Notes on: Mezirow J. and Associates (2000) Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on A Theory in Progress.  San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Dave Harris

The Preface describes the growth of interest into a movement.  The transformation of perspectives is seen as the heart of the education process.  This involves becoming aware of the context, 'biographical, historical, cultural' (xii) of beliefs and feelings about self and role in society.  If maturity is the formative process, adulthood is a transformative process, involving a certain alienation from learned roles and perspectives, and more self determination.  Transformation often follows an initial disorientation and an eventual reintegration, but not to the old perspectives.  People can get stalled at any phase, and this tends to produce 'backsliding and self deception'.  Important relationships may also be threatened.  Commitment to transformative learning by tutors is often required, involving 'solidarity, empathy and trust' but not unconditional identification.

Kuhn on the paradigm was an early influence as was Freire on conscientization.  There's also a psychiatrist, Gould.  Another influence was Critical Theory and later Habermas, developing the kantian notion of critique to reflect on the very principles and categories of reason itself, but adding an emancipatory effect since one is released 'from the constraint of dysfunctional beliefs' (xiii).  Communicative competence and instrumental learning are the major domains of learning, discourses crucial, and reflection becomes a kind of self formation, dissolving the hold of unexamined beliefs.  [Looks like quite early Habermas, before the ISA?] Overall, a number of perspectives were incorporated, but the main applications were adult education, especially in democratic societies, with an increasingly vocational turn and the liberal tradition.  The project pursues the enlightenment goals of self emancipation through self understanding, combating systematically distorted communication.

The process may not involve deliberate thought, but rather the development of 'a generic adult learning capacity' [isas here?].

Chapter one Mezirow 'Learning to Think Like an Adult.  Core Concepts of Transformation Theory'.  1 -33.

We need to understand and find meaning in experience that we can integrate with what we know already.  A failure to understand can involve a return to tradition, authority, or 'various psychological mechanisms, such as projection and rationalisation, to create imaginary meanings' (3).  Meaning has to be constantly negotiated and contested.  Contextual understanding and critical reflection is crucial to adult learning.  We have different 'dimensions of awareness and understanding'.  There are no absolute truths or justifications, what worked as children often does not do so as adults.  Generally we tried to develop 'dependable beliefs' (4) and seek informed agreement about them, then to make decisions on the basis of these insights.

Bruner says that people make meaning in four modes: establishing intersubjectivity; relating events and utterances to action; being able to develop particular insights in context, relating to 'obligations, standards, conformities, and deviations'; making propositions, applying rules to arrive at 'decontextualized meanings', including rules of logic, and categories such as 'whole - part, object - attribute, and identity - otherness'. We can add another mode of making meaning involving becoming critically aware of assumptions and expectations of self and others.

Kitchener says that cognitive processing goes on at particular levels: computing, memorizing, reading and comprehending; monitoring progress and products as metacognition; 'epistemic cognition' (5) where we monitor problem solving and reflect upon the limits of knowledge with ill structured problems.  The latter is characteristic of adolescent and adult learning.  This is transformative learning.

When we learn we use prior interpretations to construe new interpretations,we appropriate 'symbolic models composed of images and conditioned affective reactions acquired earlier', to produce an individualistic frame of reference.  We extend this through analogy, intentionally or incidentally, and this often takes place outside of our awareness.  We use language to articulate this experience to our selves and others.  There is also 'presentational construal' involving experiencing 'presence, motion, colour, texture, directionality, aesthetic or kinaesthetic experience, empathy, feelings, appreciation, inspiration, or transcendence', which goes on beyond language.  Beliefs can be 'encoded'in actions and interactions.  Art, music and dance are also languages, and intuition, imagination and dreams can develop knowledge.

The unconscious acquisition of knowledge is crucial.  Human experience is affective and poetic.  Learning can involve psychotherapeutic transference, or modeling so as to enable reflection on assumptions. Cognition is always connected to 'affective and conative dimensions'.  [Conative seems to refer to how one acts on thoughts and feelings, going out, the other way from the affective, says Wikipedia] This is why learning can be 'an intensely threatening emotional experience' as we become more self aware.

