Reflective and reflexive practice/ personal and cultural values (500w)

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A.  Study the article “Promoting Reflection in Professional Courses: The challenges of context” in the link provided below and discuss the following: (150w)

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247281411_Promoting_Reflection_in_Professional_Courses_The_Challenge_of_Context

  1. What is Boud’s and Walker’s theoretical stand on reflective practice?
  2. What are the “misconceptions” mentioned in the article?
  3. What is the basic argument made? Discuss.

B.  Select one of the theorists discussed in the material for this week and provide your opinion and ideas behind their arguments and approaches. For example, why did you choose the specific one? Why does he inspire you?  See attached on application (150 w)

C.  Discuss the importance of having personal and cultural values and answer the questions(See Personal and cultural values attached): (100 w)  

  1. What is the best way for me as an educator to transfer the school’s values to my students? 
  2. How can I make my students understand the importance of having personal and cultural values?

D. Answer the question do one’s values reflect one’s culture’s values by discussing your own experience. Use the two links provided below. (100w)

a. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om3INBWfoxY&ab_channel=ClickView

b. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6764102_Congruence_and_Functions_of_Personal_and_Cultural_Values_Do_My_Values_Reflect_My_Culture%27s_Values

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Week 2 – Application and critique of theories

and models in educational contexts

TOPIC GOALS

 Understand the different reflective theories and models in

education

 Distinguish the arguments and critique of these theories

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1. Introduction

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to

think.”

(Albert Einstein, 1947)

2. Reflective Theories in Education

There are 4 major theories in education in relation to reflection and

reflexivity developed by John Dewey (1859-1952) who was an American

philosopher, Donald Schon (1930-1997) again a philosopher, David A. Kolb

(1939-present) who is an American educational theorist, David Boud a professor

in Education and Paulo Freire (1921 – 1997) an educator and philosopher.

Dewey is considered to be the founder of reflection in learning and Schon

developed the concept of reflective practice and contributed to the theory of

organizational learning and professional development. Kolb on the other hand

created the experiential learning cycle and Boud combined the theory of

reflection with experience and learning.

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John Dewey (1859-1952)

According to Seifert and Sutton (2009) ‘He argued, for example, that if

students indeed learn primarily by building their own knowledge, then teachers

should adjust the curriculum to fit students’ prior knowledge and interests as fully

as possible. He also argued that a curriculum could only be justified if it related

as fully as possible to the activities and responsibilities that students will probably

have later, after leaving school.’ Dewey mostly believed that students learn

through a hands-on approach. He supported the need to learn by doing. This was

also his belief about teachers as well as he supported that students and teachers

must learn together.

Dewey retired in 1930 but was immediately appointed professor emeritus

of philosophy in residence at Columbia and held that post until his

eightieth birthday in 1939. The previous year he had published his last

major educational work, Experience and Education (1938). In this series

of lectures, he clearly restated his basic philosophy of education and

recognized and rebuked the many excesses he thought the Progressive

education movement had committed. He chastised the Progressives for

casting out traditional educational practices and content without offering

something positive and worthwhile to take their place. He offered a

reformulation of his views on the intimate connection between learning

and experience and challenged those who would call themselves

Progressives to work toward the realization of the educational program

he had carefully outlined a generation before. (Soltis, 2020)

Dewey ‘defined the educational process as a “continual reorganization,

reconstruction and transformation of experience” (1916, p. 50), for he believed that

it is only through experience that man learns about the world and only by the use

of his experience that man can maintain and better himself in the world’ (Soltis,

2020).

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According to Soltis (2020) some of Dewey’s arguments are ‘Thus, Dewey

argued, the schools did not provide genuine learning experiences but only an

endless amassing of facts, which were fed to the students, who gave them back

and soon forgot them.’

Donald Schon (1930-1997)

Donald Schon mostly believed in three basic elements: Learning systems

and learning societies and institutions, double-loop (explained below) and

organizational learning and the relationship of reflection-in-action to

professional activity.

