The Johns University chapter of Phi Delta Kappa will host a book talk and reception with Dr. LaMarr D. Shields. What I Learned in the Midst of KAOS is not just a memoir. It is also an educational narrative full of researched-‐based strategies and poignant commentary on some of our most pressing educational and societal issues. In this way, the book stands out from others in both the genres of memoir and educational texts.
Using his own life as a backdrop, Dr. Shields’ narrative pushes readers to deconstruct issues ranging from the disenfranchisement of many of our students of color and the cultural competency preparedness of our teachers to educational inequities within and across communities and the effects of trauma on schools and learning. The book addresses these issues, while also delivering a refreshing and hopeful vision for the relationship between education and humanity, where the two coexist within a paradigm that Dr. Shields’ calls Ubuntu teaching – a way of viewing education through the time-‐honored tradition of the African philosophy of Ubuntu. Ubuntu teaching values community and the symbiotic relationships that exist between all of us in an interdependent web of mutuality. In the words of the great Desmond Tutu, Ubuntu means “not ‘I think therefore I am,’ but rather ‘I am human because I belong, I participate, I share,’” and it is this spirit of Ubuntu that not only frames the narrative of What I Learned in the Midst of KAOS and Dr. Shields’ journey, but also guides the larger framework of the outreach efforts we’re leading in conjunction with this book.