TRANSFORMATIVEEDUCATION FRAMEWORK Kurt Love, Ph.D. Central Connecticut State University
WHAT IS A TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION?Transformative education exists at the nexus of: Human Rights Sustainability ImaginationTransformative education is community-centric and focused on supporting students to enact social and ecological democracy
WHAT IS A TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION?Transformative education exists at the nexus of: Human Rights Humans have the right to survive free of oppression Sustainability Preserving ecology by not depleting resources beyond what is able to be replenished for future generations Imagination Use of creativity to explore curiosity and use of spirit to explore fulﬁllmentTransformative education is community-centric and focused on supporting students to enact social and ecological democracy
What is Transformative Learning?Learning is a processof changing one’srelationships withher/his community,which consist ofinterconnections withnature and society.
ThinkingConvergent Thinking -All paths lead to a single destination. This is rooted in abelief that there is only one “Truth.”Traditional Liberal/Progressive scaf Truth Thought fold New Truth d Thought scaffolThought Thought
ThinkingDivergent Thinking -Explore many paths in authentic settings with questionsthat have no predetermined answer. Transformative New NewThought Thought Relationship Critical Communities Info Questioning New NewThought Thought Relationship
Divergent Thinking & Transformative LearningDivergent thinkingcontextualized incommunity providesstudents to not onlylearn “basic” skills, butalso opportunities fordemocratic discourse,participation andcontributions to theworld in which theylive.
We Teach “Reality”Are teachers allowed to teach about lesser known information?
What is Transformative Learning?Assumptions: • Information is diverse, culturally grounded, and a representation of a value system (knowledge/power relationship). • Learners are constantly investigating their own locations (positionalities) in relationship to culture, ideology, power structures, technology, and nature. • Learners are constantly investigating processes in community (via the content areas) that perpetuate hegemonic relationships
Power & EducationPower-Over Power Power-WithDomination Nature Ecologicalover nature, sustainability,social injustice, human-naturedocile & connection,oppressed Education social justice,student students engaged in creating social Community and ecological justice
TRANSFORMATIVE FRAMEWORK1. Questioning power/knowledge relationships2. Students voices are legitimized3. “Thick description”4. Community-based learning: relevant, authentic, and contemporary connections • Connecting with art, spirituality, emotions, and nature5. Students-as-researchers6. Teacher-as-mediator
QUESTIONING POWER STRUCTURES AND POWER/KNOWLEDGE RELATIONSHIPSKnowledge is created by the privileged dominant elites of a society andreﬂects the views and values of that group.This “knowledge” becomes part of the general consensus of realityKnowledge from the privileged dominant elites may have hidden messagespresent in the form of Eurocentrism, White privilege, racism,classism, patriarchy, anthropocentrism, androcentrism,scientism, corporatism, hyper-patriotism, consumerism,globalization, naturism, heterosexism, homophobia, etc.Questioning this relationship often means re-centering marginalizedvoices.
3 Types of Curricula• Mainstream Curriculum - Curriculum that is explicit• Hidden Curriculum - Messages that are present but hidden (i.e. forms of oppression and privilege)• Null Curriculum - Messages that are silenced, omitted, or marginalized.
3 Ways to Teach About Columbus• Mainstream Curriculum - Columbus was a strong, brave “explorer” that opened the doors for European colonization of the Americas.• Hidden Curriculum - Europeans are more advanced and sophisticated than the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Eurocentrism, patriarchy, technology over nature.• Null Curriculum - Columbus violently exploited and dominated the indigenous peoples of the Americas, which was part of a larger European mindset that allowed for genocide, enslavement, assimilation, colonization and in contemporary settings, globalization (or global Westernization).
STUDENT VOICES ARE LEGITIMIZEDStudents generate knowledge, which is seen aslegitimate by the teacher.The student’s experiences, worldviews, value systems,and identities are legitimate lenses of analysis of thecontent.This applies especially to students of color, femalestudents, GLBTQ students, working class or poorstudents, or any students that have socially and/orculturally oppressed identities.
“THICK DESCRIPTION”Superﬁcial Mainstream These two Message might set up a Null binary Message These two Relationships generally show a complexity not Tensions binary “packaged” Deep info
“THICK DESCRIPTION”Avoid binaries(including the binary relationship between mainstream and nullcontent)The “Who” matters: Students should be able to articulateknowledge and understandings from different social, cultural, andpolitical frames.Include null content, relationships and tensions.