In his book Beyond the Stable State, (1973, 28-9) Donald Schon raises 4 very

important questions.

What is the nature of the process by which organizations, institutions and

societies transform themselves?

What are the characteristics of effective learning systems?

What are the forms and limits of knowledge that can operate within

processes of social learning?

What demands are made on a person who engages in this kind of learning?

‘Donald Schon argues that social systems must learn to become capable of

transforming themselves without intolerable disruption. In this ‘dynamic

conservatism’ has an important place […] Two key themes arise out of Donald

Schon’s discussion of learning systems: the emergence of functional systems as

the units around which institutions define themselves; and the decline of centre-

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periphery models of institutional activity (ibid.: 168). He contrasts classical

models of diffusing innovation with a learning system model’ (Smith, 2001).

(Smith, 2001)

‘When the error detected and corrected permits the organization to carry

on its present policies or achieve its presents objectives, then that error-and-

correction process is single-loop learning. Single-loop learning is like a

thermostat that learns when it is too hot of too cold and turns the heat on or off.

Classical models for the diffusion

of innovations

Learning systems’ models around the

diffusion of innovation

The unit of innovation is a product or

technique.

The unit of innovation is a functional system.

The pattern of diffusion is centre-

periphery.

The pattern of diffusion is systems transformation.

Relatively fixed centre and leadership. Shifting centre, ad hoc leadership.

Relatively stable message; pattern of

replication of a central message.

Evolving message; family resemblance of

messages.

Scope limited by resource and energy at

the centre and by capacity of ‘spokes’.

Scope limited by infrastructure technology.

‘Feedback’ loop moves from secondary

to primary centre and back to all

secondary centres.

‘Feedback’ loops operate local and universally

throughout the systems network.

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The thermostat can perform this task because it can receive information

(the temperature of the room) and take corrective action. Double-loop learning

occurs when error is detected and corrected in ways that involve the modification

of an organization’s underlying norms, policies and objectives’ (Argyris and

Schön, 1978).

‘The notions of reflection-in-action, and reflection-on-action were

central to Donald Schon’s efforts in this area. The former is sometimes described

as ‘thinking on our feet’. It involves looking to our experiences, connecting with

our feelings, and attending to our theories in use. It entails building new

understandings to inform our actions in the situation that is unfolding’ (Smith,

2001)

David A. Kolb (1939-present)

Kolb’s theory is mostly related to a specific learning style which

contributed to creating the experiential learning cycle. It mostly involves the

learner’s internal cognitive processes and how they function.

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, 1984

(Association for Experiential Education, 2019)

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Kolb argues that these 4 different learning styles involve the attainment of

abstract concepts that can be adapted in a number of situations. ‘Learning is the

process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience’

(Kolb, 1984).

1. Concrete Experience – a new experience or situation is encountered, or a reinterpretation

of existing experience.

2. Reflective Observation of the New Experience – of particular importance are any

inconsistencies between experience and understanding.

3. Abstract Conceptualization reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an

existing abstract concept (the person has learned from their experience).

4. Active Experimentation – the learner applies their idea(s) to the world around them to see

what happens.

(Mcleod, 2017)

‘Effective learning is seen when a person progresses through a cycle of

four stages: of (1) having a concrete experience followed by (2) observation of

and reflection on that experience which leads to (3) the formation of abstract

concepts (analysis) and generalizations (conclusions) which are then (4) used to

test a hypothesis in future situations, resulting in new experiences’ (Mcleod,

2017)

(University of Leicester, 2019)

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David Boud

David Boud’s model of reflection deals with Experience-Based Learning,

depicting that the foundation for learning is through the learner’s experience. He

supports that the major stimulus for learning is experience and his ideas are based

on Dewey’s, Schon’s and Kolb’s theories. His major belief is that learning cannot

occur if the learner does not reflect on the experience and supports that reflection

is often overlooked in the learning process.

