EDDC 714

Transformational Learning

❝Yesterday, I wanted tots.

Today, I'm eating tots.

Hold on to your dreams.❞

Week 1

Why Transformative Learning?

Introduction

Quote

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

~ Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson

Understanding the phenomenon of transformation is a multidisciplinary inquiry and transformative learning theory is one of the most referenced adult theories in education (Hoggan, 2016), hence the popular notion that applying transformative learning theories will automatically lead to transformation is a false narrative. In this course, some of the myths about transformative learning theory will be addressed and you will recognize the complexity involved in changing meaning schemas and beliefs that are embedded in the ways individuals think, dialogue, and connect with other people.

The hope is that, for you, this will not be just a class, but an experience. You may also discern that the class will not be an insubstantial experience—in this class you will challenge core assumptions, stretch your understanding of principles and rules, and gain a clearer understanding of the basic motivations which lie just under the surface of everyone’s daily lives. Along the way you will learn to identify key elements to the dynamics of learning and why transformation of perspective can be an essential key in truly unlocking the impasses seen in communities.

Integrating transformative learning theories into a working, breathing practice requires treating class material as a transformative elixir that is sampled regularly at a personal and a professional level. In this class, it is not just the theories you will explore—you will also analyze your particular axes of perceiving and processing incoming stimuli as individuals and as collectives in the coordinate plane called sociocultural interaction.

The study of transformational learning, whether in the classroom or in an organizational setting, requires the examination of basic foundations, systems, and contingencies that unconsciously drive one’s attitudes, perceptions and ultimate decisions, and their impact on learners or employees. More than just a study of a unique, transitory movement in education, this class will explore the hidden structure of meaning, how people learn, and how this learning leads to change at personal, classroom, organizational, and societal levels.

Personal transformation can take many forms. In this class you will study your basic thought systems and assumptions in order to develop cognitive structures and metacognitive sophistication as learners and as educators. You will touch on epistemic values, and navigate your teleological and ontological roadmaps, where you will identify your basic pathways to an understanding of self, of your belief system, and the vicissitudes of enculturation.

Everyone has a set of limitations informed by culture and upbringing, thanks in large part to language, culture, and personal experience. These limitations can serve as “false horizons” in the educator’s learning ecosystem (Mezirow, 1991, p. 1). Further, culture has the power to sponsor, support, or limit transformation. Each of you may hold beliefs that are moored in the precognitive depths of culture and upbringing.

This class will help you better understand what Mezirow (1991) calls reflective learning or learning that requires each individual to assess and reassess assumptions, whether these assumptions are near the core of the personal belief systems, or more attenuated, extraneous and easier to discard.

In the introductory presentation, Zak Ebrahim (2014) shares his journey of expanding his worldview and making several choices that lead him to a path of peace. The journey was not easy as he had to challenge several beliefs that he had acquired through childhood from his family and his community. However, the outcome of this effort was clearly visible in the passion and commitment he shared in promoting peace. In many ways his presentation is an example of the outcome of transformative learning. For the next eight weeks you will be challenged to engage in dialogue, be open to different points of view, challenge yourself to be introspective, and broaden your worldview so that you will experience the power of transformative learning theory.

References

Ebrahim, Z. (2014). I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/zak_ebrahim_i_am_the_son_of_a_terrorist_here_s_how_i_chose_peace/transcript

Hoggan, C. D. (2016). Transformative theory as a metatheory: Definition, criteria and typology. Adult Education Quarterly, 66(1), 57‒75. doi: 10.1177/0741713615611216. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0741713615611216

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

Develop a familiarity with perspectives on transformational learning and how these perspectives have informed transformation in educational theories

    • Deconstruction and Reconstruction: Bringing Meaning to Experience
    • Analysis paper—Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Earliest Template

Identify and critique the dominant theories of social change and education, including the various assumptions embedded in conceptualizations of transformation.

    • Deconstruction and Reconstruction: Bringing Meaning to Experience

Cultivate the ability to question, deconstruct, and then reconstruct knowledge in the interest of transformational learning.

    • Analysis paper—Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Earliest Template

Required Studies

Textbook Reading

Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning (Mezirow, 1991)

Read: Book Study Choice

Select one of the following:

  • Power of Habits (Duhigg, 2012)
  • Insight: How Small Gains in Self-Awareness Can Help You Win Big at Work and in Life (Eurich, 2017)
  • Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes—But Some Do (Syed, 2015)
  • The Willpower Instinct:How Self-Control Works, Why IT Matters and What You Can Do To Get More of IT (McGonigal, 2012)
  • The Power of Paradox: How We Gain And Lose Influence (Keltner, 2017)

Watch

Mezirow’s Legacy: The Evolution and Impact of Transformative Learning [transcript]

How News Distorts Our Worldview (Miller, 2008) [Video] [transcript]

Johari Window in Interpersonal Communication (Zakel, 2011) [Video] [Closed captioned]

Explore

Recommended Studies

These resources are provided to enhance your overall learning experience. For a deeper understanding of the weekly concepts, review these optional resources.

  • Ackerman, R. H., & Maslin-Ostrowski, P. (2002). The wounded leader: How real leadership emerges in times of crisis. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Brock, D. E. (2010). Measuring the importance of precursor steps to transformative learning. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. Adult Education Quarterly 60(2), 122-142.
  • Brookfield, S. D. (1995). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Cranton, P. (1994). Understanding and promoting transformative learning: A guide for educators and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Sorokin, P. (1957). Social and cultural dynamics. Boston, MA: Porter Sargent Publishers.
  • Taylor, E. (1998). Transformative learning: A critical review. ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education (Information Series, number 374). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED423422.pdf


Heads Up

Pass/Non-Pass Activities

All pass/non-pass discussion board activities play an important function of scaffolding concepts that will help in your weekly assignment and your critical assessment in Week 8. As a doctoral student, you understand that lifelong learning is an ambition that is marked by effort and processes to enhance learning, deepen understanding, and encourage engagement. These activities are essential in your development and worth more in the learning process than a grade reflects. As such, you are expected to pay equal attention to each pass/non-pass discussion as you would for any graded activity.

Class Netiquette: We will be discussing cultural and personal beliefs, assumptions, ways of knowing and cognitive bias in this course. It is important that each class member respect the views of others even though they may not agree with such views. Be polite! This is not only a basic rule of netiquette, it is also a critical skill for any leader—to be able to be respectful of others’ opinions—and to protect such opinions, even when such opinions do not align with your own. In this course, go out of your way to respect the views and opinions of your fellow students.

Book Study

In Week 5, you will be participating in a book study group with fellow doctoral learners. Your book choices will broaden your knowledge and sharpen your self-awareness skills, recognize cognitive bias, and explore the neuroscience behind will power. Purchase your selected book early and begin reading. See this week’s required studies for book choices.

Final Project - The Case for Transformative Education

The final project will assesses the extent to which you understand and develop the necessary skills and processes to challenge the status quo effectively. In essence, it assesses how well candidate-leaders deconstruct conformity to the many social and cultural canons, which have permeated the workplace, including public schools. You are expected to demonstrate a reframe of your worldview through the incorporation of new knowledge and understanding, and to provide evidence of your transition from knowledge transmission toward transformational learning, that is, you encourage visionary thinking for progressive social change.

In addition, you are assessed on your ability to question, deconstruct, and reconstruct knowledge in the interest of transformational learning. Assessments will include your reconstructed personal vision of future roles in your profession and understanding of how individual assumptions and biases affect leadership behaviors. Since writing is an integral skill cultivated in the program, your culminating project will also assess fluidity, cogence, and scholarliness of the manuscript, that is, depiction of clear headings and transitions, and well-documented references in the reference section.

Your final paper will be a compilation of your course papers with an added introduction and conclusion. Each of your course papers should comprise a section of your final paper (see the list of weekly assignments below). Your final project should be combined into one cohesive paper with clear headings and transitions and one reference section at the end of the compilation. An introduction and final chapter with conclusions should be included.

  • Week 1: Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Early Template
  • Week 2: How We Understand Experience
  • Week 3: Two Domains of Learning
  • Week 4: Literature Review Draft (5–7 references. No more than 5 pages)
  • Week 5: Analyzing Reflective Judgement
  • Week 6: Literature Review (You will be building upon your mini-literature review. 8–10 references. No more than 8 pages.)
  • Week 7: Weltanschauung Revisited (Discussion Post – Has Your Worldview Expanded?)

Personal Reflection Corner

As you were reminded in EDDC 712, throughout the core and concentration courses you are developing skills needed to be an independent Principal Investigator of a social science research project. These skills include diligent scientific inquiry and creativity, independent thinking, proactive project planning and implementation, self-direction, and transformational leadership. Each intentional action you take along the way builds your professional habits, capabilities, and dispositions in these areas, thus developing a mindset of a scholar-researcher.

As a transformational scholar-researcher you can demonstrate leadership by: contributing the highest quality work you can produce, attending to the dispositions necessary for success, and supporting your cohort members in their efforts to achieve excellence in their work and activities.

Every week in the Personal Reflection Corner, you will be challenged to examine your dispositions through self-awareness activities. These activities are optional. There will be a general Personal Reflection Corner discussion board set up to post your thoughts and share your insights. In the Week 8 Final Reflections activity, you will be asked to reflect on the material presented in the Personal Reflection Corner.

In this course, your critical assessment is the assignment “A Case for Transformational Learning”, which you will submit in Taskstream in Week 7. The instructions and rubrics for this critical assessment are available for review in Week 7.

Week 1 - Activity: Final Project Team Sign-Up

Due Wednesday

For the next several weeks you will be working on developing your literature review, which will be an important part of the final project. This week (Week 1), you will pair up with a team member. You will each research your own topic, but help each other consider alternative viewpoints. In Week 2, based on Week 1’s exploration, you will select your final project topic or idea that links to your research interest or worldview. You are encouraged to start communicating with your team member on his/her topic selection by asking questions to learn more about the topic and your team member’s position on the topic.

In Weeks 3 and 4, you will work with your team member to understand more about their topic and research articles for their topic in order to provide a different perspective that has not been included in their Draft Literature Review activity. It is important through the weeks to talk and share your research articles for your draft literature review with your team member so that your team member can then conduct his/her own research to find you additional articles to bridge points of view that you may have overlooked.