FAST FOOD RESTAURANTSMainstream: Fun, tasty, family-orientedNull: UnhealthyRelationships & Tensions: Serves millions everyday, especially those that have limited access to foodAvoid binary-thinking here, but can use this deeperunderstanding to work for a “sustainable” change
AUTHENTIC CONTEXTSAuthentic contexts are real world issues that arecurrently present.Teachers need to take time to research and understandthese current topics, know and develop meaningfulrelationships in the community, and turn them intocognitively appropriate questions for students to exploreand investigate.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENTThe classroom is extended beyond the traditional “four walls.”Students explore knowledge that is present in the communitythrough connecting with cultural commons -- elders,artists, musicians, government ofﬁcials, activists, communityorganizers, journalists, health care workers, researchers, familymembers, etc.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN THE CULTURAL COMMONSOral histories Connecting with artists/ musiciansEthnographies Field tripsRaising Awareness Meeting/petitioning gov’tArt Exhibits ofﬁcialsActivism InterviewsConnecting with elders ObservationsConnecting with community Comedy Nightleaders Slam Poetry Evening
COMMUNITYINVOLVEMENT STAGE 1 Researching the CommunityInterviews Ethnography(family, friends, members of (cultural thick description)organizations, leaders, veterans, artists,scientists, lawyers) Participatory Research (reporting on their experiences)Observations(the mall, school, sporting event, school Demographic Research (census, statedance, playground, on the internet via dept websites)social network sites, environment) Literature ResearchCase Study (local newspapers, internet)(focus on one person, group, location,ecology) Field Trips as sites for all of these
COMMUNITYINVOLVEMENT STAGE 2 Action in the CommunityArt Exhibits Theatre of the Oppressed(Art show, public art, instillations, eco- (Forum theater, rainbow of desire,art, murals, street art, “guerrilla art”) image theater, legislative theater)Poetry Slams Reports & Publications (Writing to local newspaper, having aCritical Performances journalist present, BOE meetings,(Plays, musicals, choir pieces that community groups, WWW)rework and recontextualize texts orexisting pieces) Documentary Film (Local issues, local attitudes, localVideo Game projects, ﬁlm festival)(Social or Eco-themed) Habitat for Humanity House
TEACHERS ROLE = TEACHER-AS-MEDIATORTeacher provides various sociocultural contexts for students toexplore and research.The point here is not to stop at just the "facts" of the curriculum.The point is to really interrogate knowledge and curriculum throughdifferent sociocultural perspectives or frames and provide learningexperiences where students provide thick description by investigatingauthentic questions.
HARTFORD TO WATERBURYTraditional: “How can you drive from Hartford to Waterbury?” Teacher gives directions and students meet at a predetermined destination. Students graded on their ability to follow directions and arrive at destination under a strict timetable
HARTFORD TO WATERBURYLiberal/Progressive: “How can you drive from Hartford to Waterbury?” Students can choose their own path to drive to predetermined destination. Students graded on their ability to describe their directions and arrive at destination under a ﬂexible to strict timetable.
HARTFORD TO WATERBURY,NEW HAVEN TO BRIDGEPORTTransformative: “What are issues and challenges that different peoples experience with transportation from Hartford to Waterbury? To what extent do they differ from New Haven to Bridgeport?” Students investigate issues of social justice connected to transportation between Hartford and Waterbury as well as New Haven to Bridgeport. Students graded on their “thick descriptions” generated through their investigations. Timetable is ﬂexible based on the needs of their studies.
STUDENT OUTCOMES:HARTFORD TO WATERBURYTraditional: Students describe directions from Hartfordto Waterbury (by car)Liberal/Progressive: Students describe directions theywant to take, but still result with the same directions as thegoal (most likely by car)Transformative: Students analyze issues of accessibilityand equity for people of different levels of socioeconomicbackgrounds, and they also describe the directions (by car &mass transportation)
STUDENTS ROLE = STUDENT-AS-RESEARCHERStudents focus on understanding "authentic" issues in the world.They examine, explore, interpret, research, and studydifferent sociocultural contexts, histories, and relationships. Statistics Ethnographies Surveys Artistic Interpretations Demographics Interviews Case Studies Biographies
STUDENTS ROLE =STUDENT-AS-RESEARCHERStudents are generally focused on answering authenticquestions that connect back to these:1. Who are we as a community?2. What are we doing?3. What do we want to do?
ART & AUTHENTICITYArt brings us immediately to the facts and skills thatare in our curriculaArt locates us in the issues of community
JUST THE “FACTS” Community Community: Who we are,Learning Art what we’re is doing, and engaged what we wantbecause of to do Facts the Skills Art: context, Concepts Ways to not explore and interpret the relationships content and knowledge in community
VIDEO LINKSZoe Weil & Solutionarieshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5HEV96dIuYKen Robinson & Divergent Thinkinghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4UMessages in Waterhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q3QlqaLzyo