There are three phases to Boud’s theory related to learning through

reflection and these are:

Phase 1: Before Learning Experience

Phase 2: During Learning Experience and,

Phase 3: After Learning Experience

Phase 1: Before Students reflect as a way to explore and prepare

for what is coming

Phase 2: During Reflecting and collecting events in the midst of

experience helps students to connect theory to practice

Phase 3: After Post-experience reports performed, both formally

and informally, assist students in improved learning

(Boud, Keogh and Walker, 1985)

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Paulo Freire (1921 – 1997)

 Born September 19, 1921 to a middle-class family in Brazil

 Poverty and hunger during the Great Depression of the 1930s

 Father died when he was 13 years old / struggled in school / social life

playing football with other poor children

 Poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn and influenced his

decision to dedicate his life to improving the lives of the poor:

“I didn’t understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn’t dumb. It wasn’t lack

of interest. My social condition didn’t allow me to have an education. Experience

showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge”.

 Studied Law and Philosophy (phenomenology, and the psychology of

language)

 Worked as a teacher in secondary schools teaching Portuguese.

 1944, married Elza Maia Costa de Oliveira

 1967, Education as the Practice of Freedom / then Pedagogy of the

Opressed

 1969, visiting professorship -Harvard University

Political feuds between Freire (Christian socialist) and authoritarian military

dictatorships, book not published in Brazil until 1974

 Pedagogy of the Oppressed

 Pedagogy of Hope

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Freire worked to help the silent (illiterate) peoples of urban and rural Brazil find

a voice and out of his Pedagogy of the Oppressed came the principles for his

Pedagogy of Hope.

 ‘Developing consciousness…is understood as having the power to

transform reality’ (Taylor, 1993:52).

 Action for social justice and fairness.

 In order to think for ourselves, Mac Naughton (2005) notes ‘we have to

make explicit our implicit views about how society works and then

engage in an ‘ideology critique’ that will bring us freedom (p8). In this

way, critical pedagogy can create emancipation so that there is a shift

from changing individual educator’s practice to challenging

oppressive and unequal power relationships in the classroom.

Concientisation

 Freire advocated a dialogical approach that involves students’ active

engagement with each other and the world (Jacobs and Murray, 2010).

 Learning is then a collaborative, problem-posing process of enquiry which

starts from the experience and knowledge already evident within learners.

It questions assumptions that have been taken for granted and raises

awareness of new perspectives and personal actions that can lead to the

transformation of oppressing professional or political customs (Jacobs

and Murray, 2010).

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 Education should allow the oppressed to regain their

sense of humanity.

 ….But they must play a role in their liberation

 Be willing to rethink their way of life and to examine their own role in the

oppression

 ” Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-

examine themselves constantly”.

Paulo Freire’s last public interview, given to Literacy organisation in 1996.

 A Conversation with Paulo Freire

 Seeing Through Paulo Freire’s glasses

Stop and critically reflect…

 On the relevance of Freire in relation to your experience of life / teaching

3. Critique of the Reflective Theories

‘Boud and Walker’s theorization on reflection partially addresses the

concern regarding the separation of ‘experience’ and ‘reflection’ in Kolb’s model

as two mutually independent processes. Donald Schon’s (1983; 1987) work

helped to integrate experience and reflection one step further with the concepts

of reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action and critical reflection. In both

concept and practice, Schon’s idea of critical reflection can help to ameliorate the

stop-motion nature of Kolb’s cycle’ (Academic Success, 2010).

As Dewey argued learning based on reflection can only happen when the learner

actively reflects on the experience otherwise not all experiences are equally

educative.

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‘Ethical concerns are exacerbated in situations where participation is, in

effect, mandatory. In some situations, employers’ or teachers’ strong expectations

of participation by individuals in training events or formally assessed courses can

lead to outcomes counter to what are desired and antagonise those who

participate’ (Andresen, Boud and Cohen, 1995).

