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Sr. Ma. Alma Immacolata S.

Mangahas, SFSC

Transformation should be the guiding principle that underpins all educational endeavor. We should make learners transformation the explicit goal of all educational programs and encounters.

The glory of God is man fully alive.

We believe that education is essentially about the promotion of personhood and the development of full human potential.

The transformative process requires that educational programs explicitly address critical and analytical skills. It also integrates an active search for meaning as an instrument to transformed understanding of learning experience.

Part of the process of transformative education is exposure to diverse experiences, as well as the experience of discomfort, tension and chaos. It is important to allow anguish moments to arise, in order to incorporate fear and anguish positively.

For transformation to be the goal, it involves the intention from both policy and institutional level as well as the intentional efforts from the individuals themselves. Learners need to show willingness to embrace the challenges throughout the process of change.

For them to arrive at that level, we need to explicitly highlight the importance of learners openmindedness and their courage to take risk, and to change; the readiness to unlearn, their selfmotivation and selfconfidence to make decisions and take responsibility.

For education to be transformative, there needs a safe and supportive environment in which a learning space can be created to enable learners to confront chaos, pain, fears and bewilderedness.

Within a safe environment, learners are free from judgment, bullying, negative conflicts and intimidation, so that they can be courageous enough to be pushed to the boundaries of their realities. Hence learners are more likely to discover all aspects of themselves and develop as wholepersons.

Sustaining a learning space is crucial in facilitating transformative education.

A sustainable learning environment involves the following:

a.) Effective training for all educational staff.

Teachers must aim for their own personal and professional growth and development.

b.) Human relations

underlie the whole educational process. When human relationship penetrates the learning environment, which is often defined as a learning community, learning is more likely to become transformative.

c.) Human scale.

This could mean that teachers break large classes into smaller groups and allow peer tutoring and collaborative learning to take place.

When a learning environment is humanscale, teachers could be more sensitive to learners diverse learning and other needs and the learning environment is more supportive in nurturing and catering for learners interests and growth. need to be exposed to as wide a range of contexts as possible.

Learners

Diversity, such as multiple cultures, inter-religious encounter and generally international environments have been acknowledged to be desirable in helping learners to develop understanding of self and others and become fully integrated human beings and global citizens.

For those who pursue it


seriously, teaching is a calling, a summons from within; it is among lifes noblest and most responsible activities an activity in which we have all engaged at one time or another, as parents, workers and friends. (Banner & Cannon, 1997: ix)

We acknowledge that for education to be transformative, teachers should be perceived as role models, facilitators, mentors, coinquirers, critical friends, experienced co-learners, respectful guides, and compassionate helpers in the educational process.

It assumes that learning is in itself a journey of inquiry for all, and that the teachers role is, in effect, to accompany the learners journeys and help them overcome lifes challenges.

Above all, in this process, teachers will learn and grow. The notion of institutions as learning communities is fundamental in constructing a new relationship between the learner, the teacher and the institution.

Such a relationship promotes leadership rather than management, and calls for full constituency dialogue rather than hierarchy and bureaucracy.

A number of pressing issues here are:

Relevance. It has been argued that education can only be transformative when the learning experience is relevant to the learners culturally, temporally and contextually. Making education real and integrated creates an opportunity for learning that is meaningful to individuals lives and helps provide sustainable livelihood.

Integrated program rather than prescriptive curriculum. A dialogic approach to discussing what to learn and how to learn emphasizes the educational program as formative rather than prescriptive. A formative curriculum implies an ongoing dialogue and communication between the teacher and the learners; this makes learning a collaborative endeavor.

Narratives

to be integrated in the learning process.

The

significance of narratives of human experience has been recognized as one of the key influences to what we learn and how we approach learning.

Human experiences are so rich and so diverse.

Whether these experiences are told by the elders in our community or family, or whether they are shared among learners themselves, they provide rich contexts for meaning.

Achieving individuals full potential. The vision of transformative education regards each individual learner as unique, someone who has their own talent and capacity to contribute to their own learning and the wellbeing of society at large.

Transformative education is therefore a holistic endeavor that embraces the goal of developing the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social and interpersonal and many other qualities of the learners. Therefore, changes will take place in many different aspects of the learners being and hence facilitates their ultimate flourishing as human beings.

Despite the fact that our main analysis focused on individual transformation and personal growth, the real underlying discussion was on a larger scale of transformation social transformation and ultimately building a better world.

