Transformative Learning

Yesterday, Nellie Deutsch educator and transformative learning advocate, talked about this very subject.  Transformative learning notions were developed by Jack Mezirow. He believed that learning could evoke psychological changes, in the understanding of self, convictional changes in the belief system and behavioural changes in the lifestyle.During the lesson we were encouraged to connect these ideas to other theories ofl learning. The names of humanist psychologists: Maslow, Carl Rogers and educators such as Dewey came up.We were also asked to examine our approach to teaching and reflect on whether we as teachers were able to take our students outside of their comfort zone in order to promote learning and change. Did we foster routine or were we full of surprises?

Intuitively, transformative learning feels right. It is, in many ways, what I have been practicing for years.

* actively listening to students

* creating an open classroom and encouraging free discussion

* dealing with subjects that have personal and political meaning

* befriending students and respecting their opinion

* reserving criticism and judgement

* encouraging creativity and imagination

* allowing learners to direct Learning

The process of transformation may be on simple skills, however it may involve self-criticism, uncertainty and feelings of pain if the transformation involves the person and their beliefs. Many issues arise from this. The role of the teacher is moving towards theorapist. To what extent is this acceptable? On top of that, to what extent can/ should we open the minds of those learners who live in a society that is not democratic? Paul Friere, used education as a means to emancipation he believed personal awareness led to the political. The underlying aim is to develop  an ability to assess assumptions critically and creatively. The learner is active in the Learning process and empowered.

However, these ideas remain  abstract. Nellie asks us to reflect on how these ideas can be translated into our classroom environment. She suggests that, by creating an atmosphere of unpredictability and  change, we can take students out of their comfort zone and in a sense ‘wake them up’. This is in line with change management training going on in some companies.  Employees are coached and encouraged to embrace change rather than resist it.. However they are not invited to question the assumptions imposed upon them, so the approach may not induce deep.seated Learning as was the intent of Mezirow.

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4 thoughts on “Transformative Learning

  1. Thanks for the invite to read your blog–Loved it! Looking forward to learning more from you and with you in class. Happy Blogging!

      1. Loved your posts. Your writings on transformative learning were really profound and informative. I would like to share them with my students.

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