(Fenwick, 2001)

Further reading from the Weekly EBooks:

Book: Dewey, Russell, Whitehead, (1986) Philosophers As Educators,
Chapter: Two / John Dewey and the Laboratory School, pages 14 – 42

Additional Reading:

Boud, D. and Walker, D. (1998). Promoting Reflection in Professional Courses:

The Challenge of Context. [online] ResearchGate. Available at:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247281411_Promoting_Reflection_in

_Professional_Courses_The_Challenge_of_Context [Accessed 6 Oct. 2020].

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References:

Academic Success (2010). Reflective Observation | ASC Experiential Learning. [online]

University of Toronto. Available at: http://experiential.asc.utoronto.ca/reflective-

observation/ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].

Andresen, L., Boud, D. and Cohen, R. (1995). EXPERIENCE-BASED LEARNING.

[online] Complex World, Australia: Allen & Unwin, pp.225–239. Available at:

http://complexworld.pbworks.com/f/Experience-based%2520learning.pdf [Accessed

5 Sep. 2020].

Argyris, C. and Schön, D.A. (1978). Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective.

II ed. University of Michigan: Addison-Wesley, pp.1–344.

Association for Experiential Education (2019). What is Experiential Learning? | Queen’s

Experiential Learning Hub. [online] Queensu.ca. Available at:

https://www.queensu.ca/experientiallearninghub/about/what-experiential-learning

[Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].

Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (1985). Reflection, turning experience into learning.

London: Kogan Page ; New York.

Engward, H. and Davis, G. (2015). Being reflexive in qualitative grounded theory: discussion

and application of a model of reflexivity. Journal of Advanced Nursing, [online] 71(7),

pp.1530–1538. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274318694

_Being_reflexive_in_qualitative_grounded_theory_Discussion_and_application_of_a

_model_of_reflexivity [Accessed 27 Aug. 2020].

Fenwick, T.J. (2001). Experiential Learning: A theoretical critique from five perspectives.

[online] ERIC, Columbus, OH: Center on Education and Training for Employment,

pp.2– 76. Available at: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED454418.pdf [Accessed 8

Sep. 2020].

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Harvey, M., Coulson, D. and McMaugh, A., 2016. Towards a theory of the Ecology of

Reflection: Reflective practice for experiential learning in higher education. Journal of

University Teaching & Learning Practice, [online] 13(2), pp.1-20. Available at:

https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1650&context=jutlp [Accessed

24 August 2020].

Healey, M. and Jenkins, A., 2000. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and Its Application in

Geography in Higher Education. Journal of Geography, [online] 99(5), pp.185-195.

Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00221340008978967

[Accessed 24 August 2020].

Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experimental learning: experience as the source of learning and

development. 2 illustrated ed. Englewood Cliffs; London: Prentice-Hall, pp.1–256.

Lea, M. and Street, B., 2006. The “Academic Literacies” Model: Theory and

Applications. Theory Into Practice, [online] 45(4), pp.368-377. Available at:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15430421tip4504_11 [Accessed 24

August 2020].

Mcleod, S. (2017). Kolb’s Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Cycle. [online]

Simplypsychology.org. Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-

kolb.html [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].

Schön, D.A. (1973). Beyond the stable state. illustrated, reprint ed. University of Michigan:

New York, Norton, pp.1–254.

Seifert, K. and Sutton, R. (2009). Major theories and models of learning | Educational

Psychology. [online] Lumenlearning.com. Available at:

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-educationalpsychology/chapter/major-

theories-and-models-of-learning/ [Accessed 27 Aug. 2020].

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Smith, M.K. (2001). Donald Schon (Schön): learning, reflection and change–

infed.org: [online] The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education.

Available at: https://infed.org/donald-schon-learning-reflection-change/

[Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].