By the end of today, join a Project Team by following the instructions below:

  • Click the Exploring Literature Review link on the course menu.
  • Click View Sign-up Sheet to join a group
  • Click Sign-up directly under the group you want to join. There will be up to 15 groups.
  • If the group has two members, please select another group. If there is an odd number of students in the course, a third member may be added to one group. Every student should have one partner.
  • You have now completed the sign-up process. To double-check your group selection, click the Exploring Literature Review link.

Note: This is a pass/no pass learning activity.

Week 1 - Discussion: Deconstruction and Reconstruction: Bringing Meaning to Experience

Initial Post Due Wednesday

This week explores the concept transformation and its qualities. In today’s discussion, you will share natural and social metaphors that add to and diversify understanding of this core concept. In the next several weeks you will pool your collective a posteriori wisdom to better guide an unblinking examination of a priori assumptions later on in the class.

As you complete the required studies for the week, begin thinking about transformations that you see in your life. Be sure to include natural metaphor as well as transformation when viewed through the lens of a discipline with which you hold expertise.

Goleman (As cited in Mezirow, 1991) analyzes one’s “blind spots” where “every act of perception is an act of selection: the incompatibility of attention and anxiety teaches us to exchange diminished attention for lessened anxiety, and this trade-off profoundly shapes our experience” (p. 18). Then consider Mezirow’s (1991) statement: “Our interpretations are fallible and often are predicated upon unreliable assumptions” (p. 35).

For this post, examine your closely held assumptions about a topic that may create “triggers,” like a student swearing in class, someone wearing provocative clothing, cheating, plagiarizing, a religious tenet which is dear to you that is maligned in the popular press or social media, etc.

  • Using Loder’s Transformative Logic (as cited in Mezirow, 1991, pp. 26‒27), explain your perceptions, interpretations, learning, problem solving, and solutions related to this issue.
  • Analyze and support the opposing view.
  • Provide a conclusion and describe how you used presentational and propositional construal to determine the final outcomes.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Peer Responses Due Friday

Consider each of the statements made by your peers and provide feedback to at least two of your peers concerning the number of issues raised and the quality of the argument. Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

Assignment: Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Earliest Template

In the video, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009) highlights the consequences and stereotypes one builds when a single story is shared. Write a 4- to 5-page paper describing your unconscious learning from an experience in your childhood and how that contributed to your weltanschauung (worldview).

Analyze, using transformative theory, how the adult must intentionally identify, select, prioritize, reconstruct, and rehearse adult beliefs or behaviors in order to avoid repeating highly affective (emotional) responses in order to bring rationality in adult decision-making.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Week 2/Week 4 - Movie Selection

Next week you select a movie to analyze how Mezirow’s (1991) 10 Phases of Transformative Learning is applied.

By Week 4, you will need to have acquired and viewed the selected movie. Please look ahead to make your selection with enough time to access and view your movie. If you do not own one of these movies, these films may be available to stream or rent for a nominal fee from such services as Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and others. If you need help finding a streaming provider for the movies, visit JustWatch (JustWatch, n.d.). The films may be available the CU library or through other library services.

Virtual Classroom Environment

The discussion board within each doctoral course is part of a virtual classroom environment. It is a space where you can interact and discourse with your peers and instructors and where many important class discussions about course content will be hosted. Your time and investment to the prompts and peer responses are needed and valued. As with any quality discussion, deeper learning takes place while you wrestle with the concepts and learn from each other. Imagine you are face-to-face with your online peers. Proper etiquette suggests you share common thoughts and ask appropriate questions of your peers’ work. In return, you will respond when questions are asked about your work.

As a result of your time and investment to the discussion board activities, you will be scaffolding your skills for collaboration, independent research, and leadership that will be needed when you are responsible for implementing a social science research project in later stages of the program.

Your instructor will observe and participate in the discussion board with some frequency and will provide individualized interaction with you every two weeks. If you have specific questions about the course or content, please email the instructor using an individual (rather than group) email. Substantive guidance on your learning and progress will be provided through your instructors’ written feedback on submitted assignments.

References

JustWatch. (n.d.). JustWatch: The streaming search engine. Retrieved from https://www.justwatch.com/us

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Office of Doctoral Studies. (2016a). Critical assessment taskstream instructions [PDF]. Portland, OR: Concordia University.

References

Ebrahim, Z. (2014). I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/zak_ebrahim_i_am_the_son_of_a_terrorist_here_s_how_i_chose_peace/transcript

Due Saturday

In the video, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2009) highlights the consequences and stereotypes one builds when a single story is shared. Write a 4- to 5-page paper describing your unconscious learning from an experience in your childhood and how that contributed to your weltanschauung (worldview). Analyze, using transformative theory, how the adult must intentionally identify, select, prioritize, reconstruct, and rehearse adult beliefs or behaviors in order to avoid repeating highly affective (emotional) responses in order to bring rationality in adult decision-making.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

References

Adichie, C.A. (2009). The danger of a single story [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

This week you explored how one makes meaning through experiences and how your worldviews influence your perception. You also explored how it is easy to have blind spots when you fail to incorporate different perspectives. One tool that can deepen your understanding of yourself and improve communication is the Johari Window Model. Review the resource Johari Window in Interpersonal Communications (LEZakel, 2011) to better understand the model. Challenge yourself the next time you reach an impasse using this tool to better understand or break the situation.

Peer response is not required.

References

LEZakel (2011). Johari window in interpersonal communications. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7FhcvoVK8s

Social science research guide

...consisting of ontology, epistemology, and philosophical perspectives. When read from left to right, elements take on a more multidimensional nature (eg., epistemology: objectivism to subjectivism). The elements within each branch are positioned according to their congruence with elements from other branches so when read from top to bottom (or bottom to top), elements from one branch align with elements from another (eg., critical realist ontology, constructionist epistemology, and interpretivist philosophical perspectives). Subcategories of elements (ie., 3.5a–c and 3.6a–c) are to be interpreted as positioned under the parent category (ie., 3.5 interpretivism and 3.6 critical theory).

(Source: Moon and Blackman, 2014)

Increase your self-awareness with one simple fix | Tasha Eurich | TEDxMileHigh

TEDx Talks

Published on Dec 19, 2017

Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/tGdsOXZpyWE

Week 2

Weltanschauung and Perspective: How We Understand Experience

Introduction

Quotes

Change is the relentless process of becoming.

~ Pitirim Sorokin

We are constantly invited to be who we are.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Weltanschauung and Perspective: How We Understand Experience


Activity Summary

Due Monday: Post Discussion: Final Project Topic (Group Discussion Board)

Due Wednesday: Post Peer Responses: Final Project Topic (Group Discussion Board)

Due Saturday: Submit Assignment: How We Understand Experience

  • Post Discussion: Applying Mezirow’s Theory (Optional)
  • Post Discussion: Personal Reflection Corner (Optional)

The Backwards Brain Bicycle- Smarter Every day 133 (SmarterEveryDay, 2015) [Closed captioned]

During Week 1, you engaged the basic course materials and explored transformative education from several perspectives, including past experiences and how those experiences form your worldview, or weltanschauung. You analyzed weltanschauung through an examination of your earliest template, your childhood. However, one’s worldview continues to form, un-form and re-form all through life. Unfortunately, adults tend to select experiences—and their subsequent frameworks of social interaction—that match previously conceived, unconsciously applied, and repeatedly proven constructs which become a praxis that reinforces the unconscious cycle. In the introductory video, Destin (SmarterEveryDay, 2015) highlighted through his experiment that knowledge does not equate to understanding and that individuals do not often recognize they view the world through a bias lens. Mezirow (1991) stated, “Because we cannot affirm something without denying something else, constructs are bipolar and channel experience along dichotomous dimensions: good and bad, friendly and unfriendly, threatening and not threatening, accessible and inaccessible, intelligent and stupid, wise and foolish, and so on” (p. 52).

One rarely reaches outside the immediate sphere of existence to fully experience another’s perspective or to “walk a mile” in another’s shoes. You remain locked in prejudgment scaffolds of understanding the world, that is, prejudice, in all its healthy and toxic forms. Prejudice serves a purpose: it offers an immediate assessment of one’s safety in perplexing or dangerous situations. If the doctor flings open the waiting room door, and he is covered in blood, holding a hatchet in one hand, it would be silly to follow him, given the evidence you see. However, one often uses the word “prejudice” to describe unconscious responses to a different other. Perhaps one of the most deleterious outcomes of prejudice is the unconscious maintenance of an enculturated proper distance which maintains discriminatory social isolation through superordinate class structures and their correlate, the supporting subordinate class structure—the working poor and minority populations.

One’s perspectives, both superordinate and subordinate, are often ingrown, self-oriented, and self-ish. Unless one has needs to grow beyond one’s assigned social status, or to achieve beyond one’s social class or status, humans tend to become comfortable with living an unconscious, deeply entrenched system of social interaction. If you bump against another human being who challenges this comfortable existence, it startles you. And when you are startled, your default emotion is to take offence and blame “the other.” It is this core, symbolic interaction that, if a person’s perspective is impermeable and inflexible, becomes the ignition to the fuel of misunderstandings which leads to disagreements, scuffles, fights, and even wars.

When St. Augustine diagnosed the root problem of the human condition, he used a metaphor, Incurvatus in se, which is Latin for "curved in on itself." For Augustine human sinfulness is due to the fact that one’s selfhood is bent in upon itself. All arrows point toward me (Beck, 2008). One might say the “all-arrows-point-to-me” person is narcissistic. Narcissism, in the context of weltanschauung, merits further analysis. Thomas Moore’s (1992) Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life offers an excellent treatise on the unique facets and manifestations of narcissism. But, for the purposes in this discussion, Moore’s empirical view of narcissism will serve to guide you through the adult’s acquired perspective:

Narcissus... presents an image... that has not yet found its mystery. Here we see the symptom: a self-absorption and containment that allows no connections of the heart. It is hard as a rock and repels all approaches of love. Obsessive, but not genuine, self-love leaves no room for intimacy with another. The echoing aspect of narcissism—the feeling that everything in the world is only a reflection of oneself—doesn’t want to give away power. To respond to another or to an object in the outside world would endanger the fragile sense of power which that tight, defensive insistence on oneself maintains. Like all symptomatic behavior, narcissism reveals, in the very things it insists on, exactly what it lacks. The narcissistic person asks over and over, “Am I doing all right?” The message is, “No matter what I do or how much I try to force it, I can’t get to the place where I feel that I’m doing okay.” In other words, the narcissist’s display of self-love is, in itself, a sign that he can’t find a way to adequately love himself. 
 Narcissism has no soul. In narcissism we take away the soul’s substance, its weight and importance, and reduce it to an echo of our own thoughts. There is no such thing as the soul. We say. It is only the brain going through its electrical and chemical changes. 
 We can prepare a city or national budget, but leave the needs of the soul unattended. (p. 58) 

To examine transformative education, you must address the needs of the soul. Note that while the course focus is on the science of cognitive studies, it is inadvisable to ignore the sacred study of the soul.

