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ERIC Number: ED521498
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 184
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-4590-0
The Vita Activa as Compass: Navigating Uncertainty in Teaching with Hannah Arendt
Rogers, Carrie Ann Barnes
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota
This dissertation is an exploration of stories of uncertainty in the lives of elementary teachers and the value that the ideas of Hannah Arendt lend to the discussion around uncertainty. In "The Human Condition" (1958) Hannah Arendt theorizes the life of action, the "vita activa". Arendtian action is inherently uncertain because to be "capable of action means that the unexpected can be expected" from other humans (Arendt, 1958, p. 178). Therefore uncertainty is a condition of human relationships. Teaching is particularly uncertain because of the multiple relationships that teachers engage in on a daily basis. One way to explore and understand how teachers navigate the inherent unpredictability in human relationships is to listen to the stories they tell. The guiding questions of this narrative research inquiry are: What do we come to know about these teachers' experience by reading their stories through Arendt's ideas? And, how is the work of Arendt useful or helpful in examining action, experience, and uncertainty in teaching? Through my research I have come to understand that Arendt's vocabulary and conceptions are useful. Her ideas of public and private help elucidate that uncertainty occurs when teachers attempt to negotiate the boundaries between home and school. Arendt's ideas of action and behavior, and the components of thinking and thoughtlessness, help define teachers' action and reaction to uncertainty. Arendt's work also provides a vocabulary for critical discussion of stories in teacher education. I offer Arendt's ideas as a compass for teachers in reflecting on interactions and human relationships. Hannah Arendt's rich vocabulary and thoughtful ideas serve as tools, or a compass, to help teachers find their location and get their bearings as they navigate the unpredictable human relations embedded in teaching. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A