What is Transformative Learning?
According to Mezirow learning occurs in one of
by elaborating existing frames of reference,
by learning new frames of reference,
by transforming points of view, or
by transforming habits of mind.
And cognitive processing involves three levels:
First Order Thinking - compute,
memorise, read and comprehend
Metacognition - monitoring progress
and products of first order thinking
Transformative Learning - reflecting
on the limits of knowledge, the certainty of knowledge, and the
criteria for knowing. Emerges in late adolescents.
Transformative learning therefore involves the
transformation of frames of reference (points of view, habits of
mind, worldviews) and critical reflection on how we come to know.
“Transformation theory's focus is on how we learn to negotiate
and act on our own purposes, values, feelings, and meanings
rather than those we have uncritically assimilated from others
-- to gain greater control over our lives as socially
responsible, clear thinking decision makers.”
“... we transform frames of reference -- our own and those of
others -- by becoming critically reflective them of their
assumptions and aware of their context… Assumptions on which
habits of mind and related points of view are predicated may be
epistemological, logical, ethical, psychological, ideological,
social, cultural, economic, political, ecological, scientific,
or spiritual, or may pertain to other aspects of experience.”
learning refers to transforming a problematic frame of reference
to make it more dependable ... by generating opinions and
interactions that are more justified. We become critically
reflective of those beliefs that become problematic.”
Jack et al. (2000) Learning as Transformation
Do we need to be more
explicit about Transformative Learning?
recently Transformative Learning has largely been the province of
adult learning theory. However there are several reasons to consider
transformative learning theory and practice for students
(particularly adolescents) in schools and colleges.
transition to adult life often involves personal
transformation as students move from a safe school environment
to take on complex work, study and social responsibilities.
Transformative learning equips students with the concepts and
understanding necessary to make a success of this transition.
students are led to a deeper understanding of concepts and
issues their fundamental beliefs and assumptions may be
challenged leading to a transformation of perspective or
worldview. Students who understand transformative learning may
be better able to recognise the common stages of transformative
change and have the tools to assist them during this process.
ask students to develop critical and reflective thinking skills
and encourage them to care about the world around them they may
decide that some degree of personal or social transformation
is required. Students will need the tools of transformative
learning in order to be effective change agents. Otherwise
students may feel disempowered, become pessimistic about the
future, fear change, or develop a degree of cynicism towards
those who promote change.
are living through a period of transformational change in
society and culture. Students will be better able to understand
and deal with such change if they understand the nature of
transformation and the impact it has on individuals, groups,
organizations and nations.
Books on Transformative
Education and Learning