Last week explored transformative education as a research matter and treated it according to your disciplines and modalities as educators and students. This week will continue the study of transformative learning as a theory and also as a possible key to expand your horizons as an educator. You will examine your experience of transformative events as students and educators, and more broadly, as adult learners and world citizens.

In the second chapter of Mezirow’s (1991) Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning, you learn of meaning perspectives and how they shape formulation of experience. Mezirow (1991) defines meaning perspectives as a “structure of assumptions within which one’s past experience assimilates and transforms new experience” (p. 42). He calls them an “habitual set of expectations” that serves as a “frame of reference” through which phenomena is interpreted and meanings are made.

Educators are often asked to assimilate personal past experiences in today’s classroom and are required by circumstance to adjust and grow, and increasingly expand professional skills sets. The disequilibrium that occurs with each new educational initiative, often arriving at school buildings in the form of an unfunded mandate, can be profound. These stressors can cause you to double down on your unconscious frameworks as you frantically try to find your footing, do your job, meet student needs, have a family life, and attend to your personal growth and soul work. Fortunately, transformative education offers a well-lit pathway through these circumstances. You will, singly and collectively, examine your meaning perspectives, and thoughtfully analyze your conscious and unconscious assumptions, especially those related to your personal reactions in a stressful profession.

Mezirow (1991) delineates between meaning perspectives and meaning schemes, with the latter serving as subsets that support and buttress the former. A meaning scheme, Mezirow (1991) says, “is the particular knowledge, beliefs, value judgments, and feelings that become articulated in an interpretation” (p. 44).

Of similar epistemological origin is the term schema, which is best described by Goleman (as cited in Mezirow, 1991) as the structure in which memories are stored. What sorts of structures are your memories stored in? As you search for these structures, you may also identify physical structures, the actual facilities you experienced as young students, the social and economic structures you have navigated as adults, and the cultural and belief structures borne of your unique experience and upbringing.

This week you will examine the theory and application of your weltanschauung which forms your fundamental cognitive orientation to the world around you. You will discuss factors that have shaped your worldview and engage in rich and immersive discussions populated by direct formative experience.

Your work this week will include watching transformative movies and using transformative education theory to identify salient theoretical constructs. For instance, in Monsters Inc. (Anderson & Docter, 2002), you would keep an eye to the psychological frames of the monsters of the mythical city Monstropolis which is dependent upon scaring human children and collecting their screams to provide electrical power to the city. You would observe how these monsters are transformed—profoundly—when a little girl enters through a door carelessly left open on the Scare floor and Sully must take care of her. This unwelcome experience presents dilemmas that not only require Sully to uphold basic principles and societal rules unique to Monstropolis, they also awaken him to a perspective previously hidden from and completely foreign to him. You watch him work through the disorienting dilemma (what should he do with the little girl?), the resulting disequilibrium, and then him working through his previously unfiltered beliefs as he becomes transformed by the process of solving the movie’s central dilemma. His colleagues are unprepared for this perspective shift but, in the end, they, too, are transformed.

There are a number of movies centered on a disorienting dilemma, which introduce various levels of disequilibrium, resulting in the transformation of the protagonist. Review the list in Thursday’s discussion board prompt and select a movie to complete the movie assignment due Week 4 Thursday.

You will also view other sources of perspective taking and perceptual shifts. You will examine them for evidence of perspective-taking and psychological scaffolds. To round out the week, you will have a discussion board assignment to examine looking at vs. looking through.

References

Anderson, D. K. (Producer), & Docter, P. (Director). (2002). Monsters Inc. [Motion Picture]. California, CA: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Beck, R. (2008). The theology of Calvin & Hobbes, part one [Blog post]. Experimental Theology. Retrieved from http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2008/09/theology-of-calvin-and-hobbes-part-1_07.html

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Moore, T. (1992). Care of the soul: A guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

SmarterEveryDay. (2015, April 24). The backwards brain bicycle - smarter every day 133 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzDaBzBlL0

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Develop a familiarity with perspectives on transformational learning and how these perspectives have informed transformation in educational theories.
    • How We Understand Experience
  • Critique the various social, political and economic contextual variables that impact the practice of adult education, particularly in the context of globalization.
    • How We Understand Experience
  • Understand and discuss the competing agendas in education and the key debates around transformational learning.
    • Final Project Topic (Group Discussion Board)
  • Demonstrate a high level of reflectivity about individual knowledge, learning process, and habits of mind.
    • How We Understand Experience

Required Studies

Textbook Readings

Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning (Mezirow, 1991)

  • Chapter 2: Meaning Perspectives: How We Understand Experience, pages 37‒63

The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success (Machi, & McEvoy, 2016)

  • Introduction: Doing and Producing a Literature Review, pages 1‒15
  • Step 1: Select a Topic, pages 17‒35

Literature Review Resource (Grey, 2018) [PDF]

Watch

The Revolutionary Power of Diverse Thought (Shafak, 2017) [Video]

Are you a Giver or a Taker? (Grant, 2017) [Video]

The Danger of a Single Story (Adichie, 2009) [Video]

Karl Popper’s Falsification (BBC Radio 4, 2015) [Video] [transcript]

Mezirow’s Theory of Transformational Learning (Holt, 2010) [Slideshare]

Why You Think You’re Right - Even if You’re Wrong (Galef, 2016) [Video]

Explore

Literature Review Guide: How to Organize the Review (AIT Library Libguides, 2018) [Website]

Ed.D. Library Resources: Literature Review (Concordia University Library, n.d.) [Web page]

Recommended Studies

These resources are provided to enhance your overall learning experience. For a deeper understanding of the weekly concepts, review these optional resources.

  • Adler, M. J., & Gorman, W. (Eds.). (1952). The great ideas: A Syntopicon of great books of the Western world. (Vols. 1‒2). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.thegreatideas.org/index.html
  • Beck, R. (2008, September 7). The theology of Calvin and Hobbes, part 1, chapter 3: “A vindictive, twisted Elf” [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2008/09/theology-of-calvin-and-hobbes-part-1_07.html
  • Elder, L., & Richard, Paul, R. (2008). The art of socratic questioning III [PDF]. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ832681.pdf
  • Mowshowitz, A. (1997). Virtual feudalism. In P. J. Jenning & R. M. Metcalfe (Eds.), Beyond calculation: The next fifty years of computing (pp. 213‒231). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
  • Storey, V. A., & Wang, V. C. X. (2017, August). Critical friends protocol: Andragogy and learning in a graduate classroom. Adult Learning, 28(3), 107‒114 [PDF]. Doi: 10.1177/1045159516674705. Retrieved from https://library.cu-portland.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_ericEJ1149090&context=PC&vid=CONC&search_scope=summit_alma_pc&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US
  • Toledo, C. A. (2015). Dog bite reflections: Socratic questioning revisited. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 27(2), 275-279 [PDF]. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1082883.pdf

Week 2 - Assignment: How We Understand Experience

Due Saturday

Mezirow (1991) says:

Because meaning perspectives are structures of largely pre-rational, unarticulated suppositions, they often result in distorted views of reality. Negation or transformation of inadequate, false, distorted or limited meaning perspectives or schemes, is central to adult learning; this involves a testing of fundamental assumptions rather than mere extension of knowledge (p. 62).

Scenario Analysis Exercise

Read the following scenario:

John and Mary, a college educated couple with a young daughter, have decided to move out of central Los Angeles to a community in the San Fernando Valley. They will both continue to work in the city, but have decided that their daughter is being short changed in the quality of her life by being forced to grow up in L.A. Lately, they feel that the pressures of the city have been getting to them. There are more arguments between them, their daughter has begun wetting her bed, and much of their precious weekend leisure time is spent on the expressway trying to get out of the city. In particular, they feel that bringing their daughter up in a dangerous and dirty city is not good parenting and that sending her to public school will condemn her to an inferior education. To them, the suburban lifestyle they see in the valley is more natural. There is more space, they can live in a house with a yard, their daughter can play in her neighborhood relatively safely and they can send her to a local private school. They believe this move will improve their quality of life both environmentally and personally. Being away from the pressures of the city will help them build a stable, warm family life.

In a 2- to 3-page paper, analyze and critique the assumptions and presuppositions made by this couple. Identify the “prerational, unarticulated” presuppositions and the “inadequate, false, distorted, or limited” assumptions in this argument. Consider the experiences that may lead to these presuppositions and assumptions. Be sure to argue both sides (or multiple facets) of the issue.

Use the questions below to guide your paper:

  • Under what assumptions do you think John and Mary are operating in regard to their decision to relocate? List as many as you can.
  • Of the assumptions you have listed, which could John and Mary check by simple research and inquiry? How could they do this?
  • Give an alternate interpretation of this scenario: a version of what's happening that is consistent with the events described, but that you think John and Mary would disagree with.
  • What did you learn from your reading and this activity that you had not previously considered?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

References

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Brookfield.

Week 2 - Discussion: Final Project Topic (Group Discussion Board)

Initial Post Due Monday

As indicated in your readings, for any kind of transformational learning to occur it requires a change in meaning schemas and meaning perspectives. However, your worldviews, habitual expectations, and frames of reference hinder this expansion. The activities in this course will enable you to recognize the danger of perceiving events, situations, and information through a single lens.

Your final project, “The Case for Transformative Education,” is a critical assessment that assesses the extent to which you understand and develop the necessary skills and processes to challenge the status quo effectively. In essence, it assesses how well candidate-leaders deconstruct conformity to the many social and cultural canons which have permeated the workplace and society. You are expected to demonstrate a reframe of your worldview through the incorporation of new knowledge and understanding, and to provide evidence of your move away from knowledge transmission toward transformational learning, that is, you encourage visionary thinking for progressive social change.