Smith, M.K. (2013). Reflection, learning and education – infed.org: [online] The encyclopedia

of pedagogy and informal education. Available at: https://infed.org/mobi/reflection-

learning-and-education/#Boud [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].

Smith, T., (2003). Connecting Theory And Reflective Practice Through The Use Of Personal

Theories. International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. [online]

Honolulu, pp.215-222. Available at:

https://eric.ed.gov/?q=CONNECTING+THEORY+AND+REFLECTIVE+PRACTIC

E+THRO UGH+THE+USE+OF+PERSONAL+THEORIES&id=ED501125

[Accessed 24 August 2020].

Soltis, J. (2020). John Dewey (1859–1952) – Experience and Reflective Thinking, Learning,

School and Life, Democracy and Education. [online] Stateuniversity.com. Available at:

https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1914/Dewey-John-1859-1952.html

[Accessed 1 Sep. 2020].

University of Leicester (2019). David Kolb — University of Leicester. [online] Le.ac.uk.

Available at:

https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/doctoralcollege/training/eresources/teaching/t

heories/kolb [Accessed 3 Sep. 2020].

Watts, L., 2018. Reflective Practice, Reflexivity, and Critical Reflection in Social Work

Education in Australia. Australian Social Work, [online] 72(1), pp.8-20. Available at:

https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2018.1521856 [Accessed 24 August 2020].

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Week 3 – The impact of personal and cultural

values in educational contexts

TOPIC GOALS

 Explore personal and cultural values in education for educators and

students

2

1. Introduction

“Great people have great values and great ethics.”

(Jeffrey Gitomer, 1993)

2. Educators Personal and Cultural Values

Our values as educators play a significant role to how we portray ourselves

in action, what we do and what we say. Most of the times you find educators

asking themselves the same question. What kind of an educator am I? Educators

always need to justify themselves through their teaching practices and that can

only be done when we reflect on what we do and why we teach in a particular

way. That involves the values of any educator to be questioned.

‘Throughout our teaching careers we think and behave in certain ways and

believe in certain things, such as how far our teaching can be called ‘educational’,

about what we can offer children and what our capabilities are. What we do, think,

and feel about teaching constitute our sense of professional identity. We can

reveal and communicate this identity when we address and articulate an answer

to the question’ (Ghaye, 2011).

3

If we reflect on these descriptions of practice, we give

ourselves the chance to learn from our experiences of

teaching. This can help to move our practice forward.

(Ghaye, 2011)

‘While a case could be made that there are some universally accepted

values, values in education are culturally bound. No aspect of curriculum is taught

in a cultural void, and the relationship of values education to cultural context

throws up particular challenges in attempting an international study’ (Stephenson,

1998).

Educators usually do not stay in an unchanged set of values as they develop

more practice and experience the reflection on these shifts and changes happen

depending on the setting and context they work in. To be called a professional

implies that educators need to reflect on their teaching constantly and be

responsive to what is happening around them. ‘A teacher’s values should be

derived from the nature of what constitutes effective and ethical practice. To

reach this position, we have to understand and question the purposes of education’

(Ghaye, 2011)

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Cultural values on the other hand are the particular concepts of interest of

each individual when asked about their beliefs, personality, values and identity.

That way you can distinguish their cultural views and behaviours in their personal

lives which then reflect in their practices as well. This also reflects specific

characteristics and certain practices on a larger nationwide scale that constitutes

each educational context. However, ‘Individuals are expected to cultivate and

express their own preferences, feelings, ideas, and abilities. Schwartz (1994)

distinguishes two types of autonomy: intellectual autonomy encourages

individuals to pursue their own ideas and intellectual directions independently,

and affective autonomy entails a pursuit of affectively positive experience by

individuals for themselves. In cultures with an emphasis on embeddedness,

people are viewed as entities embedded in the larger group. Meaning in life is

provided largely through social relationships, group identification, participation

in the group’s shared way of life, and striving toward shared goals of the group’

(Fischer, 2006).

