Developing Sustainable International Social Work Initiatives: Reality or Illusion? Student Learning and Development Ron Marks Tulane School of Social Work Boston, June 7, 2008
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust
The more foreign the experience, the better the potential for real personal development.
Transformative Learning Involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world.
Such a shift involves: - Our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; - Our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; -Our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender;
- Our body awareness; - Our visions of alternative approaches to living; and - Our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy O’Sullivan, E. (1999) Transformative learning: Educational Vision for the 21st Century. Oronto: OISE/UT Press.
Essential Components (the process): 1. A disorienting dilemma 2. Self examination 3. A critical assessment of assumptions 4. Recognition that one’s discontent and process of transformation are shared and that others have negotiated a similar change
<ul><li>Exploration of options for new roles, relationships, and actions </li></ul><ul><li>Planning of a course of action </li></ul><ul><li>Acquisition of knowledge and skills for implementing one’s plans </li></ul><ul><li>Provisionally trying out new roles </li></ul>
<ul><li>Building of competence and self- confidence in new roles and relationships </li></ul><ul><li>A reintegration into one’s life on the basis of conditions dictated by one’s new perspective. </li></ul>
Essential Conditions: --Ideal leaning conditions promote a sense of safety, openness and trust --Effective instructional methods that support a learner-centered approach
Additional Essential conditions: --The importance of activities that encourage the exploration of alternative personal perspectives, problem-posing, and critical reflection.
--The necessity for teachers to be trusting, empathetic and caring, authentic, sincere, and demonstrating a high degree of integrity --The emphasis on personal self- disclosure
--The essentiality of discussing and working through emotions and feelings before critical reflection --the importance of feedback and self-assessment --solitude --self-dialogue
Observable Outcomes based on: - Students’ journal entries, - in-depth individual interviews, - informal individual dialogues - Group meetings - Final written assignments
Suggests that, in addition to imparting knowledge of international and multicultural practice, this and other similar programs foster: - Transformative developmental processes involving self-reflection, - Values clarification, - Critical reflection, - Increased multicultural and global awareness, and
“ Conscientization” (critical consciousness) regarding - Structural inequities, - Poverty, - Oppression, - Privilege, and - the nature of social problems.
Additional observations: reexamination of values related to: - consumerism, - materialism, - personal happiness, - awareness of oppression and social injustice, - cultural differences and - the interconnectedness of the world community
References Barlow, C. A. (2007). In the third space: A case study of Canadian students in a social work practicum in India. International Social Work, 50, 243-254. Boyle, D. P., Nackerud, L. & Kilpatrick, A. (1999). The road less traveled: cross- cultural, international, experiential learning. International Social Work, 42, 201- 214. Jorgensen, D. L. (1989). Participant observation: A methodology for human studies. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Taylor, E. W. (1998). The theory and practice of transformative learning: A critical review. Columbus, OH: Eric Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Employment, Ohio State University College of Education.