In addition, you are assessed on your ability to question, deconstruct, and reconstruct knowledge in the interest of transformational learning. Assessments also include your reconstructed personal vision of future roles in your profession and understanding of how individual assumptions and biases affect leadership behaviors, your ability to dialogue with members who think differently from you, and your ability to come to consensus. Since writing and research are integral skills cultivated in the program, your culminating project will also assess fluidity, cogence, and scholarliness of the manuscript, that is, depiction of clear headings and transitions, and well-documented references in the reference section.

For the next several weeks you will be working on and developing your literature review.

In Week 1, you were paired with a team member. This week, you will select the topic or idea that links to your research interest or worldview. You will then conduct a literature review of the topic. The purpose for conducting a literature review is to demonstrate to readers your knowledge of the topic. It also engages the reader with the design of your topic by first observing how you organized your investigation, then how other researchers provided support and arguments for the idea, as well as their interpretation of that idea from a multifaceted perspective.

You have three options for selecting your topic for the literature review:

You can continue working on the topic that you started in EDDC 712 - Ethics of Your Body.

Or

You can select a topic that you would like to explore for your dissertation study.

Or

You can select a topic from values that influence your thinking. Carbaugh (as cited in LeBaron, 2017) suggests that worldviews help determine values and that values may vary across cultures. The author highlighted 10 values that are seen below (para.16). Select a topic that falls in one of the ten values. Some of the values may overlap. Use this list as a guide to identify your final topic. It is recommended that you select a topic/idea that is researchable. Be sure to select a topic/idea that informs your work. You may also review the development of your final project in The Case for Transformative Education Final Project Guide Click for more options (Grey, 2018).

Some examples of topic and value are below.

Example Topic | Value

In the long run, wars make us safer and richer | Power

Uniformity vs. Conformity: How schools can nurture creativity and dress for success | Self-Direction

Carbaugh (as cited in LeBaron, 2017) identified ten values:

Power—social status, prestige, control over others and resources

Achievement—success through competence according to social standards

Hedonism—pleasure of sensuous gratification for self

Stimulation—excitement, novelty, change in life

Self-direction—independent thought and action - choice, creativity, exploring goals

Universalism—understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of people and nature

Benevolence—preservation and enhancement of the welfare of members of in-groups

Tradition—respect, commitment, and acceptance of ideas from a person's culture and religion

Conformity—restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others

Security—safety, harmony, and stability of society, relationships, and self

In EDDC 712, you started your literature review by identifying your problem statement. Similarly, in this course after you select your topic today, create a problem statement that you can share with your team member so that your team member can clearly understand the direction of your topic.

Remember that you are looking at this topic through a lens of transformative learning. The purpose of the literature review is a synthesis of existing research on your topic. It requires you to have an holistic approach where you look at research that supports your point of view and research that does not. As a team, you are going to assist each other in this endeavor. One of the common biases when conducting a literature review is to look for articles that support your viewpoint. This is called confirmatory bias. In order to avoid this bias, your team member will research articles that provide alternate points of view about your topic.

In Week 4, you will submit a literature review draft with articles that you found to present a side of the topic.

In Week 5, your team member will provide you with articles they have researched on your topic so you may have a more holistic review of the literature.

In Week 6, you will submit the full literature review incorporating the articles provided by you team member.

You can use various collaboration tools such as Google Docs, brainstorming maps (you can use Chrome extensions such as Coggle, other tools that are part of the Google Suite or other similar online applications) to show how ideas are connected to the topic. Share your research topic and your problem statement. Use this presentation as a way to begin a conversation about your topic. Post a presentation on Google Slides and share the link with your team member.

Note: The group discussion board can be accessed by selecting the Exploring Literature Review Link in the course menu in Blackboard. Please post your Google Slides link or your Google Docs link in the Blackboard Group Discussion area so that your instructor can view your team’s collaboration effort. To learn more about using Blackboard Group Discussion Board, review the information from Blackboard Help: Groups (Blackboard Inc., n.d.)

References

Blackboard Inc. (n.d.). Blackboard help: Groups. Retrieved from https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Student/Interact/Groups

BetterCloud. (2016, August 23). Comments in Google slides [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vgiRtHAXn4

Google Inc. (n.d.). Google hangouts. Retrieved from https://hangouts.google.com

Google Inc. (n.d.). Google slides. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/slides/about/

LeBarron. (2017). Cultural and worldview frames. Retrieved from https://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/cultural_frames

Week 3

Intentional Learning: A Process of Problem Solving

Introduction

Quote

The material which stays in the student’s head only until the test will never make it into his outlook.

~ Theodore & Nancy Sizer

Intentional Learning: A Process of Problem Solving

How Language Shapes the Way We Think (Boroditsky, 2017)

Transformative learning gives adult learners the ability to think autonomously. This week you will analyze the “fundamental distinction between the two interacting domains of intentional learning, the instrumental and the communicative” (Mezirow, 1991, p. 64).

Instrumental learning, first introduced by theorists such as Pavlov, Thorndike, and Skinner, relates to or is similar to the scientific method of testing a hypothesis. Instrumental learning revolves around determining the cause and effect relationship. The focus of this domain is problem solving with attention to concrete and observable data that is understood by one’s own perspective and learning to control and manipulate people and/or the environment. Instrumental learning tends to be hands-on and discovery-based in nature. Critical thinking in terms of questioning procedures, troubleshooting, and finding alternative ways of accomplishing the same task are often at the heart of this process. For example, the public sees state test scores for a given school and they are outraged and want to shut the school down because the low scores must mean that teachers are not doing their job. The teachers in the school are examining the same data and asking questions about why student scores are what they are. The teachers are deeply connected to the students and want to know what is happening in the building. They talk to students about the outcomes and use this data to guide their teaching. The teachers are using instrumental learning to impact change. The public may also be using instrumental learning based on their understanding of test scores. Still, both groups are arriving at differing conclusions.

Communicative learning requires one to analyze word meanings while discovering what truth is. This domain of learning often involves the affective tasks such as feelings, values, and intentions. Communicative learning increases one’s personal understanding of an issue or concept and aids in developing a common ground while using language to get the desired result and understanding the relationship between what is being said and what is being communicated. Since communicative knowledge is concerned with how you see yourself and the social world that shapes you, the potential for it to become transformational is great. Think back to the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. This disaster has led millions of people in the Western world to come to a new awareness of cultures and context with which they were unfamiliar previously. Or, consider the previous school example. What would happen if the teachers were intentional about communicating the actual happenings in the building to the public? Could this change the way the public views the test scores? Or as shown in the introductory video, Boroditsky (2017) highlights the danger of losing linguistic diversity and the power to understand the human mind because often researchers focus on dominant linguistic groups.

Communicative learning centers on understanding while instrumental learning focuses on meeting an objective. Mezirow (1991) argues that it is with a different logic that these two domains are defined and that most learning involves elements of both domains.

References

Boroditsky, L. (2017). How language shapes the way we think [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/lera_boroditsky_how_language_shapes_the_way_we_think/transcript

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Develop a familiarity with perspectives on transformational learning and how these perspectives have informed transformation in educational theories.
    • Two Domains of Learning
    • Recognizing the Role of Validity Testing in Communication

Textbook Readings

Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning (Mezirow, 1991)

  • Chapter 3: Intentional Learning, pages 64‒98

The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success (Machi, & McEvoy, 2016)

  • Step 3: Search the Literature, pages 59‒81
  • Step 4: Survey the Literature, pages 83‒105

Read: Transformative Learning: Theory to Practice (Mezirow,1997) [Web page]

Read: Putting Transformative Learning into Practice (Christie, Carey, Robertson, Grainger, & USC, 2015) [Web page]

Read: Critically Questioning the Discourse of Transformational Learning (Kucukaydin & Cranton, 2012) [Web page]

Read: Transformative Learning as Discourse (Mezirow, 2003) [Web page]

Read: Learning Through Dialogue (Krishna, 2017) [Web page]

Read: Conceptual Metaphors in Everyday Language (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) [Web page]

View: Mezirow’s Theory of Transformational Learning (Holt, 2010)

WATCH:

How America's Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty (Summer, 2015)

The First 20 Hours-How To Learn Anything (Kaufman, 2013)

Unwavering Focus Dialogue (Dandapani, 2016)

Three Myths About Behavior Change - What You Think You Know That You Don't: Jeni Cross at TEDxCSU (Cross, 2013)

Could Your Language Affect Your Ability to Save Money (Chen, 2012)

Why You Think You Are Right Even When You Are Wrong (Galef, 2016)

The World Needs All Kinds of Minds (Grandin, 2010)

Learning from a Barefoot Movement (Roy, 2011)

Heads Up

Final Project: The Case for Transformative Education

In Week 1 you selected a topic. In Week 2 you started researching your topic. This week you will continue to develop your literature review and converse with your team member on articles you found so that your team member can look for additional articles that will help provide a holistic approach to your topic.

The final project will be due on Saturday of Week 7. Your final paper will be a compilation of your course papers (see the list below) with an added introduction and conclusion. Each of your course papers should comprise a section of your final paper.

Your final project should be combined into one fluid paper with clear headings and transitions and one reference section at the end of the compilation. An introduction and final chapter with conclusions should be included.

  • Week 1: Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Early Template
  • Week 2: How We Understand Experience
  • Week 3: Two Domains of Learning
  • Week 4: Literature Review Draft (5‒7 references. No more than 5 pages)
  • Week 5: Analyzing Reflective Judgement
  • Week 6: Literature Review (You will be building upon your mini-literature review. 8‒10 references. No more than 8 pages)
  • Week 7: Weltanschauung Revisited (Discussion Post - Has your worldview expanded?)

Week 3 - Discussion: Recognizing the Role of Validity Testing in Communication

Initial Post Due Tuesday

Learning from a Barefoot Movement (Roy, 2011) [Transcript]

Mezirow (1991) highlights that the aim of communication is reaching a common understanding which requires a universal understanding of norms, values, and rules that make up one’s meaning perspective. In the video, Bunker Roy (2011) provides examples of learning without formal education. Roy (2011) measures intelligence using Gardner's Multiple Intelligence (Lane, n.d.) theory.

In three to four paragraphs, examine your own process of validity testing by responding to either one of the following prompts:

  • How challenged were you in accepting Roy’s claim that Barefoot University is a valid alternative to formal education? Which forms of validity criteria or grounding (Mezirow, 1991, pp. 65‒66) did you apply?

OR

  • Think of a recent disagreement you had with a colleague or a family member regarding an idea. Provide a description of the experience. Did the disagreement occur because of a different validity criteria? What insights have you gleaned regarding the role of validity?