As Higgins (2011) argues, that ethical reflection is ‘Such reflection will

often touch on moral considerations—impartial deliberations about duty, right

action, and the needs of others—but it begins and ends with first-personal

questioning, in thick evaluative terms, about the shape of one’s life as a whole.

Ethics is rooted in the perpetual practical question ‘What should I do next?’ and

flowers, in our more contemplative moments, into questions like ‘what do I want

to become?’, ‘what does it mean to be fully human?’, and ‘what would make my

life meaningful, excellent, or rich?’

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Professional ethics, then, should be distinguished from what I call ‘moral

professionalism’, which deals with codes of professional conduct and our role-

specific obligations to others. In contrast, the ethics of teaching, as I propose it

here, will probe the relation between the teaching life and the good life,

connecting the question ‘why teach?’ with the question ‘how should I live?’ It

considers what draws us to the practice of teaching and what sustains us there in

the face of difficulty’.

‘At meso-level, disciplinary differences and academic cultures are highly

influential in academic practices (Fanghanel 2009; Becher 2001; Trowler et

al. 2012). Epistemological differences are evident in varying academic cultures.

They result in divergent disciplinary teaching and learning norms and practices,

where different conceptions of teaching and learning become apparent

(Becher 2001; Neumann et al. 2010; Lee 2007) (…) At macro-level, teachers

operate within structural conditions that can include institutional policies,

regulations, the requirements of external evaluation bodies and the external

political environment (Henkel 2000; Deem and Lucas 2007). These structures

determine the physical and organisational context and can constrain or enable the

choices and opportunities available to individuals and communities within the

organisation (Mathieson 2011; Kaatrakoski et al. 2016)’ (Englund, Olofsson and

Price, 2018).

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I wish to raise the question, ‘In what ways can reflective practices enhance human

flourishing?’ Underpinning this question is my assumption that enhancing human

flourishing is important work. So in what ways is it important? How does it

matter? And what do we actually mean by the term human flourishing? In a very

pragmatic sense would reflective practices that enhance human flourishing help

us bounce-back from adverse events in our lives? Would they help us be more

open-minded, have more creative thoughts, enjoy better relationships with

others? Be more resilient?

These, I suggest, are big questions that deserve some serious attention from those

who regard themselves as reflective practitioners, who learn through reflection

and who use various reflective practices for some positive purposes. For those

who believe in practical action for positive purposes, I frame a challenge as a

positive question namely, ‘What would we need to do to (re)cast reflective

practices in the role of enhancing human flourishing?’ I wonder what kind of

uncommon wisdom we would discover if we embraced a question of this kind?

(Ghaye, 2010)

Meso-Level

Disciplinary Differences

Academic Cultures

Macro-Level

Institutional Policies

Regulations

External Evaluation Bodies

External Political Environment

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Critical Theory / Critical Social Theory

 Based on the principles of empowerment and the theories of Paulo Freire

(1970, 1972)

 Transformative learning (Mezirow, 1978, 1981, 1990 and 1997)

Transformational Learning (Mezirow, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2000)

 ‘A process in which adults change their views and habits – which they have

gained as a result of their experience – according to the current situations

and changes they have encountered’ (Kabakci, Odabasi and Kilicer,

2010:263).

 It involves personal awareness and understanding, through true

emancipation from sometimes unquestioning acceptance of life

experience, to active engagement or questioning of how we know what we

know. (Mezirow, 1997)

As Moon (2008) notes, one person cannot make another person reflect,

they can only facilitate or foster a critically reflective approach through

appropriate conditions in relation to the habits already formed by teachers.

Only then, perhaps, can the internalisation and application of the attitudes

(Dewey, 1933), the lenses (Brookfield, 1995) and the competencies (Pollard et

al., 2008) at the heart of critical reflection transform learning in the way that

Mezirow (1997) refers to.