Understanding is also both enabled and constrained by 'knowledge - power networks'(7) and cultural contexts and their supporting ideologies.  Context has to be acknowledged but also transcended in the interests of 'human connectedness'.  [The old enlightenment project of universality.  That and the rationality involved is going to be a real problem for feminists?  Or any post structuralists?]  Learning can be mindful if it involves 'the continuous creation of new categories, openness to new information, and an implicit awareness of more than one perspective.  It is not mindful if it relies on past forms of action or categories [mindful learning is rather rare then?].  We can attain this mindfulness to different degrees.

We can transform these implicit frames of reference making them more 'inclusive, discriminating, open, emotionally capable of change and reflective'(7-8).  This will require participation constructive discourse, and reflection on how people negotiate and act as autonomous.  It is particularly important to do this in democracies.  'It assumes the perfectibility of human beings' (8).  We have to be prepared to counter cultures, structures, ideologies and beliefs and the practices they support.  [A kind of critical pedagogy then?].

Habermas says there are two domains of learning, instrumental and communicative [references to TCA vol 1].  In the second, we test validity, truthfulness, sincerity, coherence and appropriateness.  We have to be aware of the assumptions being made, including whether people addressing us are qualified to do so.  These assumptions will involve intent, including ideological intents, and modality such as whether we are to understand utterances literally or metaphorically.  Most learning involves both domains, for example it is difficult to learn instrumentally without communication, but instrumental learning involves hypothetico-deductive logic, while communicative learning 'assumes a metaphorical - abductive logic (make an analogy; let each step in understanding dictate the next one)'(9).  Neither can transform frames of reference.  Validity in the form of empirical tests of truth is important in the former the her, while the latter aims and rational discourse and best judgment.  Reasons for taking options should be stated as objectively as possible.  Technical success can help to judge instrumental learning, success in coming to an understanding communicative learning.  The latter tends to lead to more autonomy [bit dubious].  There is also a third learning domain of emancipation, and this involves a transformation process in both of the other two.  Habermas also has normative learning [assuming common values] and 'impressionistic learning - learning to enhance one's impression on others'[a bit odd - relates to the rhetorical function of argument?]

Discourse is a specialized use of dialogue aimed at common understanding and justifying assertions and beliefs by assessing reasons, examining supporting evidence and alternative perspectives.  It taps collective experience to produce best judgments.  This requires everyone to be able to find their voice to participate, and this can be limited by relations of power.  It also requires emotional maturity 'awareness, empathy, and control' or Goleman's emotional intelligence [yech -- uncritical --emotional labour is the less conformist term]. Empathy and social skills go together.

Cultural norms sometimes involve individual competition, however, where arguments are seen as fights between opposing sides, and arguments can even become knocking copy.  Media practices emphasize this notion of argument.  [There is also a notion of repressive tolerance where every argument must have another side].  Instead, we should aim at best judgments which are subject to review by 'a broader group of participants', deliberately seeking out challenging viewpoints and minority views [the myth of the humanities teacher].  Consensus and help arrived at the best judgment but dissensus has to be allowed as well [good old JS  Mill], managed by solidarity security and empathy again.  Arguments are about finding agreements while welcoming differences.  He have to except 'the simultaneous existence of mutually exclusive internal, external, and relational realities' (13) and this is open mindedness [Bruner sounds like Perry in saying that we should maintain our own views as well].  We should be doing epoche, suspending judgment.

The source of argument to take place, participants must possess certain qualities:  the most accurate and complete information; freedom from coercion; openness to alternative points of view and empathy; the ability to my evidence; an awareness of the context of ideas including personal ones; an equal opportunity to participate in the various roles; willingness to seek understanding and judgment at least tentatively , while pursuing the better argument [the usual idealistic stuff which Habermas's  opponents have rebuked,  not least of whom is Lyotard who says this is terroristic, with all arguments having to appear before some grand tribunal].  These are ideal conditions [and can only be asserted counterfactually?  As a great way of debunking the university seminar, for example or the appalling consultation exercises in modern management].

We might add a commitment to active listening, a refusal to dominate and judge, attentive caring.  We should pursue active dialogue and interaction, with a committed effort to unblock distortions.  This is close to the excepted model of adult education, to develop autonomous learners for lecturers to become collaborative learners.  The graduate seminar is a model in some ways [if it is a model seminar it seems!  15.  We can examine real ones and see what the limits of this model might be including student and staff interest in instrumental outcomes, not pursuing the better argument]. 

