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Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace, and Higher Education

Jack Mezirow (Editor), Edward W. Taylor (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-25790-6
336 pages
October 2009, Jossey-Bass
Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace, and Higher Education (0470257903) cover image


Transformative learning is becoming influential in all areas of the educational landscape. In Transformative Learning in Practice, leading authorities and practitioners working in a variety of national and international settings, including college classrooms, corporate workshops, online, and informal groups in rural communities, offer insights and a wealth ofstrategies for fostering transformative learning in and out of the classroom.

Transformative Learning in Practice will help readers:

  • Learn the most effective practices for promoting transformative learning

  • Understand the most helpful ways transformative learning informs practice

  • Find out how the teaching setting shapes the practice of transformative learning

  • Discover the successes, strengths, and outcomes of fostering transformative learning

  • Recognize the risks and challenges of practicing transformative learning

This comprehensive resource includes an introduction to the theory of transformative learning, a brief overview of the growing body of research on the topic, and a discussion of areas for future exploration.

Praise for Transforming Learning in Practice

"Transformative learning comes to life in this powerful collection of real experiences which put transformative learning into practice in higher education, the workplace, and in community and social change education. Every chapter is full of candid insights from reflective practitioners about the challenges and rewards of engaging in transformative learning. A must-read for adult educators everywhere!"
Sharan B. Merriam, professor emeritus of adult education, University of Georgia

"Mezirow and Taylor's book deepens our understanding of a central idea in adult education—that meaningful learning for adults is often triggered by a transformative experience. Readers are provided a rich array of approaches which help them to understand and facilitate transformative learning in multiple settings. Together these practices build a toolkit for those who would support learning that transforms."
Karen E. Watkins, professor, human resource and organization development, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, University of Georgia

"Methods to facilitate transformative learning bear intriguing similarities across varied places and spaces. This book breaks through silo thinking and is for educators across formal and informal settings who are concerned with individual or collective transformation, whether in the 'North' or 'South.'"
Shirley Walters, professor of adult and continuing education, University of Western Cape, South Africa

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Table of Contents


About the Authors.


1 Fostering Transformative Learning (Edward W. Taylor).

2 Transformative Learning Theory (Jack Mezirow).


3 Creating Alternative Realities: Arts-Based Approaches to Transformative Learning (Shauna Butterwick, Randee Lipson Lawrence).

4 Constructive Teaching and Learning: Collaboration in a Sociology Classroom (Debra Langan, Ron Sheese, Deborah Davidson).

5 Facilitating Transformative Learning: Engaging Emotions in an Online Context (John M. Dirkx, Regina O. Smith).

6 Fostering Transformative Learning in Leadership Development (Joe F. Donaldson).

7 Mentoring: When Learners Make the Learning (Alan Mandell, Lee Herman).

8 Transformative Approaches to Culturally Responsive Teaching: Engaging Cultural Imagination (Elizabeth J. Tisdell, Derise E. Tolliver).

9 Promoting Dialogic Teaching Among Higher Education Faculty in South Africa (Sarah Gravett, Nadine Petersen).

10 Transformative Palliative Care Education (Rod MacLeod, Tony Egan).


11 Engaging Critical Reflection in Corporate America (Stephen Brookfield).

12 Charting the Course: How Storytelling Can Foster Communicative Learning in the Workplace (Jo A. Tyler).

13 Coaching to Transform Perspective (Beth Fisher-Yoshida).

14 The Transformative Potential of Action Learning Conversations: Developing Critically Reflective Practice Skills (Victoria J. Marsick, Terrence E. Maltbia).

15 Transformative Learning in Adult Basic Education (Kathleen P. King, Barbara P. Heuer).

16 From Tradesperson to Teacher: A Transformative Transition (Patricia Cranton).


17 Fostering a Learning Sanctuary for Transformation in Sustainability Education (Elizabeth A. Lange).

18 Popular Education, Women’s Work, and Transforming Lives in Bolivia (Catherine A. Hansman, Judith Kollins Wright).

19 Promoting Personal Empowerment with Women in East Harlem Through Journaling and Coaching (Susan R. Meyer).

20 Breaking Out of the Egg: Methods of Transformative Learning in Rural West Africa (Peter Easton, Karen Monkman, Rebecca Miles).

21 Farmer Field Schools: A Platform for Transformative Learning in Rural Africa (Deborah Duveskog, Esbern Friis-Hansen).

22 Collaborative Inquiry in Action: Transformative Learning Through Co-Inquiry (Lucia Alc ´ antara, Sandra Hayes, Lyle Yorks).

23 Challenging Racism in Self and Others: Transformative Learning as a Living Practice (European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness).


24 Looking Forward by Looking Back: Reflections on the Practice of Transformative Learning (Edward W. Taylor, Jodi Jarecke).


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Author Information

Jack Mezirow is professor emeritus of adult and continuing education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His previous books include Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning, Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood, Learning as Transformation, and others.

Edward W. Taylor is associate professor in adult education at Penn State Capitol College University in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has published widely on transformative learning including in the journals Adult Education Quarterly, International Journal of Lifelong Education, and the Journal of Transformative Education. He is a coeditor of Adult Education Quarterly.

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