Peer Responses Due Thursday

Read your classmates’ responses. Respond to at least two of your peers. How are your validity criteria similar or different from your peers’? Highlight the similarity and differences in an extended discussion that uses probing questions to fully understand your peer’s perspective.

References

Lane, C. (n.d). Multiple intelligences. Retrieved from http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Roy, B. (2011). Learning from a barefoot movement [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/bunker_roy/transcript


Week 3 - Assignment: Two Domains of Learning

Due Saturday

The two domains of learning, instrumental and communicative, differ from each other in a number of significant ways.

In a 4- to 5-page paper, using APA format:

  • Illustrate ways that transformative learning gives adult learners the ability to think autonomously.
  • Define the two domains of learning.
  • Compare and contrast the two domains.
  • Discuss application of the two domains.
  • Provide research to support how both domains are used in adult learning.
  • What questions were not answered from your readings? What questions will you explore further on this topic?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.


Week 3 - Discussion: Personal Reflection Corner (Optional)

In his Ted Talks presentation, Adam Grant (2016) challenges his listeners to consider whether they are givers, takers, or matchers and if they measure success through competition or contribution. As you engage with your family, organization, and community, examine the role you play in contributing and lifting others.

References

Grant, A. (2016, November). Are you a giver or a taker? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_grant_are_you_a_giver_or_a_taker/transcript?referrer=playlist-most_popular_ted_talks_of_2017&language=en

Week 4

Making Meaning Through Reflection

Introduction

Quotes

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

~ Pablo Picasso

There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do.

~ Albert Camus

Perhaps even more central to adult learning than elaborating established meaning schemes is the process of reflecting back on prior learning to determine whether what we have learned is justified under present circumstances.

~ Mezirow

Required Reading

Read: Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to Transformative and Emancipatory Learning (Mezirow, 1990) [Web page]

Read: On Critical Reflection: A Review of Mezirow’s and its Operationalization (Lundgren & Poell, 2016) [Web page]

Read: Making Reflective Practice More Concrete Through Reflective Decision Making (Danielson, 2008) [Web page]

Read: Our Concept and Definition of Critical Thinking (Elder & Paul, n.d.) [Web page]

Read: Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory (Elder & Paul, 2010) [Web page]

Read: The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools (Paul & Elder, 2006) [Web page]

Read: The Aspiring Thinker’s Guide to Critical Thinking (Elder & Paul, 2009) [Web page]

Read: To Change Someone’s Mind, Stop Talking and Listen (Merchant, 2018) [Web page]

Read: Logic and Argument (Dartmouth Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, 2014) [Web page]

Read: This Article Won’t Change Your Mind (Beck, 2017) [Web page]

Read: Thinking As Argument (Kuhn, 1992) [Web page]

Read: The Reflective Practitioner: Reaching for Excellence in Practice (Place & Greenberg, 2005) [Web page]

Mezirow’s Theory of Transformational Learning (Holt, 2010)

Watch: How to Think, Not What to Think (Richardson, 2014) [Video] [Closed captioned]

Watch: 228 L3U1 Toulmin Model First Triad (Green, 2009a) [Video] [Closed captioned]

Watch: 228 L3U3PtA Warrants (Green, 2009b) [Video] [Closed captioned]

Watch: 228 L3U4PtA Second Triad (Green, 2009c) [Video] [Closed captioned]

Watch: How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Towards Them (Meyers, 2014) [Video] Transcript

Explore: Literature Review Guide: How to Organize the Review (AIT Library Libgudies, 2018) [Web page]

Explore: Rationale Software (Reasoning Lab, n.d-b.) [Website]

Explore: The Rationale Blog (Reasoning Lab, n.d.-a) [Website]

Making Meaning Through Reflection

5 Tips to Improve your Critical Thinking (Agoos, 2016) [Closed captioned]

Mezirow (2000) explains that, “Reflective discourse involves what the Greek Skeptics called epoché, a provisional suspension of judgment about the truth or falsity of, or the belief or disbelief in, ideas until a better determination can be made” (p. 13).

Dewey is commonly considered the first modern researcher who introduced the connection between reflection and learning, but many have followed in his footsteps. Reflective thinking or Reflection is one of the most commonly used terms in the world of education today, and is often described as an active process of taking a closer look at a complex or ambiguous problem in order to explore it in greater depth. While reflective thinking and critical thinking are often used synonymously, there is a slight difference the two. Reflective Thinking relates to the process of making judgments about what has happened. On the other hand, critical thinking involves a wide range of thinking skills which is goal-directed and leading toward desirable outcomes (University of Hawaii, n.d.). Reflective thinking is part of critical thinking.

Brookfield (1995) believes that, “reflective practice has its roots in the Enlightenment idea that we can stand outside ourselves and come to a clearer understanding of what we do and who we are by freeing ourselves of distorted ways of reasoning and acting” (p. 214). He goes on to share that, “identity and experience are culturally and personally sculpted rather than existing in some kind of objectively discoverable limbo” (p. 214).

Theorists of reflective practice are interested in helping others to understand, question, investigate, and take seriously one’s own learning. Is reflection in and of itself enough? Mezirow (1991) considered critical reflection to be the main distinguishing entity of adult learning, and described it as the way in which one will prove the legitimacy of his/her perceptions.

Mezirow (as cited in Taylor & Cranton, 2012) expresses that, “although it is clear that our interests and priorities change in the different seasons of our lives, development in adulthood may be understood as a learning process” (p. 89), and “in adulthood, informed decisions require not only awareness of the source and context of our knowledge, values, and feelings but also critical reflection on the validity of their assumptions or premises” (p. 76). Thinking critically means taking time to slow yourselves from making snap judgements and evaluating the complexity of the issue at hand. In the Agoos (2016) video, you were introduced to five tips on critical thinking. This week you will learn how to maximize critically thinking so that you can see a shift in meaning schemas and meaning perspectives.

References

Agoos, S. (2016). 5 tips to improve your critical thinking [Video file]. Retrieved from https://ed.ted.com/lessons/5-tips-to-improve-your-critical-thinking-samantha-agoos

Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Taylor, E. W., & Cranton, P. (2012). The handbook of transformative learning: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

University of Hawaii (n.d.). Reflective thinking: RT. Retrieved from http://www.hawaii.edu/intlrel/pols382/Reflective%20Thinking%20-%20UH/reflection.html#what

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Be conversant in the links between critical theory, critical pedagogy, and critical adult education.
    • Reflective Practices
    • Literature Review Draft
  • Demonstrate a high level of reflectivity about individual knowledge, learning process, and habits of mind.
    • Reflective Practices
    • Literature Review Draft
  • Develop a familiarity with perspectives on transformational learning and how these perspectives have informed transformation in educational theories.
    • Reflective Practices

Week 4 - Discussion: Reflective Practice

Initial Post Due Monday

Mezirow (1991) defines reflection as, “The process of becoming critically aware of how and why our assumptions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world; changing these structures of habitual expectations to make possible a more inclusive, discriminating, and integrative perspective; and finally making choices or otherwise acting on these new understandings” (p. 167). In Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory (Elder & Paul, 2010), the author describes the different stages for critical thinking.

Take a few minutes to reflect on the term reflection. In the readings this week you will discover that Mezirow proposes the act of reflection is a critical component of adult learning.

  • How is the practice of reflection currently incorporated into your daily life?
  • Recall a situation where you recently needed to think deeply to respond to the situation. Identify which of the critical thinking stages you used to resolve the situation and why?
  • What risks and challenges do you perceive are associated with the practice of reflection? What are the benefits? Where do you think you need to grow? Why?
  • How will your reflective thinking practices be transformed based on the course’s study materials?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Peer Responses Due Wednesday

Read your classmates’ responses. Acknowledge at least two of your peers’ contributions by providing thoughts and feedback to extend the discussion. Also select a quote from your studies this week, that refers to other ways to improve critical thinking. Include this quote in your reply to one of your peers.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

Week 4 - Assignment: Literature Review Draft

Due Saturday

The activities in this course will enable you to recognize the danger of perceiving events, situations, and information through a single lens. The purpose of conducting a literature review is to demonstrate to readers your knowledge of the topic. It also engages the reader with the design of your topic by first showing how you organized your investigation and then how other researchers provided support and arguments for the idea, as well as their interpretation of that idea from a multifaceted perspective.

In Year 2 dissertation coursework, you will be required to research and write an extensive literature review that will guide you in conducting your research study. Writing a literature review is an iterative process and developing skills that support this activity early on in your education journey is essential. Writing a literature review requires several skills including analysis, synthesis, and argumentation, as well as the ability to use effective search terms. For visual learners creating argument maps might also be helpful. In this week's required studies, you will notice resources that will help you develop these skills. Review them carefully so that you will learn how to write a comprehensive literature review. Machi and McEvoy (2016, p. 4) highlight the simple literature review process. When you are in your dissertation coursework you will focus on the complex literature review, which has a different purpose and additional demands. For example, for your dissertation literature review, you would not only present the current state of knowledge about a topic, but you would also argue how this knowledge reasonably leads to a problem or to a question requiring original research. However, for this course you will focus on developing simple literature review skills as a foundation for the complex literature review.

As seen in Figure 1, a simple literature review gathers, documents, analyses, and draws conclusions about what is known about the study topic. Its purpose is to produce a position (thesis statement) that reflects the current understanding about the study question.

The simple literature review begins by:

  1. Selecting and identifying a research interest for inquiry. This is called the preliminary study question. As you proceed, you narrow and refine this interest into a research topic, based on an initial exploration of the literature.
  2. The research topic is a clear and concise statement that defines and describes what will be researched. Its definition identifies and frames the scope of the literature review.
  3. The literature review canvasses the literature, documenting and cataloguing pertinent knowledge. From this information, it presents an evidence-based analysis of the present understanding of the topic.
  4. The product of the simple literature review is the development of a case that argues what is known about the topic. The case’s conclusion, the thesis statement, answers the question posed by the research interest.

Figure 1. Simple Literature Review Process (adapted from Machi & McEvoy, 2016) [ Transcript]

For this course you will be focusing on connecting your interest with your topic and then making an argument for your topic.

In this paper you are presenting an initial literature review on what you have discovered on your topic.

Remember, next week your team member will be providing you with additional articles on your topic to expand your literature review. In Week 6, you will incorporate your team members’ articles to develop your full literature review. As mentioned earlier, literature review is an iterative process. Make edits to your final literature review paper after you receive feedback from your instructor.