We should preserve norms like freedom, equality and tolerance, and try to examine how these are limited in particular cultures and societies [feminism would be a good area here]. Economic and political oppression prevent participation, which is 'why adult educators are dedicated to social justice' (16) [sweet!  We need some very solid analysis of how such oppression works not just some idealistic commitment].

Frames of reference are important and contain cognitive and emotional elements.  They can affect ongoing interpretations to such an extent that 'each person can be said to live in a different reality' (16).  They often include 'cultural paradigms' which are assimilated unintentionally, or personal perspectives from unique biographies.  Sometimes, they can be complementary, and become world views as in Christian belief.  They can also include philosophy and social theory.  They include a 'habit of mind' (17), a set of assumptions or predispositions which can be sociolinguistic, moral or ethical, epistemic, philosophical, psychological or aesthetic.  They can also provide general political orientations, conservative or liberal or as well as characteristics such as sociability or loneliness, confidence, ethnocentricity, respect for law, challenging of authority, modes of thinking, and how to interpret behaviour or  approach problems, power to act, fear of change, and lots of others.  Habits get expressed as 'a point of view', 'clusters of meaning schemes' (18) which can be immediate expectations, or longer term attitudes and judgments.  They do have an immediate and often unconscious effects and can be arbitrary.  They suggest a line of action which is followed automatically until it is reflectively assessed.  These frames of reference provide us with a sense of stability and identity, they are emotionally charged, and resist alternative viewpoints.  Questions about them 'are apt to be viewed as a personal attack', and there is a tendency to learn only those things that are compatible.  Transformative learning has to change this mode, introducing the idea of dependability, justifying interpretations, testing truths, becoming more inclusive and all the rest of the nice things [just seems to be a classic justification of the weird and marginal world of the professional academic.  Why should anyone else bother?].

Learning can involve elaborating existing frames of reference; learning new frames of reference; transforming points of view; transforming habits of mind [The last two really follow from the first two, since points of view and habits of mind are components of frames of reference. I still prefer my own homespun notion of change based on Kelly grids: you can add new constructs; you can alter your position on the same constructs as in 'slot - rattling'; you can begin to  ladder by developing metaconstructs.  Admittedly, this stuff draws attention to the quality of the constructs whether they are tentative for dogmatic, limited or open, reflexive, able to incorporate collective views and so on].  Politically, reified structures and dominant narratives are challenged, and this can itself become a frame of reference, 'a dispositional orientation' (19).  The assumptions challenged can be  rooted in epistemology,  logic, ethics, various kinds of social political realities or disciplinary frameworks and so on.  Brookfield refers to sets of assumptions - paradigmatic ones produce fundamental categories; prescriptive ones about what we think should be happening; causal ones about how the world works.  Apparently, the last ones are the easiest to identify. 

We transform frames of reference to make them more dependable [again] or to make our opinions more justifiable.  We challenge beliefs that are 'often inferential'(20), or habitual or external.  Imagination is important, including empathy.  Instrumental learning can improve by reflecting on assumptions about content and process, for example learning how to assess students.  We might question the premises used to define the problem, and shift from,say,  nasty summative to nice formative.

Transformations might be sudden and dramatic or incremental.  Good adult educators will make students feel more secure as learners, for example to produce incremental change in the herself conception.  Sometimes the most 'significant and emotionally exacting'(22) transformations involve changes in self conception.  There might well be phases including initial disorientation, self examination, critical assessment of assumptions, recognition that these discontents and problems are shared, exploring new options, planning a course of action, acquiring suitable knowledge and skills, provisionally trying new roles, building competence and self confidence, and a reintegration back into one's life.  Sometimes, missing components will fall into place.  Sometimes, a positive circle will develop.  Making things public can help address the historical dimensions, but learners also need to confront their difficulties.

