The Increasing Need for Learning through Ambiguity

Two different articles in the New York Times, 10/29/13 really demonstrate how technology increasingly adds to the complexity of policy decision making and requires the ability to deal with blurring, ambiguous situations for political discussions. One is the issue of teachers and principals watching students on the internet (Warily, Schools Watch Students On the Internet) and various social media sites for inappropriate, hazing behavior. Leaving school no longer provides separation from the impact of others. Where does responsibility for student behavior that begins in school and continues virtually throughout remaining day lie. The lines between school interaction, social, and private life are blurring and inter-penetrating.

The furor over the spying on allies including their personal communications is another example (Obama May Ban Spying on Heads of Allied States). Spying always occurred but connections were not 24/7 and virtually traceable. More blurring lines; who is an ally, when does that shift? In both cases rules and policies become less clear as the various spaces of the life-world increasingly connect and feedback and consequences interact across spaces. When acting in these interconnecting spaces how does one act ethically?  Learning through paradox and dialogue is a competency that increasingly needs development, not just for “leaders” but for everyone. The ultimate paradox is that at same time technical academic skills are needed to function in the world, so is the ability to think critically even as the parameters one is thinking critical about change. This is not a problem that can be solved by teaching to the test.