Your literature review draft should have an introduction, body and conclusion. It should be no more than 5 pages and have 5–7 references.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Week 5

Distorted Assumptions: Uncovering Errors in Learning

Introduction

Quote

Becoming aware of our limitations can help us learn how to compensate for them. Awareness involves recognition of how we have been influenced by our culture and biography to acquire these limitations in the first place.

~ Mezirow

Distorted Assumptions: Uncovering Errors in Learning

I’m Mexican. Does that change your assumptions about me? (Vancour, 2017) [Closed captioned]

This week you will discover the nature of errors in learning. Mezirow (1991) states that, “becoming aware of our limitations can help us learn how to compensate for them. Awareness involves recognition of how we have been influenced by our culture and biography to acquire these limitations in the first place” (p. 119). The idea of intellectual development continuing into adulthood is contrary to what was once believed by researchers. Researchers have since come to understand the distinct features of intellectual development in adults and the correlation to reflective judgment. Adult learning theory is anchored in the cognitive learning domain and focuses on how individuals construct meaning and make judgments about new information and controversial issues. The components associated with reflective thinking provide adults with a variety of cognitive skills sets that can be used when addressing a multitude of adult tasks. As noted in the introductory video, all fall prey to personal assumptions, but recognizing one’s cognitive bias helps one to be reflective thinkers.

King and Kitchener (1994) note:

Reflective judgments are made by examining and evaluating relevant information, opinion, and available explanations (the process of reflective thinking), then constructing plausible solution for the problem at hand, acknowledging that the solution itself is open to further evaluation and scrutiny. (p. 2)

In your reading for the week, Kitchener describes seven stages in the development of reflective judgment that have been clustered into three levels: pre-reflective thinking, quasi-reflective thinking, and reflective thinking. Stage 1 represents less well-developed thinking skills that tend to be prone to what the authors call “epistemic premise distortions” or errors in thinking, while Stage 7, a more sophisticated, pragmatic approach to solving complex and controversial problems (as cited in Mezirow, 1991, p. 124). Beginning in adolescence and through to adulthood, learners progress through these stages, developing stage-specific skills that inform their judgments and justifications in response to problems, according to one’s age, experience, and learning environment. King and Kitchener’s (2002) research questions were: “How do people decide what they believe about vexing problems? How do people arrive at their judgments about complex and controversial problems?” (p. 1).

References

King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (1994). The development of reflective judgment in adolescence and adulthood. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (2002). King and Kitchener: The reflective judgment model. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ss.8804

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

University of Michigan. (n.d.). The reflective judgment stages. Retrieved from http://umich.edu/~refjudg/reflectivejudgmentstages.html

Vancour, V. (2017). I’m Mexican. Does that change your assumption about me [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE4-req-Hes

Required Studies

Content

  • Textbook Reading

Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning (Mezirow, 1991)

Chapter 5: Distorted Assumptions: Uncovering Errors in Learning, pages 118‒144

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Be conversant in the links between critical theory, critical pedagogy, and critical adult education.
    • Partner Recommended Literature Search Results (Group Discussion)
    • Book Study Presentation (Book Group Activity)
    • Analyzing Reflective Judgement
  • Understand and discuss the competing agendas in education and the key debates around transformational learning.
    • Partner Recommended Literature Search Results (Group Discussion)
    • Book Study Presentation (Book Group Activity)
    • Analyzing Reflective Judgement
  • Develop a familiarity with perspectives on transformational learning and how these perspectives have informed transformation in educational theories.
    • Partner Recommended Literature Search Results (Group Discussion)
    • Book Study Presentation (Book Group Activity)
    • Analyzing Reflective Judgement

Heads Up

Final Project: The Case for Transformative Education

Last week you completed an initial literature review on your topic in the Literature Review Draft activity. This week you will provide your team member with additional peer-reviewed articles on their topic to expand their literature review and provide a different perspective that has not been included. Likewise, your team member will do the same for you. Next week (Week 6), in the Literature Review activity you will incorporate your team members’ suggested articles to develop your full literature review. As mentioned earlier, literature review is an iterative process. Make edits after you receive feedback from your instructor to your final literature review paper.

Week 5 - Discussion: Book Study Presentation (Book Group Activity)

Initial Post Due Tuesday

Develop an infographic accompanied by a written script that deepens applicability of the concepts presented. Address the following requirements in the written script of your infographic:

  • Describe the key takeaways from the book.
  • Did this book change how the group thought about this subject? If so, how?
  • Were there any ideas in the book that you did not agree with or need more time to research?
  • Connect the book's themes to the course readings in at least two direct ways.

Note: Please make sure that you briefly review content for Weeks 5, 6 and 7 to see if you can connect to themes.

Begin organizing the team’s efforts in the group discussion area and continue the discussion throughout the week. Explore communication applications (Skype, Google Hangout, Zoom, Webex, Blackboard Collaborate, etc.) for synchronous communication and Google Docs as a tool for collaboration.

You may assign one component of the assignment to each group member and then combine each component to create the finished product. Please have one group member post the final infographic with each group member’s name in the subject line.

Refer to the the following resources to create your infographics: 13 Incredible Tools for Creating Infographics (Creative Blog Staff, 2018) and Data Visualization: The Best Infographic Tools for 2017 (Marr, 2017).

Please discuss the strategies within your group to respond to questions for the peer response activity. Please ensure that all members contribute to the peer response activity equitably.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Peer Responses Due Wednesday

Read your classmates’ presentations. Acknowledge your peers’ contributions by providing thoughts and feedback to extend the discussion. Ask questions to learn more about the presentation.

Please discuss the strategies within your group to respond to questions for the peer response activity. Please ensure that all members contribute to the peer response activity equitably.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

References

Creative Blog Staff. (2018). 13 incredible tools for creating infographics. Retrieved from https://www.creativebloq.com/infographic/tools-2131971

Marr, B. (2017). Data visualization: The best infographic tools for 2017. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/09/16/data-visualization-the-best-infographic-tools-for-2017/#181542ab7d24

Week 5 - Discussion: Partner Recommended Literature Search Results (Group Discussion Board)

Initial Post Due Thursday

Earlier this week you received four to five peer-reviewed articles from your team member on your topic. After reviewing your articles. Ask clarifying questions to understand why the articles were selected. Share how the articles would help or do not support your topic. What insight did you gain from this exercise?

Peer Responses Due Friday

Read your classmates’ response. What did you learn from this activity? How difficult or easy was it to research the topic and provide a holistic viewpoint of the topic? What insight did you gain from this exercise?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

Note: This is a pass/no-pass discussion post that must be submitted by the due day.

Note: The group discussion board can be accessed by selecting the Exploring Literature Review Link in the course menu in Blackboard. Please post your Google Slides link or your Google Docs link in the Blackboard Group Discussion area so that your instructor can view your team’s collaboration effort. To learn more about using Blackboard Group Discussion Board, review the information from Blackboard Help: Groups (Blackboard Inc., n.d.)


Week 5 - Assignment: Peer Feedback Form For Book Study Presentation

Due Saturday

For the last four weeks you collaborated with your group to complete the Book Study Presentation. To ensure fairness and accountability, please submit a brief evaluation of your own and your peers’ contribution to the post by completing the Peer Work Group Evaluation Form

(Grey, 2018b).

Note: This is a pass/no-pass assignment that must be submitted by the due day.

Click here for information on course rubrics.

References

Grey, A. (2018b). Peer work group evaluation form [Class handout]. Portland, OR: Concordia University.

Week 5 - Assignment: Analyzing Reflective Judgement

Due Saturday

Kitchener and King (2002) describe seven stages in the development of reflective judgment which has been clustered into three levels: pre-reflective thinking, quasi-reflective thinking, and reflective thinking. Stage 1 represents less well-developed thinking skills which tend to be prone to what the authors call “epistemic premise distortions” or errors in thinking, to Stage 7, a more sophisticated, pragmatic approach to solving complex and controversial problems (as cited in Mezirow, p. 124). After reviewing this week’s required studies, write a 4- to 5-page paper to include the following:

Part 1:

  • Give an example of an experience where you had to arrive at a judgment about complex and controversial problems.
  • Describe which of the seven stages in the development of reflective judgment you operated from in this situation.
  • Which of the three premise distortions (Epistemic, Sociolinguistic, or Psychological Premise Distortion) influenced your thinking?
  • Analyze the situation through a transformational lens. Would you respond to the situation differently now, and if so, how? If not, why not?

Part 2:

  • What were the main takeaways from your book study presentation and one of the other presentations that you reviewed? How will you use the information from these book presentations?
  • What questions were not answered from your readings? What questions will you explore further on the topics you learned this week?

Click here for information on course rubrics.

References

King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (2002). King and Kitchener: The reflective judgment model. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ss.8804

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Week 5 - Discussion: Personal Reflection Corner (Optional)

Psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia, and the University of Washington have created a test which measures unconscious bias. It is called the Implicit Association Test (Project Implicit, 2011). You are encouraged to take this test to become self-aware of your unconscious bias.

References

Project Implicit. (2011). Implicit association test. Retrieved from https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/education.html

Activity Summary

Due Tuesday: Post Discussion: Book Study Presentation (Book Group Activity)

Due Wednesday: Post Peer Responses: Book Study Presentation (Book Group Activity)

Due Thursday: Post Discussion: Partner Recommended Literature Search Results (Group Discussion Board)

Due Friday: Post Peer Responses: Partner Recommended Literature Search Results (Group Discussion Board)

Due Saturday: Submit Assignment: Peer Feedback Form For Book Study Presentation

Due Saturday: Submit Assignment: Analyzing Reflective Judgement

Saturday [optional]: Post Discussion: Personal Reflection Corner (Optional)

WEEK 6

Perspective Transformation

Introduction

Quotes

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

~ C. S. Lewis

If we want to create spaces that are safe for the soul, we need to understand why the soul so rarely shows up in everyday life.

~ Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

VIDEO: Why it is worth listening to people you disagree with (Wood, 2018)

In the last five weeks, you have learned the challenge of changing meaning schemas and meaning perspectives that are deep-rooted in beliefs systems. This week you will dig deeper and explore how meaning perspectives can shift. In the introductory video, Zachary Wood (2018) makes a case that in the long run meaning perspectives are unlikely to change if one does not engage in difficult conversations to understand others’ views. He reminds his listeners the goal of the discussion is not so much to agree or compromise individual beliefs, but a genuine commitment to understand more deeply the reasoning and the historical context of one’s thinking. As leaders who are transforming society one person at a time, it is necessary to recognize the diverse views people have and respond with understanding and empathy rather than dismissing them.