To effect transformation on a larger scale, it is imperative that there is equal access to education for all.

Transformative education helps individuals become agents of change someone who can act rather than react and be acted upon.

It provides the opportunity a learner to transcend the limitations of ones self and maximize change on a much larger scale.

International networking
Transformative education emphasizes the significance of engaging with diverse perspectives and worldviews.

Being embedded in an international community may help develop creative ideas and better understanding of culture and political issues and that which hinders change in our existing systems.

Despite the fact that the system is always an obstacle to personal and social transformation, individuals do have a crucial role to play in any systems.

Theres no them its me!, this suggests that systems are always re-structurable as long as individuals have the willingness for change.

It is to repeat the words of Mahatma Gandhi: Be the change you want to see in the world. Its so inspiring and thrilling as an educator and administrator when I witness a students or a teachers transformation from a limiting perspective to one that is broader, more inclusive.

I can see that the change in their ways of thinking opens their mind to new possibilities about their lives and their worlds. 1. Triggering events. Students who feel comfortable and supported in the classroom are more likely to share their thoughts, ask questions, and be open to probing or opposing views.

They also are exposed to classmates from different backgrounds and cultures and realize that many share the very same goals. This realization in itself expands their way of thinking. Reading material, conducting role-plays, participating in team projects, conducting research, and watching videos followed by questions and discussion can introduce major opportunities for triggering events

Various and wide-ranging ideas, minority or contrarian opinions, trying on new roles, and the sharing of experiences and assumptions expose the reader to new ways of thinking. Any of these can cause the student to pause and consider what differs from their own way of thinking

Peer evaluations on projects or facultys feedback on projects/assignments can also create a triggering event.

2. Personal critical

reflection.

Online technology offers numerous means for reflection. This is triggered not only through thinking about and articulating viewpoints through weekly discussion, but also through writing papers, using electronic journals, and writing personal blogs.

Each promotes reflection and synthesis of thoughts. Asking the student to expand on another students comments, share their own thoughts, and be exposed to a contrarian or alternative view also encourages reflection.

Team assignments, role-plays, or otherwise representing and explaining opposing assumptions behind views on a topic can force a student to try out a new way of thinking, and can trigger a reflection on their assumptions.

Probing questions from faculty can further reflection about the assumptions held.

3. Discourse with others.

Technology has opened up many avenues for having discourse with others.

It is in this precursor that one student will exchange assumptions with another on a viewpoint, will share their disorienting dilemma (triggering event), or probe deeper about why they thought the way they did and how they may be changing their assumptions.

4. Action.
According to the theory of transformative learning, action on the transformed assumption is needed to complete the process of transforming the learning. The needed action can be writing a paper, making a statement to another person, or any other means of asserting the new assumption.

For some, the action is a behavior such as joining a professional organization, working toward new goals, changing the declared academic major, selecting a new career, or, in one situation I observed, forming an organization to address an identified need in the community. It is helpful to ask students frequently and at the close of the semester to share what they learned that expanded or changed their thinking on a topic and how they will apply the change in their thinking.

Reflections for educators and educational institutions Its a new world in academia, and it is one in which some educators may require critical reflection on assumptions about online learning and outcomes. In addition, educators may need to enhance their technological competencies, and some may need to be more selective and thoughtful with technological applications.

Institutions may need to invest more in designing further capability in their computer platforms and ensure that technology choices are conducive to both teaching and learning in the online environment. Opportunities to develop faculty skills for online andragogy and staying current with the everchanging tools are a must.

I pose a few items for us as educators to reflect upon and be mindful. Would I detect transformative learning happening in my classroom?

Does my classroom foster an environment for transformative learning?

Is there more I can do to foster a climate conducive to transformative learning? Am I mindful of the transformative learning experiences of the students in their online classroom? How can I assist students on the edge of transformative learning?

REFERENCES:

Transformative Learning: Four Activities that Set the Stage By: Joyce Henderson, EdD in Online Education

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).

Taylor, E. (2008). Transformative learning: A critical review. ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education (Information Series, number 374).
Dr. Joyce Henderson is a professor of human resources at the University of Maryland University College. Excerpted from Henderson, J. Transformative Learning in the Online Classroom: Experiences of an Educator Online Classroom (October 2010): 1-3. Print.

PEACE AND GOODWILL! THANK YOU!