Hello, My name is Rose Rearley, today I am going to discuss an adult learning theory known as transformative learning. I want to welcome you in joining me in this discussion.
Jack Meziow is considered to be the major developer of the transformative learning theory. Mezirow’s theory was first introduced in 1978.Meziow’s fully developed idea on transformative learning looks at learning from a psycocritical perspective . Mezirow’s theory concerns how adults make sense of their life experiences.Many aticles, books and dissertations have been written on Mezirows’ theory.
Another idea on Transformative learning is influenced by the works of Robert Boyd.Boyd looks at learning through a psychoanalytic perspective and how symbols and the unconscious are important in transformative learning.Boyd sees transformation as an inner journey to individualism
And another view on transformative learning comes from Laurent Daloz, a teacher and administrator, who looks at transformative learning from a psycho-developmental approach.Daloz challenges that transformative learning comes from intuition and the importance of stories in the process.
Like the butterfly, transformative learning is a shift of perception that significantly and permanently changes our existence of being in the world. Transformative learning changes how we know.(Baumgartner,2003)Transformative Learning is about change. Change in the way we see ourselves and the world in which we live.Not all learning is transformative.
Mezirow defines transformative learning as “ the process by which we transform our taken-for-granted frames of reference (meaning schemes, habits of mind, and mindsets) to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, emotionally capable of change and reflection so that they may generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true (Merriam, 2007)Boyd defines transformative leaning as a fundamental change in one’s personality involving conjointly the resolution of a personal dilemma and the expansion of consciousness resulting in greater personality integration. (Merriam 2007)Daloz sees the goal of transformative learning as a lifelong personal development. People need to make meaning of their experiences. Daloz feels that individuals are in a developmental transition when they seek higher education (Merriam, 2007)
All agree that transformative learning is a theory of adult learning thatcenters on the individual person and his or her structuring of meaning based on their ownlife experiences.
Transformative learning is altered by life changes, ideas or insights that leads to changes in the way an individual thinks or sees situations.
According to Mezirow there are 10 steps that individuals go through before transformative leaning is achieved.
An individual has to have a Disorienting dilemma or a life event or experience such as death of a loved one,an illness that they experience or a crisis they experiencedthat cannot be resolved through the application of previous problem-solving strategies The individual Engages in self-examination with feelings of fear, shame, anger or guilt. They feel ashamed or angry that they do not know all there is to know about the disorienting dilemma That individual does a Critical assessment of assumption by refocusing on how the dilemma is affecting their life. Through networking and possible support groups there is Recognition that others have gone through a similar process: New roles, relationships and actionsare formed by asking what can be done to help others that have gone through the same thing?
The individual then Formulates a plan consisting of four steps that include: acquiring knowledge and skills to implement the plan, trying out new roles, renegotiating relationships, some past relationships and actions may need to be discarded or reanalyzed and building confidence and self assurance in the new role
And the last step in Mezirows 10 step process of transformative learning is the reintegration back into life with the new, transformed perspective
Robert Boyd’s work of transformative learning focuses of the deeper emotional and spiritual dimensions of learning.Boyd indicates that dialogue, between our ego and other unconscious structures that occupy the psyche, such as the Shadow, Anima and Animus, is important to the transformative learning process. Boyd’s notion is images, symbols, rituals, fantasies and imagination plays a role in transformative learning(Dirkx,2000)Boyd’s research and understanding paid attention to the individual’s ability to work with themselves and the ability to take care of any problems they are going through.Mezirow’s research focused on self-reflection while Boyd’s research focused upon discernment within the transformative learning theory.
Discernment means using images and symbols to create a personal imageDiscernment is composed to three different steps:
The first step in discernment is an individual has to think about things with an open mind. An individual needs to be receptive of new information.
The second step toward discernment individuals need to recognize what things need to be changed and recognize what is actually going on around them
And the last step in discernment according to Boyd is grieving.Grieving is probably the most important step in discernment.Grieving is when the individual tosses away their old thoughts or actions and integrates a new way of thinking or doing things into their lives (Bear, 2006).
