Transformative Learning in the Ivory Tower!

For way too long there has been a split between the traditional courses of universities and the non-traditional, transformative workshops that are popping up all over the world, especially in places like the SF Bay Area. A bridge is being built between them in the form of universities like California Institute of Integral Studies. However, transformative education has been looked down upon, or at least been perceived with cynicism and suspect, by traditional Ivory Tower schools like Columbia, Stanford and Harvard Universities. But now it seems that the traditional world is catching on, realizing this is where the future is, and the incredible power of the transformational curriculum is showing up on traditional programs.

Here is the best example I’ve seen so far. I intend to take this course with the intention of teaching a similar course at my own education center in NY and SF Bay. To me it is one of the most important bridges that is needed in education at this time!

ORLD 4828

Imagination, Authenticity, Individuation, and Transformative Learning

Facilitated by Patricia Cranton

Background

The theory of transformative learning has developed over three decades into a comprehensive and complex description of how learners construe, validate, and reformulate the meaning of their experiences. The impact of transformative learning on the theory and practice of adult education is recognized by all scholars in the field.

Traditional transformative learning theory, as developed by Jack Mezirow, relies heavily on learning as an individual, cognitive process. Though Mezirow does acknowledge the role of intuition, imagination, and affect in the process, they are not central to his theory. Also, Mezirow recognizes the importance of social change as a goal of adult education, but he sees his focus as being on the individual learner. He suggests that it is the educator’s job to help individuals get to a place where they can work toward social change, but it is not the educator’s goal to address social change directly.

Transformative learning scholars have expanded and elaborated on traditional transformative learning in a variety of ways. Many new works have appeared in recent years, emphasizing more imaginative and intuitive approaches to transformative learning theory (see the reference list). In this course, Transformative Learning: Imagination, Authenticity, and Individuation, I we can review the traditional theory and then turn to an in-depth exploration of the more recent developments in the field.

Tentative Topics and Time Frame

Introductions (Jan 20 to Jan 27)
Traditional Transformative Learning Theory (readings from reading list) (Jan 27 to Feb. 3)
Transformative Learning: Multiple Ways of Knowing (Chapter 2, text) (Feb. 3 to Feb 17)
Intuition, Imagination, and Affect (readings from reading list) (Feb. 17 to March 3)
Planning the remainder of the topics (March 3 to March 10)
Remaining topics to be decided based on planning session.
Text and Readings

The text for the course is:

Hoggan, C., Simpson, S., & Stuckey, H. (2009). Creative expression in tranformative learning: Tools and techniques for educators of adults. Malabar FL: Krieger.

Additional readings will be available online as we go.

Learning Projects

Participants who are taking this course for three credits will be asked to engage in a learning project in addition to their participation in the course discussions.

The choice for the content and format of learning projects is completely open. Here are some things that people have chosen to do in other transformative learning courses:

a short story illustrating transformative learning
an autobiography or life story related to your transformative experiences
a poem
a painting, photograph collage, or drawing
a review of a book or article on transformative learning
an integrative essay on various perspectives on transformative learning
a CD of music selections representing a transformative journey
a reflective journal

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