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Sarah VanPolen

English 111

James VanderMey


The Difficulty Paper of Transformative Learning: Theory to


Jack Mezirow, author of Transformative Learning; Theory to Practice,

engages in the critical components he believes are necessary for learning.

Realizing that adult learning takes place through frames of reference, such as

incorporating new information into this frame, strengthens the learners

connections. Mezirow urges in his theory that learners are encouraged to use

their imagination to rearrange problem solving in which multiple

perspectives are included in the process. Overall I found Mezirows

Transformative Learning Theory a smooth article to read although the

following passage presented some difficulty to understand at the surface.

Mezirow states: Education that fosters critically reflective thought,

imaginative problem posing, and discourse is learner-centered, participatory,

and interactive, and it involves group deliberation and group problem

solving. Instructional materials reflect the real-life experiences of the

learners and are designed to foster participation in small-group discussion to

assess reasons, examine evidence, and arrive at a reflective judgment.

Learning takes place through discovery and the imaginative use of

metaphors to solve and redefine problems. To promote discovery learning,

the educator often reframes learner questions in terms of the learners

current level of understanding. Learning contracts, group projects, role play,

case studies, and simulations are classroom methods associated with

transformative education. The key idea is to help the learners actively

engage the concepts presented in the context of their own lives and

collectively critically assess the justification of new knowledge. Together,

learners undertake action research projects. They are frequently challenged

to identify and examine assumptions, including their own. (Mezirow, 91)

Mezirows article is tailored to the adult learner; however, in this

passage I do not see where this should not be directly correlated with all

learners and educators. Unfortunately, in education we are not often using

the six essential components Mezirow offers. After thinking about these

concepts: critically reflecting, imaginative problem posing, learner-centered,

participatory, interactive, and involving group deliberation and group

problem solving, I think Mezirow is aiming to have the learners become

almost in charge of their education by them guiding the direction of their

imagination and participation. I noticed that Mezirow does not use the terms

teacher and student, instead he uses learner and educator. I believe these

terms fit with Mezirows concepts because the term learner fits with

imagination rather than student. It has become so common that the

educator does the thinking and exploring while that student regurgitates

what has been instructed, Mezirows six components have collected dust.

Just when the six components are understood to their importance Mezirow
twists in, Instructional materials reflect the real-life experiences of the

learners, (Mezirow 91). I am questioning if this means the State of Michigan

does a complete makeover of material requirements or if the learners, with

guidance from the educator explore the possible connections the learners

may have with the required material. Making real life connections, to me the

most important task of learning because then the material has meaning and

is able to stick in my mind because I know the significance of it. This passage

is heavily dependent on group work, which surprised me but after thinking

about the meaning of group work, it now blends. I think Mezirow would agree

that creativity and imagination is best developed with peers and discussed

upon peers. Learners are able to bounce ideas around and grasp context that

may have had no meaning when given by the educator, but sparked when a

peer gave their thoughts on the same context. Mezirow includes the

reframing concept which I did not engage in at first. This is an important part

of Mezirows theory that I skimmed over due to not understanding what it is

to reframe. I know see reframing as the educators way to relate the

information correctly to the students understanding. If material is presented

in a context foreign to the students, it is useless information because it

draws no connections to the learners current knowledge.

Drawing importance to the educator, Mezirow states, The adult

educator must recognize both the learners objectives and goal. The

educators responsibility is to help the learners reach their objectives in such

a way that they will function as more autonomous, socially responsible

thinkers, (Mezirow 90). From the passage I was able to discover the

importance Mezirow believes the learner holds. I became to question the

amount educators withhold, but after another look at the whole article,

Mezirow is able to tie education up as a learner and educator goal.

Work Cited

Mezirow, Jack. Transformative Learning; Theory to Practice. New York,

Pearson Educations, Exploring Connections Learning in the 21st Century. 2016

pp. 86-93. print