In Week 5 you engaged in a study of the common mistakes and errors people make in rational constructs—mistakes of logic that include informal fallacies, assumptions, epistemic distortions, sociolinguistic distortions, and psychological premise distortions. You have learned that even the way you engage in social or political discourse rests on a framework of language that predisposes you to certain outcomes, meanings, and conclusions.

This week you will begin the next step in your study—an examination of perspective transformation. Perspective transformation is the process by which you improve your ability to anticipate reality and differentiate and integrate your experiences. Self-consciousness and self-awareness allow you to process information into nuanced categories of meaning, and a single event into several different interpretations.

Mezirow (1991) advises:

We often merely correct our interpretations . . . [but] the transformation of a  meaning perspective, which occurs less frequently, is more likely to involve our sense of self and always involves critical reflection upon the distorted premises sustaining our structure of expectation. Perspective transformation is the process of becoming critically aware of how and why our assumptions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world. . . . Any major challenge to an established perspective can result in transformation. These challenges are painful; they often call into question deeply held personal values and threaten our very sense of self. (pp. 167‒168) 

You will discuss transformational logic and orthogenesis and will look at how educators have differentiated from their environments even though powerful factors existed to shape them otherwise. What acts of constructive imagination have you formulated through your past experience? What was it like to shift into a new level of consciousness? What dividends have you reaped through integration and an expanded ability to manage complexity?

Mezirow (1991) cites Boyd and Myers for their Jungian approach to transformative education and lists the virtues of a transformative educator, which are the ability to provide “seasoned guidance to help the learner develop an inner dialogue, and compassionate criticism to help the learner question his or her present way of viewing of reality” (p. 166) in order to seek understanding through discernment.

Consider for a moment, the word discernment. Of Latin origin, it means, simply, “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure” or “to detect with the senses other than vision” (Merriam-Webster, 2013). Synonyms include wisdom, insight, and perception. As you examine Mezirow’s (1991) position in perspective transformation, this etymological discussion will help you bring clarity to terms like “presentational awareness” and “meaning perspective” (p. 167).

Then Mezirow (1991) introduces a 10-phase perspective transformation process that many of you will recognize in your own lives. How many of you returned to school as adult learners and were exposed to new ideas antithetical to those embraced by your culture, family, or community? You may have felt guilty and tried to overcome that feeling by trying harder, returning to more familiar roles with renewed dedication, only to return to the new perspective because it was freeing and enlarged your weltanschauung. For some of you, that experience was one where self-worth, which had previously been unavailable or unreachable due to life circumstances, suddenly became a possibility through knowledge and skills acquisition. For others, it may have been the discovery that your struggles were not unique; they were, in fact, universal. And, for still others, the exposure to new (to you, anyway) perspectives gave you terms like “cognitive dissonance,” which identified acute ontological frameworks in which you recognized you were enmeshed.

Jane Taylor (as cited in Mezirow, 1991, pp. 172‒173) developed a six-step model, indicating that transformation begins with a triggering event and concludes in personal grounding and development. She divides it into three distinct phases:

  1. generation of consciousness
  2. transformation of consciousness
  3. integration of consciousness

Does her formulation of transition points square with your life experience? Are there additional phases or steps in the process that you would add? At what points in this process have you stepped away from a transformative event because it was simply too difficult to proceed and returned to an earlier, more comfortable meaning perspective?

An additional tool in your cognitive repertoire is rational thought in an area often ruled by emotional and unconscious thought. It is the advanced formulations of transformative theory itself that can help educators navigate some of the crisis points in transformation. These transformation points of particular difficulty include immobilization at the critical juncture where commitment to reflective action is so demanding or threatening that a learner becomes immobilized. This is an important moment to shift your investigation directly to your learning. Think about how the adult learners you know have experienced transformation as a transcendent experience and at what stages other learners grappled with disequilibrium, far removed from transformation.

References

Discerment. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discernment

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Palmer, P. J. (2004). A hidden wholeness: The journey toward an undivided life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wood, Z. R. (April, 2018). Why it’s worth listening to people you disagree with [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/zachary_r_wood_why_it_s_worth_listening_to_people_we_disagree_with

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Identify and critique the dominant theories of social change and education, including the various assumptions embedded in conceptualizations of transformation.
    • Transformative Learning
    • Review of Mezirow’s Theory
  • Cultivate the ability to question, deconstruct, and then reconstruct knowledge in the interest of transformational learning.
    • Literature Review
    • Review of Mezirow’s Theory
    • Literature Review (Turnitin)
  • Recognize and critique critical theory studies and apply concepts to one’s own research.
    • Review of Mezirow’s Theory

Required Reading

Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning (Mezirow, 1991)

  • Chapter 6: Perspective Transformation: How Learning Leads to Change, pages 143‒195
  • Chapter 7: Fostering Transformative Adult Learning, pages 196‒226

Read: Transformational Learning In Ministry (Young, 2013) [Web page]

Read: Majority of White Americans Say They Believe Whites Face Discrimination (Gonyea, 2017) [Web page]

Read: How Black Americans See Discrimination (Demby, 2017) [Web page]

Read: 5 Ways to Change Behavior At Work (Udemy, 2018) [Web page]

Read: A Theory in Progress? (Taylor, & Cranton 2013) [Web page]

Read: Criticism of Transformational Learning Theory (Grey, 2018a) [PDF]

Read: A Beautiful Metaphor: Transformative Learning Theory (Howie & Bagnall, 2013) [Web page]

Read: A Critical Comparison of Transformation and Deep Approach Theories of Learning (Howie & Bagnall, 2015) [Web page]

Watch: Joshua Klein: The Intelligence of Crows (Klein, 2008) [Video]

Watch: The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage (David, 2017) [Video]

Initial Post Due Monday

As noted in your reading, Jane Taylor (as cited in Mezirow, 1991, pp. 172‒173) developed a six-step model of transformative learning indicating that transformation begins with a triggering event and concludes in personal grounding and development. Explore the six steps through your required reading. Taylor divides the process into three distinct phases:

  1. generation of consciousness
  2. transformation of consciousness
  3. integration of consciousness

Describe your own—or a friend’s—navigation through Taylor’s stages of transformation. Does Taylor’s formulation of transition points square with the person’s or your life experience? Are there additional phases or steps in the process that should have had been added? At what point in this process have you or the person stepped away from a transformative event because it was simply too difficult to proceed and hence returned to an earlier, more comfortable meaning perspective? Explain the outcomes.

This is a particularly sensitive post. As such, our community will agree to maintain confidentiality; it is also advisable to use pseudonyms and other means of disguising key information. Thank you, each one, for your care of one another, your courage, and your understanding that we are treading on sacred ground as we learn about transformational events in one another’s lives.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Peer Responses Due Tuesday

Read your classmates’ responses. Read your classmates’ responses. Is your interpretation of the Jane Taylor’s Model as the same as or different from your peers’? Select one of your peer’s posts and extend the discussion.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

Note: This is a pass/no-pass discussion post that must be submitted by the due day.

Click here for information on course rubrics.

References

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Initial Post Due Wednesday

Transformational learning theory is popular and widely used. However, critics of Mezirow’s work raise some important issues such as understanding experience as a construct (Taylor & Cranton, 2013) or the idea of perspective taking as is questionable (Howie & Bagnall, 2013; Howie & Bagnall, 2015). Over the last six weeks you have been developing critical thinking skills that include incorporating multiple perspectives. In 4- to 5-paragraphs discuss the shortcomings of transformational learning theory. Provide examples to support your thinking. What concepts do you not agree with and why?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Peer Responses Due Thursday

Read your classmates’ responses. Reflect and comment on two or more of your peers’ posts to which you relate the most.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

Note: This is a pass/no-pass discussion post that must be submitted by the due day.

References

Howie, P., & Bagnall, R. (2013). A beautiful metaphor: Transformative learning theory. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 32(6), 816–836. Retrieved from https://library.cu-portland.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_tayfranc10.1080/02601370.2013.817486&context=PC&vid=CONC&search_scope=summit_alma_pc&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Howie, P., & Bagnall, R. (2015). A critical comparison of transformation and deep approach theories of learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34(3), 348–365. Retrieved from https://library.cu-portland.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_ericEJ1061182&context=PC&vid=CONC&search_scope=summit_alma_pc&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Taylor, E. W., & Cranton, P. (2013). A theory in progress? European Journal of Research on the Education and Learning of Others, 4(1), 33‒47. Retrieved from http://www.rela.ep.liu.se/issues/10.3384_rela.2000-7426.201341/rela5000/rela5000.pdf

Due Saturday

The purpose of conducting a literature review is to demonstrate to readers your knowledge of the topic. It also engages the reader with the design of your topic by first showing how you organized your investigation and then how other researchers provided support and arguments for the idea, as well as their interpretation of that idea from a multifaceted perspective.

Over the last few weeks you have been working with your team member to assist you in this endeavor. One common bias when conducting a literature review search is to look for articles that support your viewpoint. This is called confirmatory bias. To avoid this bias, your team member provided you additional articles last week which provided a perspective you had not previously considered.

This week you will incorporate the research articles and complete your literature review. You will be building on your draft literature review. You may need to organize your literature draft a little differently in order to include these arguments. In the end, your literature review should provide a strong argument for exploring your topic and the current research in the field. This week’s literature review should include the edited draft literature review that you completed in Week 4, should not exceed eight pages, and should have 8–11 references.

WEEK 7

Weltanschauung: Perspective Transformation

Introduction

While we should be wary of simple explanations, our goal is to render complex phenomena understandable.

~ Michael Fullan

The new mission of schools is to prepare students to work at jobs that do not yet exist, creating ideas and solutions for products and problems that have not yet been identified, using technologies that have not yet been invented. We must teach our way out.

~ Linda Darling-Hammond

What kids wish their teachers knew (Schwartz, 2016) [Closed captioned]

As you move into the final phase of your work together, think back to what you knew of transformative education prior to joining this class. Think of the meaning perspectives you have discovered and the potential of transformative experience as an adult learner and educator. Consider the early discussion about transformation as an idea and theory. Are you beginning to experience transformative learning at a symbolic level? At an organic level? Or, simply at a cognitive level?

