Ukraine. For one, any model which understands the necessity of periodic crisis and reconfiguration in order to progress will be seen, on a common sense level, as disruptive of all forms of social and intellectual stability. We all tend to resist transitional phenomena. But in fact CI is the model of pedagogy and socialization which is probably most appropriate to transitional conditions-whether social, cultural, economic, or political. And the phenomenon of transition is common-given the emergent globalism of the 21st century--not just to post-Soviet countries, but to all political and social systems. Community of inquiry is a way of working, not against, but within transition. It accepts crisis, not for its own sake, but because it is necessary for transformation. It affirms that ongoing inquiry is the only way through transition. It is a form of radical ontological optimism.

Resistance itself is a part of any system in transition. It is equivalent to a defense mechanism on the individual level, which from a dialectical point of view provides one counterpoint within a network of shifting valences. The defense mechanism represents a previous balance or stability which insists on being recognized as part of the new balance which the system is seeking. Just as anti-bodies are necessary to a healthy immune system, so the phenomena of resistance and chaos are necessary elements for the healthy functioning of both individuals and systems. The principal of resistance as a trigger for transformation of a system is commonplace in the psychological literature. It is resistance which brings the elements of a stagnating system to a head, and precipitates change. In the educational realm, the introduction of community of inquiry as a model of curriculum and pedagogy offers a way to deal with the transition which is triggered by the moment of stagnation in the learning process. Given that stagnation in any system is a moment of crucial tension between emergent and stable (or once stable) elements of the system, i.e. a moment in which resistance is at its height, it is not surprising that any educational or social system would resist and even reject the community of inquiry model. But the process of confrontation and even temporary is itself a sign of ongoing assimilation (see Stage 3, above).

Now we may be in a position to answer the question about the possibilities offered by Philosophy for Children and its methodology in schools, at least in Ukraine. As a methodology, it acts to foster students' ability to transition, or deal with personal and social boundaries in situations of stagnation and uncertainty. As a program centered in philosophical inquiry, it provides a contextual structure for that transition which spans the distances between the psychological and the epistemological, the ontological and the metaphysical, the moral and the ethical, the individual and the social, and the personal and the political. For a system in chaos, it represents a way for individuals and groups to dwell in that chaos in a manner which is tuned to the emergent order which the system itself is seeking, and to position oneself for transformation and reintegration. Community of inquiry offers-both to individuals and to the "group subject"--the possibility of acting maiutically (as a midwife) rather than agonistically within the system. It builds our capacity to "listen" to the system, to probe and evaluate its shifting boundaries, rather than blindly to force or to flee them. It offers a form of mindfulness within the system which has the possibility of overcoming polarization and the forms of domination that implies. It represents the psychological and philosophical deep structure of "deep" democracy.

Proponents of Philosophy for Children in the U.S. interpret the program's transformative characteristics in a different way-it is generally regarded as offering a set of skills and dispositions which are capable of fostering critical thinking, higher order thinking, moral education, and democratic citizenship-but, given its implementation on the international level, has always been open to its development in directions isometric with the nation or culture which is appropriating it. But it could be argued that the Ukraine experience-even in its current nascent form-promises to be the deepest lesson available to those of us in the U.S. who see the program and its methodology as normative for a people committed to deep democracy. The Ukraine experiment promises us an experience, not just in the formation of the citizen, but-to use Rousseau's enigmatic but powerful distinction-the "man." Relative to the U.S., Ukraine could be viewed as both behind the U.S. and further along. From a dialectical perspective, this is a moment for Ukraine whose promise is only equaled by its risk. If we accept a dialectical, systems-perspective, we must assume, not only that the U.S. has been in a similar transitional moment before, but will be again. Nor can we discount the possibility that, should democracy emerge in Ukraine as an outcome of the current crisis, it will be stronger, more vital, more immediate-in short, "deeper"-than democracy as we find it in the U.S.

Meanwhile, psychologists, pedagogues and philosophers who are proponents of Philosophy for Children and community of inquiry in the U.S. might reflect from a systems perspective on the significance of the resistances encountered in their country, and generate and test theories and practices which would reflect the specifics of educational systems in transition. Philosophy for Children represents a first and most compelling set of theories and practices. The role it may take in U.S. schools in an increasingly chaotic world could go beyond current expectations. Should it overcome the resistances of the current educational system, it will only do so through engaging them, by recognizing and acting mindfully within the dynamics of a transitional system, which are characterized by interference resulting from systems overlap, leading to a complex and implicit process of displacement of old forms by new ones through the emergent stabilization of a chaotic situation, and eventual transformation of the system. The process is syncretistic, ecological, polymorphous and dynamic, apprehended non-theoretically, and ultimately, balance-seeking. Whereas in Ukraine Philosophy for Children enters a system in manifest chaos, it enters, in the U.S., a system in apparent entropy-where, to quote Nikolai Berdyaev, "Chaos can wear the appearance of absolute order." In one, it suggests a new order; in the other, the dismantling of an old one; but any such local and temporal distinctions may quickly become academic, for both are developmental system-states. Both undergo construction, de-construction and reconstruction in an atmosphere where resistance is as important as acceptance-where in fact the latter would be false apart from its dialectical relation with the former. Both are grounds for celebration even in the midst of struggle.

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