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
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.