Teaching Notes: Interpreting Controversy (Kim Sikoryak)


These presentation notes were used by instructor Kim Sikoryak in his 2005 TEL Broadcast on Interpreting Controversy.

The National Park Service is a microcosm of the fundamental democratic axiom that drives the American experiment: People are happiest and society works best when everyone is accorded the maximum freedom to pursue their own, self-defined best interest to the limit that that freedom does not adversely impact the equal rights of others, including our descendants, to do the same.

Parks mean something to people—just not the same thing to all people. That’s why parks are controversial. Interpreters embrace controversy as an energizing force for personal exploration of multiple points of view. They recognize controversies as powerful engines for civic engagement. Broader perspectives make for better-informed decisions—a necessity for a successful democracy.

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