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 Leitch (2006, p. 551) acknowledges that “many emotional, sensory and

embodied dimensions of experience lie below the threshold of

consciousnesses” and are difficult to tap into or to access.

 “embodied knowledge” (p. 552)

Personal Reflection

 New Learning?

 Challenged your thinking about own ‘position’ and philosophy as an

educator?

3. Student’s Personal and Cultural Values

PUPILS’ MORAL AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE (Halstead and Taylor, 1996, pp.119)

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Educators have the responsibility through their sayings and actions to

transfer the values and morals of any educational system to their students through

teaching them the qualities needed to survive the outside world. They need to

possess a set of socially acceptable values and principles to blend in society to be

considered as morally educated people. This should be formed in students by the

educator’s own values through their ability to become competent moral agents.

Any belief, perception or attitude needs to be addressed and cultivated

through the unwritten rules and regulations of any school setting. Family values

and culture play a significant role in the social behaviour of the students and a

more important role in the development of morally appropriate societies. Social

and cultural values in class can shape the personalities of student’s behaviour.

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4. John Dewey’s Theory on Personal and Cultural Values

For John Dewey the sense of values was especially important as most of

his writings and theories involved around reflection in regard to setting one’s

beliefs and morals. Kompf & Denicolo, (2005) argue in their book Connecting

Policy and Practice: Challenges for Teaching and Learning in Schools and

Universities that ‘One reason why Dewey’s classic contribution to democratic

education is still relevant today, is because of his analysis of the interdependence

between human competence, social organisation, moral agency, education and

democracy understood as a way of life. For Dewey, democracy was education in

a broad sense, and for him schools played an essential role in developing morality

and democracy’ (pp. 222)

‘Dewey denied insurmountable barriers between the descriptive sciences

and the normative sciences, what is and what ought to be, and between rationality

and emotions. In viewing the world from a transactional standpoint, Dewey

rejected all philosophical traditions which held the fundamental world order as

fixed and stable. For Dewey, all talk about eternal truth or absolutistic and

universal theoretical claims was misguiding. In a world constantly changing, all

theories and practices are context dependent with regard to their justification,

interpretation and application. At the same time, not all things were relative to

context. Dewey trusted that human rationality had universal potential but it was

not yet well developed, and the best example so far of systematic and impartial

rationality was to be found in science. Therefore, Dewey was careful not to

confuse universal procedures with the outcome of such procedures. Outcomes

were more context dependent than the rational procedures producing the

outcomes and the distinction between outcome and rational procedure can be

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recognised in Dewey’s two-level concept of experience (Dewey, 1925a; Hickman

and Alexander, 1998)’ (Kompf & Denicolo, 2005).

‘Values refer to intersubjectively accessible states of affairs, in the real

world, and that opens the possibility for moral knowledge (Dewey, 1925b). The

moral answers cannot be of universal or absolute character, but it is possible to

construct objective values in relation to a specific context, action or society

(Dewey, 1932)’ (Kompf et al., 2005)

For Dewey, occupation or vocation is simply ‘a concrete term for

continuity’ or in another formulation, ‘a continuous activity having a purpose’

(Dewey, 1916, p. 307)’ (Higgins, 2011).

5. Conclusion

Values are central to both the theory of education and the practical

activities of schools in two ways. First, schools and individual teachers within

schools are a major influence, alongside the family, the media and the peer group,

on the developing values of children and young people, and thus of society at

large. Secondly, schools reflect and embody the values of society; indeed, they

owe their existence to the fact that society values education and seeks to exert

influence on the pattern of its own future development through education.

(Halstead and Taylor, 1996)

12

Further reading from the Weekly EBooks:

Book: Higgins, C (2011), The Good Life of Teaching: An Ethics of Professional

Practice, Chapter: 4 A Question of Experience: Dewey and Gadamer on

Practical Wisdom, pages 111 – 134

Additional Material:

Video: Wellbeing for Children: Identity and Values

13

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