Ted Tetsuo Aoki

Ted T. Aoki

October 17, 1919–August 31, 2012

“…to be educated is to be ever open to the call of what it is to be deeply human, and heeding the call to walk with others in life’s ventures”

~Ted Aoki, the most prominent curriculum scholar of his generation, in Canada.

The passionate, deeply-committed sensei (teacher), Dr Ted Tetsuo Aoki, Professor Emeritus of the University of Alberta, was still in the classroom in his eighties. He had taught every class level between kindergarten and doctoral studies. While he was the first Director of the Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of British Columbia, it was in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta that he spent most of his academic years and where he was Chair.

His enduring legacy is the profound impact on several generations of teachers through his writing and theorizing on curriculum and pedagogy. Dr. Aoki is distinctive in the way that he mentored others into a way of thinking, a way to be with others, a way of living in the world, a transformative way of learning. He re/conceptualized curriculum internationally, interweaving phenomenology, post-structuralism, and multiculturalism into his life and work.

Through his words and through the words of those mentored by him, you can be tutored by Dr. Aoki and join the many students who encounter/ed the challenging learning opportunities that he presented. Dr. Ted Aoki was a rare teacher who transformed those encountering his work. He has greatly broadened the notion of curriculum to encompass cultures, languages and lived experiences.

In “A Lingering Note” speech at the celebratory evening for Dr. Ted. T. Aoki, University of British Columbia, Feb. 28th, 2003, William Pinar notes that “there need to be studies of Aoki’s influence on generations of younger scholars, and not only in Canada.” (Pinar,W. (December 2003). “A Lingering Note” Comments on the Collected Works of Ted T. Aoki Educational Insights, 8(2).)

Two years later, Bill Pinar collaborates with Rita Irwin to present a collection of Ted’s work:
Pinar, W. F., & Irwin, R. L. (Eds.). (2005). Curriculum in a new key: The collected works of Ted T. Aoki. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Ted & June Aoki

“But on this bridge, we are in no hurry to cross over; in fact, such bridges lure us to linger.” ~Ted Aoki


Ted’s obituary by Doug Aoki provided much information used here and the obituary photo was the source for the top image.

The photo of Ted and his wife, June, on the bridge was described by Bruce Hill in his reading at the April 25th University of Lethbridge Book celebration. Bruce kindly supplied the image for use on the LifeWriting.ca website.

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