Transformations can involve objective reframing, as in action learning, or subjective reframing involving critical self reflection.  The latter can be stimulated by: borrowing an external or unusual narrative; engaging in some systemic approach such as consciousness raising; encountering an organization with "double loop learning"; undergoing some transformation of personal and interpersonal relations as in counseling; pursuing adult education programs that focus on how people learn, sometimes known as "triple loop learning" (23).  Subjective reframing can lead to emotional struggle, and it requires an initial decision to become more autonomous.  It is often easier to be critically reflective of the assumptions of others.  It might be a characteristic only of maturity and adulthood [economic and social security for Bourdieu].  Action might not follow immediately, but should follow.  Transformed learners should refuse to be positioned [sic 24] by domination and oppression.  Possibilities will depend on context, however including cultural social and political ones, but we can at least become critically reflective.

Adults are assumed to be autonomous in our democracies, which implies they can understand, perceive and critically reflect.  However, support is required, and there is a conative dimension [see above].  Clearly, it is a social act.  We should assume that we learn as we develop adulthood, managing the rival pulls of heteronomy and autonomy, developing an increasingly abstract notion of action, from need to duty and will.

Adult education should be designed to assist such mature learners, helping them to critically reflect and effectively act, and this could comprise its 'philosophy' [justification or occupational ideology for teachers, but not necessarily for learners]. It should foster liberating conditions.  With autonomous choice, individuals are able to act and judge independently of external constraints (27) [very ambitious]. ' Sociologists, feminists and ecologists' have examined the constraints, however, and noted that human beings are always intersubjective.  The point is to combat reified forms.

We also need to address the relation between acquiring qualifications and developing autonomy.  However, equal opportunity is 'a shibboleth'.  However, adult educators are committed to 'create a more equal set of enabling conditions' [good example of the managerial assertion here, where we need no actual study of adult educators, because the adult educator is defined as a person committed to this, in the first place].  People are constructed from sources outside themselves.  There are obvious inequalities in the social structure, and we should all become critically reflective about them 'so [we] may take collective action to ameliorate them' (28).  Self transformation requires a democratic society, and democratic institutions, and if we had more democracy, we'd all be a jolly sight happier.  We can reject 'the postmodernist notion' (29) that 'autonomy implies an internalization of externally imposed disciplines of regulation'.

Greater autonomy is a goal and the method, but not a fixed goal - movement towards it will help.  There are no absolutes or certainties.  Everything is contested.  Learners need to be helped to explore their frames of reference, both good and the bad aspects of them, and see that these influence concepts and feelings.  It needs a transformation, or education, in the sense of leading out [blimey, old fashioned philosophy of education].  Adults should realize their potential, make more informed choices, engage more in social contexts, and adult educators want to make the possibilities more equal.  This goal is not a mere objective, which can often be personal such as getting a better job [acknowledged at last, 30].

Transformative learners will seek out others, and 'form cells of resistance to unexamined cultural norms'.  Adult educators must themselves be 'cultural activists' aiming at transformative learning.  However, they do not indoctrinate, but create opportunities.  They are keen to transfer their authority to the group and become collaborative learners.  They continually ask learners 'to critically assess the validity of norms'(31) [but not the norms of transformational learning, presumably].  Adult educators like to work with their learners 'with whom they have a feeling of solidarity'.  However everything depends on what the individual learner wants to learn, and this is the starting point in discourse.  Adult education is a protected learning environment which can foster more open forms of communication, helping learners to become critically reflective and more effective.  'Curricular, instructional methods, materials, assessment, and faculty and staff development should address both learner objectives and this goal of adult education'.

Brookfield, S.  Chapter five 'Transformative Learning as Ideology Critique': 125 -48. 

[Presumably this is the same Brookfield who developed the 4 lenses, later to become a cliché, where 'lens' refers to any sort of perspective or approach.  The original four referred to sources for developing critical thinking in education practice: autobiographical, students' eyes, the experience of colleagues, theoretical literature (Miller, B (2010) 'Brookfield's four lenses: becoming a critically reflective teacher']

Critical reflection needs to be defined, since it has both internal and external dimensions.  The latter involves power relations and 'hegemonic assumptions' (125).  It is not just a matter of making reflection deeper or more profound, it must be restored to its original connection with Frankfurt School and the notion of ideology critique.  Reflection itself is not critical.  We should reserve the term to involve analysis of power and self destructive assumptions that serve the interests of others, 'that is, hegemonic assumptions'(126).  It does not just take place when discussing politics and economics.  For example when we reflect on the standard model of the natural sciences, we can see that it emerges from a Eurocentric world view..  We can also reflect on emotional experiences to show that they are also 'socially learned' (127) or sometimes deliberately mobilized in moral panics.

