Notes from The Sixth International Transformative Learning Conference Michigan State University Oct 6-8, 2005

“What Might Education for Transformation Look Like?”
Dr. John M. Dirkx, Michigan State University, Oct 8

Ego and rationality are servants of the education process. Learning centered on text (i.e. books, students writing, teachers writing and dialog between, or individual etc…) therefor forming a dialogical relationship of teachers, students, subject and context.

Jung speaks of pulling us out of the womb – individuation- this is about having a sense of self so that one can experience union and communion with others.

Create an opening

Engage the interest of students in the subject by activating the emotions, cognition and memory. Learning is fundamentally connected to emotion. Emotion is essential to the process of thinking, analysis and synthesis.

Construct and hold together patterns of information gathered around text. Use text as basis and have student re-story (that is, students use the text to create their own story).

Cultivating creative and critical thinking

Encourage analytic critique and synthesis and imagination. Foster the dialectic of intuition and analysis.

Fostering understanding – seeing the world through the “eye of the heart” heartfulness…building connections… deep relatedness or intimacy with subjects

Nurturing wisdom – learning to act wisely
Stay with ambiguity, cultivate a sense of wonder, put aside quest of certainty. Discovering the nature of the self “the transcendent self.” Deepening what it means to be in the world. Find out what we love.

What is transformative learning?

Holding the tension between:
Feminine and masculine
Agency and communion
Autonomy and interdependence
Will and willingness
Intuition and analysis

Transformative Learning has to be:

Experience based
Depth instead of breadth
Use of story
Imaginative and symbolic
Embodied (how the body takes on what it feels, for example when I am teaching my body also comes alive)

Further Reading:
“Nurturing the Soul in Adult Learning.” John M. Dirkx
“Strategies of Transformation Towards a Multicultural Society.” David Ablos
“Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood”. Jack Mezirow
“From Information to Transformation: Education for the Evolution of Consciousness.” Tobin Hart

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