Daloz feels there are three “maps” of adult development.Daloz does not project what is the end point in a transformational journey.
Daloz’s first map deals with the phase theories of adult development and the common tasks and problems associated with aging that people face.These tasks can be determined by culture with considerations ofage, gender, class and ethnics.
Deloz’s second map of development deals with cognitive growth and the ability of an individual to think outside their cultural beliefs
Daloz’s third map deals with changing our thinking from immature, simple thinking to complex and relativistic reasoning
There are four main components of transformative learning:
The fist component is experience. Adults bring with them a depth of experience that can be used as a resource for their and others’ learning. Dimensions of experience include vicarious experiences, simulated experiences, collaborative experiences and introspective experiences such as meditation.The learner must critically reflect on his or her experience, and obtain enough information to act upon their new perspective.
The next component, critical reflection is considered as the most distinguishing characteristic of adult learning. Critical reflection is when an individual investigates their thoughts. Where one develops doubt and questions their views. An individual must critically reflect on his or her experience, talk with others about his or her new perspective and gather enough information to act upon their new ideas.Reflection is a cognitive process. An individual must analyze their beliefs and assumptions of their past experiences.When an individual changes their assumptions and beliefs and initiates a new plan through critical reflection, transformative learning has occurred.
The third component of transformative learning is Reflective discourse. Reflective discourse is considered the medium for transformation, as individuals explore their own views of ideas and articulate those ideas. Discourse in transformative learning rests on the assumptions that: It is rational only as long as it meets the conditions necessary to create understanding with another;It is to be driven by objectivity; All actions and statements are open to question and discussion; Understanding is arrived through the weighing of evidence and measuring the insight and strength of supporting arguments and; The primary goal is to promote understanding among others (Taylor, 1998) .For discourse to take place an individual needs to have complete and accurate information, be free of self-deception, be able to evaluate arguments objectively, have empathy, and have an equal opportunity to participate in the various roles of discourse.( Meriam, 2007)Discourse is not a war or debate, it is a conscience effort to find an agreement and to build a new understandingSociocultural factors such as race, sex, and class may determine how critical reflection and rational discourse occursIn order for critical reflection and rational discourse to occur trust, friendship and support are necessary.
The final component to transformative learning is to take action on the newly learned ideas.Action may be immediate, ordelayed or a reasoned reaffirmation of an existing pattern of action (Merriam, 2007)
For transformative leaning to be facilitated, educators must assist learners to become aware and critical of their own, and others ideas. Leaner’s must be given the opportunity to asses their current perspectives and approaches to life and given the opportunity to change these perspectives and approaches.(Mezirow,1997)The role of the teacher is to build trust and care from their learners. A fundamental principle of fostering transformative learning is to create a community of knowers from their learners.(Imel,1998)The teacher acts as a mentor of lifelong development in the transformative learning process. A Mentor acts as a guide, cheerleader, challenger, and supporter during the learning process. The teacher/mentor develops new perspectives that challenges students to examine their present feelings of self conception and their place in the world.The learners role is to create an environment that transformative learning can occur (Imel, 1998)
There are two domains of Learning
The first domain of learning is known as instrumental learning which involves problem solving by seeking cause and effect relationshipsInstrumental learning is learning through task-oriented problem solving. (Bear, 2006)
The second domain of learning is known as communicative learning which involves learning what people mean when they communicateCommunicative learning deals with how individuals communicate their feelings, needs and desires with another person.Communicative learning assists learners to become critical, autonomous and responsible thinkers.When an individual is involved in communicative learning they learn to solve problems critically and reflect on their and others assumptions.
The outcome of transformative learning is development that is irreversible, we do not regress to levels of less understanding.Transformative learning changes people. They are different afterward, in ways they and others can recognize
Thank you for attention, during this presentation, I hope you enjoyed it and learned a little about the transformative learning theory.
Transformative Learning<br />By<br />Rose Rearley<br />EDUC-8101-13 How Adults Learn: Theory and Research<br />Dr. Stacy Wahl<br />Walden University<br />
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