In Praise of Uncertainty, Amiguity and Wonder


  • Boyd Eric White McGill University


ekphrasis, ambiguity, wonder, educational values, education, complexity, arts-based research


This article takes its direction from notable educators such as John Dewey and Elliot Eisner who argue in favour of endorsing uncertainty and related responses within educational practice. The argument is a push-back against current emphasis on standardization, with its accompanying focus on single right answers that don’t do justice to the complexities inherent in our daily lives. The dual nature of uncertainty is exemplified in the depiction of one person’s interactions with two famous paintings. To provide the reader with a parallel encounter with uncertainty, the article includes a short video and concludes with an ekphrastic poem in response to the video, to illustrate the points being made.



Author Biography

Boyd Eric White, McGill University

Associate Professor

Department of Integrated Studies in Education

Faculty of Education

McGill University



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How to Cite

White, B. E. (2021). In Praise of Uncertainty, Amiguity and Wonder. McGill Journal of Education / Revue Des Sciences De l’éducation De McGill, 55(3). Retrieved from



Special Issue - Artistic and Creative Inquiries