Transformative education is the process of encouraging students to change from being receptacles of knowledge to more meaningful learning through considering diverse viewpoints and questioning their own beliefs, values, and assumptions. Students need a safe environment where they self-reflect and develop hypotheses, test solutions, explore diverse opinions, and become truly engaged in the learning process. Students come to any class with different experiences, prior knowledge, abilities, learning styles, attitudes toward gender and diversity, and personal and social values. The entire person is brought to the learning environment: values and the full gamut of particular life world circumstances, including cognitive dispositions. Whether they realize it or not, students are emotionally, as well as intellectually, committed to certain ideologies and narratives that support particular versions of truth and meaning. By designing a curriculum and classroom that fosters reflection on values and on diverse versions of the truth, transformative learning and personal growth can flourish.
This paper presents ideas about how to design the curriculum and the classroom to foster transformative learning in two different content areas. Different pedagogical practices, appropriate to different kinds of courses. One key is focusing on the students’ process from identifying topics of particular interest through hypothesis formulation and development of research strategies. One author teaches in a Department of Educational Psychology at a large, public university. The other author teaches a required core curriculum course for sophomore students on Global and Historical Studies at a small, private, comprehensive university. Both have encountered obstacles and opportunities in their efforts to understand and implement transformative learning and are committed to designing a learning process that features experiencing, conceptualizing, analyzing, and applying both new information and new ways of coming to know.
|Keywords:||Designing Curricula, Transforming Learning, Hypothesis Development, Pedagogical Practices, Testing Hypotheses|
Professor, Modern Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA
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