Ideology critique is associated with Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse [all run together], and it turns on getting people to become aware of how capitalism has shaped their 'belief systems and assumptions (ideologies)'(128).  This notion is developed by Giroux.  Gramsci has been important - here, hegemony 'explains the way in which people are convinced to embrace dominant ideologies as always being in their own best interests'.  Ideology critique is crucial to critical reflection on the self evident nature of 'values, beliefs, myths, explanations, and justifications' (129).  Both Althusser and Bourdieu have talked about the unconscious dimensions at which this operates, and so has Williams with his notion of 'structures of feeling'[many differences have been suppressed here of course]

This is what Foucault means by the normalizing gaze, and it implies that the gaze is socially constructed, and so can be dismantled and remade [blimey, where do you start with this naive voluntarism!].  In adult education it becomes important to examine how 'considerations of power' frame and underpin adult educational processes and interactions, and to 'question assumptions and practices that seem to make our lives easier but that actually end up working against our own best long-term interests - in other words, those that are hegemonic' (131).

Mezirow sees this as one aspect of critical reflection, affecting cultural distortion and the effects of external ideas but that is still not the same as ideology and how it gets embedded in common sense and 'the givens of everyday reality' (130).  Mezirow talks about implicit critical reflection and the effects of assimilated values, but this is not intentional enough for Brookfield - we need to explicitly focus on analysis.  Nor does Mezirow's taxonomy hold up, as in the split between objective and subjective reframing.  In the latter, 'critical self reflection on assumptions (CSRA)'(131) looks at the psychological and sociological factors affecting experiences and beliefs, and this is divided into several sub categories [below] .  Only systemic  CSRA gets close to ideology critique, and there are doubts about whether these other elements can be separated out, what the taxonomy actually tells us, whether it is temporary or heuristic: if the categories are mutually exclusive, there are problems, which Mezirow himself admits. 

In fact, ideology critique can be applied even to the most private matters, and is the main organizing category.  Thus when Mezirow talks about narrative CSRA, apparently prompted by encountering a narrative where the author reflects critically on assumptions, this really involves a critique of the narrative form itself as a social construct, with linear developmental forms [so he needs a critique of realist narrative].  Brookfield does also not like those narratives that end in some claim to have emancipated oneself from earlier forms of oppression.  Postmodern critics of linear progress and narratives would see these as 'necessary palliatives but essentially false' (134), since it implies some core self which can be discovered as an effect of writing.  Organizational CSRA leads to reflection on the history and culture of workplaces, again this must mean grasping the broader social and economic context, including the impact of free market capitalism on the university in the form of payment by results.  Moral - ethical CSRA is allegedly a critique of value judgements and norms, but these are also clearly connected to social contexts.  Therapeutic CSRA examines feelings and dispositions, but these can arise from social contexts, such as media images or common forms of social relationship.  In epistemic CSRA, whole frames of reference are to be examined, but again epistemologies are 'socially created and learned' (135) [this shows the consequences of lumping together different sorts of ideology critique, though, since the notion of social creation and learning will differ between Marxists and others.  Brookfield is really operating with some social constructivism plus critique approach, the kind of critical poststructuralism common in education and usually associated with Foucault].

We can see what ideology would look like by considering the power relations of adult education, as shown in curriculum decision-making, evaluation, teaching methods, and typical discourses 'allowed in learner speech and writing'(136).  We refer explicitly to Foucault for the positive and negative aspects of power, and also for its widespread diffusion.  This makes encounters in adult education contested areas, 'struggles for material superiority and ideological legitimacy'(137, just as in the world outside.  We need to acknowledge it is not enough to refuse to dominate the group, because we still find attention focused on us.  It is disingenuous to pretend that we are the same as students.  Instead we have to critically analyze authority 'in front of them', admitting oppressive aspects of practice drawn to our attention by learners, colleagues and literature.  We then need to uncover 'hegemonic assumptions', especially those embedded in common sense and which appear to be in our own best interests although they are not in the long-term.  Here we can rely on Gramsci on the concealment of minority interests as majority ones.  Hegemony is so deeply embedded that is not easy to expose.  There are certainly no simple conspiracies except 'the conspiracy of the normal' (138).

