Perspective transformation, leading to transformative learning, my thesis is infrequently.
An important part of transformative learning is for individuals to change their frames of reference by critically reflecting on their assumptions and beliefs and consciously making and implementing plans that bring about new ways of defining their worlds. This process is fundamentally rational and analytical. Jack Mezirow developed transformative learning theory starting in 1978. Since then, the theory has evolved «into a comprehensive and complex description of how learners construe, validate, and reformulate the meaning of their experience. A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience.
For some, any uncritically assimilated explanation by an authority figure will suffice. But in contemporary societies we must learn to make our own interpretations rather than my thesis is on the purposes, beliefs, judgements, and feelings of others. A perspective transformation leading to transformative learning, however, occurs much less frequently. Mezirow believes that this less frequent transformation usually results from a «disorienting dilemma», which is triggered by a life crisis or major life transition, although it may also result from an accumulation of transformations in meaning schemes over a period of time. A number of critical responses to Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning have emerged over the years. One criticism of Mezirow’s theory is its emphasis upon rationality.
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Others conclude that Mezirow grants rational critical reflection too much importance. Taylor has since suggested neurobiological research as a promising area that may offer some explanation about the role emotions play, closing the gap between rationality and emotion in the transformative learning process. While the learning process is certainly rational on some levels, it is also a profound experience that can be described as a spiritual or emotional transformation as well. The experience of undoing racist, sexist, and other oppressive attitudes can be painful and emotional, as these attitudes have often been developed as ways to cope with and make sense of the world. Other theorists have proposed a view of transformative learning as an intuitive and emotional process. Ruether link Mezirow’s rational, cognitive and analytical approach to a more intuitive, creative and holistic view of transformative learning.
For Boyd, transformation is a «fundamental change in one’s personality involving the resolution of a personal dilemma and the expansion of consciousness resulting in greater personality integration». First, an individual must be receptive or open to receiving «alternative expressions of meaning», and then recognize that the message is authentic. Grieving, considered by Boyd to be the most critical phase of the discernment process, takes place when an individual realizes that old patterns or ways of perceiving are no longer relevant, moves to adopt or establish new ways, and finally integrates old and new patterns. Unlike Mezirow, who sees the ego as playing a central role in the process of perspective transformation, Boyd and Myers use a framework that moves beyond the ego and the emphasis on reason and logic to a definition of transformative learning that is more psychosocial in nature. Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world.
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