In last week’s learning, did you discovered some of the ways that are possible to move beyond false horizons and assumptions, past intellectual mistakes, to a more mature level of cognitive differentiation and awareness? As you learned last week, sometimes social movements are made more powerful when people identify with them. Social movements, in turn, give audible feedback to an evolving consciousness in the form of critical self-reflection (Mezirow, 1991, p.194).

This week your attention turns to the environment in which adult transformative learning thrives and enriches the classroom or training experience. In the introductory video, Schwartz (2016) promotes the idea that simple classroom activities that connect educators to their students’ stories help shape students’ worldviews. In addition to a safe and healthy environment, qualities that precipitate transformative experience include freedom, equality, reciprocity, and critical reflection even if the ideal conditions are seldom reached (Mezirow, 1991). As educators, you are responsible for the classroom or training environment and subject to ethical considerations that Mezirow examines and for the most part, absolves. Mazirow views the role of transformative learning as uniquely fitted for adult education and assumes that educators know the difference between education and indoctrination.

How do you differentiate between education and indoctrination? In this class you have directly exposed your personal indoctrinations to exacting symbolic analysis through the machinations of this class. Today these two terms are implicated in your academic and professional career and help inform your understanding of the overall educational process.

How have paradigm shifts and an expanded worldview helped you recognize your own indoctrination? How has this recognition helped you avoid unconsciously harnessing your students with a hidden value system? Experience informs that some of the brightest students are the first to sense indoctrination where it is unfair or violates norms of intellectual honesty. Can you identify moments in your educational experience where you experienced indoctrination? As an educator are you now aware of meaning perspectives that may have caused you to unknowingly indoctrinate your students? Do not forget to discuss stories of emancipation, where transformation revealed new and freeing ways of being.

References

Asacker, T. (2013). Why Ted Talks don’t change people’s behaviors [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0jTZ-GP0N4

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Schwarz, K. [TEDx Talks]. (2016, December 1). What kids wish their teachers knew | Kyle Schwartz | TEDxKyoto [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pcKbf_vpHg

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Cultivate the ability to question, deconstruct, and then reconstruct knowledge in the interest of transformational learning.
    • Weltanschaaung Revisited
    • Final Project: The Case for Transformative Education (Taskstream)
  • Reconstruct personal vision of future roles in education, and understand how individual assumptions and biases affect leadership behaviors.
    • Weltanschaaung Revisited
    • Final Project: The Case for Transformative Education (Taskstream)
  • Recognize and critique critical theory studies and apply concepts to one’s own research.
    • Weltanschaaung Revisited
    • Final Project: The Case for Transformative Education (Taskstream)

Required Studies

Watch: How to Change the World (Stevenson, 2017) [Video] [Closed Captioned]

Initial Post Due Monday

You are invited to share with the class how your worldview has changed as a result of this course of study. Please share an action that you will take to integrate a new meaning perspective in your life. How has your study of transformative education enriched your ability to seek and explore as an adult learner? In your experience, is it more difficult to take direct action installing a new paradigm, or is the more difficult work harnessing the intellectual courage to challenge core assumptions?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Peer Responses Due Wednesday

Read your classmates’ responses. Reflect and substantively comment on two or more of their posts. Support your statements with evidence from the required studies, other research, and experiences. You are required to respond to comments or questions about your posts.

Due Saturday

The Case for Transformative Education is a critical assessment that assesses the extent to which you understand and develop the necessary skills and processes to challenge the status quo effectively. In essence, it assesses how well candidate-leaders deconstruct conformity to the many social and cultural canons which have permeated the workplace, including public schools. You are expected to demonstrate a reframe of your worldview through the incorporation of new knowledge and understanding, and to provide evidence of your transition from knowledge transmission toward transformational learning. That is, you encourage visionary thinking for progressive social change.

In addition, you are assessed on your ability to question, deconstruct, and reconstruct knowledge in the interest of transformational learning. Also, assessments include your reconstructed personal vision of future roles in your profession, and understanding of how individual assumptions and biases affect leadership behaviors. Since writing is an integral skill cultivated in the doctoral program, your culminating project will also assess fluidity, cogence, and scholarliness of the manuscript, that is, depiction of clear headings and transitions, and well-documented references in the reference section.

Throughout the core and concentration courses you are developing skills needed to be an independent Principal Investigator of a social science research project. These skills include diligent scientific inquiry and creativity, independent thinking, proactive project planning and implementation, self-direction, and transformational leadership. Each intentional action you take along the way builds your professional habits, capabilities, and dispositions in the areas above, thus developing the mindset of a scholar-researcher.

Final Project: The Case for Transformative Learning

Your final paper will be a compilation of your course papers (see the list below) with an added introduction and conclusion. Each of your course papers should comprise a section of your final paper.

Your final project should be combined into one fluid paper with clear headings and transitions and one reference section at the end of the compilation. An introduction and final chapter with conclusions should be included.

  • Week 1: Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Early Template
  • Week 2: How We Understand Experience
  • Week 3: Two Domains of Learning
  • Week 4: Literature Review Draft (5‒7 references. No more than 5 pages)
  • Week 5: Analyzing Reflective Judgement
  • Week 6: Literature Review (You will be building upon your mini-literature review. 8‒10 references. No more than 8 pages.)
  • Week 7: Weltanschauung Revisited (Discussion Post – Has your worldview expanded?)

This week, you will order these works in the following outline:

  • Title Page
  • Final project: A Case for Transformative Education
  • Abstract (244 words or less)
    • Body
    • Introduction
    • Analysis of Weltanschauung: Our Early Template
    • How We Understand Experience
    • Two Domains of Learning
    • Analyzing Reflective Judgement
    • Literature Review 8–10 references. No more than 8 pages.)
    • Weltanschauung Revisited (Discussion Post – Has your worldview expanded?)
  • Conclusions
  • References

In at least 20 pages, your final paper should be a fluid, cogent and scholarly manuscript with clear headings and transitions with at least 8‒10 references in the references section.

Note: This assignment is a critical assessment documenting your learning. Please be sure to review the rubric for the assignment.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

WEEK 8

Final Reflections

Introduction

If you hear a voice within you saying ‘you are not a painter’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

~ Vincent van Gogh

Why Ted Talks don’t change people’s behaviors (Asacker, 2014) [Closed captioned]

In the last seven weeks, you have come to recognize that transformative learning is complicated and uncomfortable. Knowledge is socially constructed by interacting and collaborating with people. Hence dialogue, listening, and critical thinking skills are vital for leaders who seek to create a space for transformational learning. It is essential to recognize that one often operates from a frame of reference that is developed from values, responses, and associations from childhood which may be based on distorted assumptions and bias. The objective of transformative learning is to revise old assumptions and ways of interpreting experience through critical reflection and self-reflection (Cranton, 1996).

Transformation takes time, and it is important to understand that several schemes are associated with one assumption. Thus changing one schema may not result in the associated change in meaning perspective. You may have many transformational learning experiences that change meaning schemas, but few instances of transformation where meaning perspectives change. Keeping this in mind is essential so that you can respond to yourself and others with compassion, humility, openness, and patience when you engage in uncomfortable situations. Throughout the course, you have had the opportunity to develop self-awareness skills through critical reflection. Continue the practice of introspection so that you can be part of the change process. In the introductory video, Asacker (2013) reminds you that the identity and the stories you tell yourself are the most significant motivators to change. As you continue in this doctoral journey, what will your story be?

References

Asacker, T. [TEDX Talks]. (2014, June 30). Why TED Talks don't change people's behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0jTZ-GP0N4

Cranton, P. (1996). Types of group learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 71, 25‒32.

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Demonstrate a high level of reflectivity about individual knowledge, learning process, and habits of mind.
    • Final Reflection Paper and Future Letter
  • Be conversant in the links between critical theory, critical pedagogy, and critical adult education.
    • Final Reflection Paper and Future Letter

Required Studies

There are no new required studies this week.

Due Wednesday

When you reach the end of first year of your doctoral studies, you will be required to write a summative Comprehensive Connection Paper incorporating theory, literature, major coursework concepts, and personal insight in order to demonstrate your understanding of inquiry and leadership in the field of education.

In order to prepare fully for this summative paper, this week you will write a 2- to 3-page reflection paper exploring the application of transformational learning through one of the following:

  • Concepts that you learned in this course as they shape your leadership inquiry

OR

  • Three areas of self-awareness that you gained from your readings, and course activities including the Personal Reflection Corner activities that helped change your meaning schema or perspective.

Also write a letter to your future self (1, 2, or 3 years from now) of the actions you are going to take based on what you have learned about yourself and transformational learning in this course.

If interested, explore the website FutureMe (n.d.) and send a copy of this letter to yourself in addition to the submission of your final reflection paper and the letter in the assignment dropbox.

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Note: This is a pass/no-pass assignment

For Your Professional Library

Ackerman, R. H., & Maslin-Ostrowski, P. (2002). The wounded leader: How real leadership emerges in times of crisis. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Andrews, A. (2009). The notice. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Press.

Atalay, B. (2006). Math and the Mona Lisa: The art and science of Leonardo da Vinci. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (2007). Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Brock, D. E. (2010). Measuring the importance of precursor steps to transformative learning. American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. Adult Education Quarterly 60(2), 122‒142.

Brookfield, S. D. (1995). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Burg, B. & Mann, J. D. (2007). The go-giver: A little story about a powerful business idea. New York, NY: Penguin.

Cranton, P. (1994). Understanding and promoting transformative learning: A guide for educators and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Estes, C. P. (1995). Women who run with the wolves: Myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. New York, NY: Ballantine.

Glickman, C. D. (2003). Holding sacred ground: Essays on leadership, courage, and endurance in our schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Johnston, B. V. (1995). Pitirim Sorokin: An intellectual biography. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Moore, T. (1992). Care of the soul: A guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life. New York, NY: Harper Perennial

Pink, D. H. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.

Seife, C. (2000). Zero: The biography of a dangerous number. New York, NY: Viking Press.

Sorokin, P. (1957). Social and cultural dynamics. Boston, MA: Porter Sargent.

Stein, J. D. (2009). How math explains the world: A guide to the power of numbers, from car repair to modern physics. New York, NY: Harper Collins/Smithsonian.

Taylor, E. (1998). Transformative learning: A critical review. ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education (Information Series, number 374). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED423422.pdf

Tisdale, E. J. (2003). Exploring spirituality and culture in adult and higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.