Examples might include those interests that 'have little concern for adult educators mental or physical health', and which can in fact make prisoners of enthusiasts.  We need to challenge such hegemony, and develop 'counterhegemonic practices'.  One might involve challenging the view that adult educators should be engaged in 'self abasement by practitioners on behalf of learners', which enables them to be exploited by senior administrators playing on their guilt and increasing their workload.  [Great example, but an easy one - try examining assessment practices to see the complexity?]. 

What might be the implications for transformative learning?  The term tends to be used by professionals in ways which sidestep Mezirow's actual emphasis on 'a fundamental reordering of assumptions'(139).  This usually means it cannot be incremental but must be 'epiphanic, or apocalyptic', not just a deeper understanding of something, but a new understanding.  However, this means that transformation becomes all important, and facilitators find themselves feeling guilty if they do not produce major change.  The bulk of our work involves incremental change, and this can become devalued.  If we decide to describe that as transformative as well, we lose the utility of the term, it ceases to become distinctive, just as has the term 'empowerment'(140), far removed from Freire, and taken over instead by 'self help gurus', or even conservative movements.  There is also a danger of reifying and revering the term transformative, and then using it 'as a form of scriptural signaling to show peers that they subscribe to a certain set of beliefs and practices' (141), representing the educator as 'sensitive and empathic', committed to deep change.  Again there are parallels with the notion of meeting the needs of the learner, although these are never defined. [All these are necessary professional ideologies?]

Critical reflection of the kind discussed here is integral to transformative learning.  Mezirow talks about elaborating existing frames of references, learning new ones, transforming points of view and transforming habits of mind, and this clearly involves critical reflection at every stage.  However, critical reflection is a necessary condition of transformative learning, but not a sufficient one.  Thus even analyses of oppression in adult education classrooms need not lead to transformations in the form of 'substantial revision to the extent that its new form is qualitatively different from the old' (143).

For some, critical reflection must lead to social action if it is not to become self indulgent, and this has been raised by followers of Freire.  Mezirow in response has talked about transforming habits of mind which can be affected, rather than transforming social structures, that mental action does not necessarily lead to changes in behaviour, which requires things such as '"dependable information, requisite skills, or the emotional commitment to succeed"' (144).  Adult educators are not the same as agents of political mobilization or economic change.  Other radicals have agreed [the example is Myles Horton]: political initiatives focus on limited and specific goals, while education prepares people more generally.  Freire  himself has also talked about the limits of education in bringing about large scale transformation, and has urged teachers to become aware of the limits of education.  Initial naive optimism can end in terrible pessimism.

However, teachers can become cultural activists, again with the support of Freire.  However, analysis can also lead to 'an energy sapping radical pessimism concerning the possibility of structural change' (145).  The consequences of challenging dominant ideologies can be severe and can lead to demoralization and exclusion, 'cultural suicide'. We seem to be left only with 'a transformative pedagogy of hope'.

Isolation is particularly destructive, so critical reflection must be collaborative and social, and requires 'the help of critical friends' (146).  These can also help us analyze our own assumptions' and provide emotional sustenance.  A community of peers is crucially important.

[Note that Brookfield seems to have made some interesting points in articles about all this including 1994 'Details from the Dark Side: A Phenomenography of Adult Critical Reflection'.  International Journal of Lifelong Education 13 (1): 203-16.  There are also lots of dialogues between Mezirow and his colleagues in Adult Education Quarterly in the early 1990s]

[And now a few more practical bits]

Taylor, K.  Chapter six 'Teaching with Developmental Intention'.  151 - 80.

Lots of adult educators encounters students who do not fully understand the implications of what they are learning, even though they might do well on assignments.  For example, they do not commonly apply what they have learned to their own examples.  However, sometimes they do see that their own strongly held beliefs are not uniquely valuable.  The first assignment faced by an adult can be that disorienting dilemma which Mezirow describes, but there is often a problem to renegotiate relationships and roles to go into adult education in the first place.  It is necessary to provide a supportive learning environment, not to get people to abandon their views, but to compare them and let them negotiate new positions. 

