Spiraling into Transformative Learning

Abstract

This article explores how technical and vocational learning may spiral into transformative learning. Transformative learning theory is reviewed and the learning tasks of critical theory are used to integrate various approaches to transformative learning. With this as a foundation, the article explores how transformative learning can be fostered in adult vocational education. DOI: 10.4018/javet.2010100901 2 International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology, 1(1), 1-13, January-March 2010 Copyright © 2010, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited. from a large family in Amsterdam to a rather desolate area of the prairies was difficult enough, but my mother could not drive a car. The nearest neighbors were at least two miles away from our farm, and long walks on dusty roads were not something that appealed to my mother. She could not go to town, 25 miles away, nor could she visit anyone in the community unless they came to her. She insisted that it was impossible for her to learn to drive a car. The process frightened her; she didn’t understand or like machinery. And that was that for the next thirty or so years that she lived. No one challenged her or tried to provide the support that might have led her to acquire this skill. My father worked long hours on the farm. The other women in the community worked alongside their husbands on the farms (my mother did not). Is it not possible, or even likely, that learning to drive a car, a technical skill, would have spiraled into transformative learning for her? I grew up in a time and place where gender roles were fairly rigidly defined. Although the farm women helped with the farm work, the men took care of finances, fixed things, and were responsible for the machinery and the “heavy work.” Women took care of things inside the house, including canning and preserving food for the winter. I uncritically absorbed these gender roles. When I first lived alone, I had no idea of how to do the “male jobs” in life. I was frightened and embarrassed to admit that I did not have the basic skills that everyone around me took for granted. Opening a bank account, getting a credit card, using a lawn mower, hammering a nail into something—these were all challenging experiences. When I began to acquire these basic technical skills for everyday life, I came to see myself in a new light and to feel a profound sense of accomplishment that went far beyond the actual task. To go back to an education context, for many years I taught a course called “Methods and Strategies in Adult Education” to primarily tradespeople who were preparing to become teachers of their trades in a community college. They tended to be anxious about returning to school, concerned about their ability to engage in learning, and worried about appearing to be foolish in front of their peers. I have told many stories about working with the people in this program, but in this context, one particular anecdote comes to mind. The group had decided that they wanted to learn how to prepare PowerPoint presentations. We booked a computer lab, I invited a technical person to attend the session to help out, and two of the participants in the group who already knew how to use PowerPoint offered to lead the class. Most people were nervous, but one man (I will call him Jim) was especially resistant. He would never need or use this skill, he said. He thought he would skip the session and do something else. I suggested he come to the lab for a little while, and if it really appeared to be irrelevant, he could leave. I did not witness the moment when things changed for Jim, but 11 more pages are available in the full version of this document, which may be purchased using the "Add to Cart" button on the product's webpage: www.igi-global.com/article/spiraling-into-transformativelearning/39020?camid=4v1 This title is available in InfoSci-Journals, InfoSci-Journal Disciplines Library Science, Information Studies, and Education. Recommend this product to your librarian: www.igi-global.com/e-resources/libraryrecommendation/?id=2

DOI: 10.4018/javet.2010100901

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Cite this paper

@article{Cranton2010SpiralingIT, title={Spiraling into Transformative Learning}, author={Patricia Cranton}, journal={IJAVET}, year={2010}, volume={1}, pages={1-13} }