Traditional learning environments seem to encourage surface understanding.  Deep learners are probably in a minority.  She and her colleagues did their own work on adult education and surveyed colleagues, to produce five dimensions and 36 elements of the developing learner, and collected stories of how people begin with a vocational intention and then lead into whether they are the sort of person who wants that sort of job.  The dimensions basically turn on: knowledge as a dialogical process [with self and others.  Self critique includes addressing contradictions, trying to be objective, and trying to join things up]; dialogical relationships with one's self [being self critical and analyzing contexts]; being a continuous learner [knowing strengths and weaknesses, accepting risks]; developing self agency and self authorship [with a suitable set of values, and isolating personal and social influences]; connecting with others [including 'engaging the aspect if dimension when confronting differences'] (161-62).

Teaching techniques include focusing on development, providing appropriate levels of support and challenge.  Three particular activities seem to be affective.  One involves reading around ethical dilemmas, where individual opinions are followed by small group activities, and further readings, hoping to develop the notion that knowledge is socially constructed.  The second one has instructors and learners writing educational life histories and then inviting people to identifying themes.  The third one asks learners to construct their own criteria to assess their work, after hearing all voices and facilitating the process of constructing the criteria: apparently these are then actually used.

All this can be seen as putting Kolb into practice, but starting with concrete experience.  Managerial assertions of effectiveness ensue.

Another contribution seems to begin on 168, by a certain Roberta Liebler.  She seems to use the same six dimensions.  I get it - she is the English teacher in example one.  We get some more detail here, for example one exercise she uses is role taking involving students considering the feelings of characters and authors.  They also get some prompts about ethical issues to help them - quite a lot of detail.  She says that students often do begin by looking for the right answer, but open ended questions must be asked instead.  Students have responded eagerly.  She has been able to explain the experts disagree.

The educational life histories bit is written by Clark and Kilgore.  Details include focusing on educational experience, posting the results on First Class. Students also post then they revisit their educational life history.  They provided only sketchy guidelines.  Apparently it works well, especially for women.

The self assessment exercise was used in graduate courses by Boud.  Self-assessment was justified first.  Students were then set questions about individual items and then clusters.  Sometimes they differed over which ones were the most important.  He agrees to use their criteria.  Sometimes they grade each other's work as well.  He does say that he might add 'important criteria', but only as a member of the group.  This is only one stage in self assessment, and he tries to build in others as well, to embed the practice.

Cranton, P.  Chapter 7 'Individual Differences and Transformative Learning': 181-204

This one models learning on Jung, which is summarized.  One main division is between extroversion or external orientation, and introversion or subjective interest in the self.  The idea is then that students match up their psychological preferences.  Types should not be accepted as permanent labels, however.  The goal is to individuate, in order to produce more authentic collectives at a later stage.  Different psychological preferences also filter the reception of transformation of theory itself.  There can be a general preference for the rational functions of thinking and feeling [feeling is rational for Jung, while the irrational appears to be matters of perception, for sensation and intuition, something not grounded on reason].  Others prefer irrational notions of sensing and intuition.  Transformation takes different shapes accordingly - for example, those who prefer the irrational tend to rely on thinking or feeling to produce change rather than more conventionally rational processes, although these are not entirely absent.  This also explains the subjective and objective dimensions.

The educator has to assist learners in discovering their psychological predispositions, including critical questioning of them.  Educators commonly work with incremental changes rather than some traumatic personal experience.  Specific strategies to increase self awareness include getting students to look at published inventories of psychological types and then discussed them; games and other activities to focus on difference among individuals [which seems to involve some initial stuff like Honey and Mumford]; pointing out differences as they arise; keeping 'dialogue journals' (197) where people partner up and comment on entries of partners.  Individuation is important and should also be encouraged, but not in specific directions of course.  Activities here can include asking people deliberately to go against social groups thinking in debates; critically analyzing professionally excepted theories or perspectives; asking students in exercises to describe their differences. Other techniques might include autobiography, critical incidents, collaborative problem solving.

We have to bear in mind psychological types, however, so that case studies and critical questioning and analyses work well with students who prefer the thinking function, while those who prefer the feeling function do not enjoy this conflict and prefer harmonious groups and collective explorations.  Those who like the sensing function will enjoy field trip simulations and role playing, while games, metaphors, imaging and brainstorming might encourage 'imagination, visioning or flights of fancy' for those who prefer the intuitive function.  Generally, we will need to maintain a balance to appeal to each.

We have to be aware that students might not think like us or share our preferences, and try to reinterpret behaviour like relating personal anecdotes, demanding practical illustrations, or going off on tangents.  We need to be aware of their own preferences: complete inventories ourselves; video our own teaching or do peer observation; keep a journal or log; discuss teaching with our peers; ask students to design their own learning activities and learn from them.

Cohen, J. and Piper, D. Chapter 8 'Transformation in a Residential Adult Learning Community' 205--28

[This is an account of a series of nine day residential settings and the transformative effects that can result.  It looks rather like a secular version of Guattari on transversality. Or a good OU summer school.  As the familiar social processes of initial disorientation and the abandonment of conventional roles including domestic ones, and the development of strong supportive roles among the students and informal relations with the instructors.  The technique is to listen to student narratives of educational failure and interruption, often followed by social failure and disintegration as well, and then to attempt to introduce new elements in to the narratives, largely social ones about disadvantage, it seems.  Students themselves add bits of the sort of transformation that Brookfield talks about, salvation narratives, discovery narratives and the like.  The educational part comes when they have to choose a topic for a project of their own and devise a study plan.  More or less any topic will do, since just about anything can be used to introduce critical elements. They are encouraged to use visual media as well. Their own educational routes is an obvious starting point.

A particular case explores some of the issues of excessive masculinity and how it has severely limited the life of a man whose macho father left early, and who sought images of masculinity in war films.  He was a Vietnam veteran himself, and suffered the usual effects including not being able to discusses experiences.  He encountered people with even worse personal stories of disintegration and drug addiction, and also found himself in a largely female group. His own reflections helped him realize he needed other people and he became softer and more reflective. Long term effects are less encouraging since the old patterns can reassert.]

Yorks, L and Marsick V Chapter 10 'Organizational Learning and Transformation': 253--81

[Converges with bone management -initiated stuff on change.Looks radical compared to more conventional bore-in presentations and positive results talked up as 'transformation', although long-term constraints admitted. Surprisingly,management does not seem to be much interested in radical change or empowerment --even university management!

The two techniques they discuss are variants of Action Learning, and Collaborative Inquiry -these have capital letters because some of them are copyright.  The idea is to get teams of people together to approach specific problems.  Action learning can take place at the number of levels, starting with just exploring existing frames of reference, more explicit 'scientific reflection', material that brings in personal development goals and learning styles, and finally critical reflection and transformations, which are still contextual and related to the organization, and require the intervention of learning experts and coaches.  Kolb figures large.  A case study featured a food company involving teams of senior managers working on projects suggested by corporate executives.  Different locations across the world were chosen, naturally. Everybody seemed a bit more friendly afterwards.  Some participants found it too risky to pursue ideas, however, and it was necessary to develop a certain distance, to show company allegiance, often accompanied by 'a personal script' to rationalize it all to themselves.  Nevertheless a certain dissonance emerged, with possible long-term unintended effects.

Collaborative Inquiry still aims to improve practice, usually in organizations like educational and welfare.  The technique involves repeating the episodes of reflection and action, and the notion of coinquiry rather than hierarchy.  The case study was a teacher's college.  Campus politics intervened at first, but there were some benefits noted, including willingness to experiment and to discuss teaching with others.  However, less support from management was forthcoming, and teams did not coincide with official structures.

The problem is that critically reflective structures of force to be 'parallel structures' (271), which risks them becoming either absorbed or marginalized.  Nevertheless some transformative learning took place, they argue.  However, the main goal remains making the organization more effective, and critical reflection means looking for constraints in the organization and in the personnel that might limit changes in the direction of greater effectiveness: the authors gloss this as fostering 'growth and development for both the organization and its members'(277).