Beyond Information, Through Participation, to New Learning for Personal and Cognitive Growth in Higher Education: Focusing on the Process

By Larry Riggs and Sandra Hellyer-Riggs.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

College classrooms can be ideal environments for seeking change by challenging these emotional and intellectual commitments. Creating a safe place to engage in critical self-reflection as students consider where their views may have originated is a basic condition for transformative learning (McGonigal, 2005). It may be even more fundamental to provide opportunities for students to become aware that they make assumptions and that they are constrained by them. While providing an activating event, or a way to stimulate students to examine their culturally determined beliefs and to consider the limitations of those beliefs, teachers can provide the support to encourage transformative learning. The horizon of learning, and, ultimately, of acting can be expanded by encouraging students to take risks in an environment that is both challenging and friendly.
This article presents ideas about how transformative learning can take place in two distinct institutions and content areas. Different pedagogical practices, appropriate to different kinds of courses, can be informed by the principles and goals of transformative learning. One author teaches future teachers in a Department of Educational Psychology at a large, public university. The other author teaches a required core curriculum course for sophomore students on Global and Historical Studies at a small, private, comprehensive university. Both have encountered obstacles and opportunities in their efforts to understand and implement transformative or transformational learning. Both are committed to a learning process that features experiencing, conceptualizing, analyzing, and applying both new information and new ways of coming to know.

Keywords: Transforming Learning, Engagement in Learning, Learning as and for Personal Growth, Fostering Reflection on Values, New Ways of Coming to Know, Reflecting on Ethical Dilemmas, Awareness of Cultural Diversity, Learning as Risk Taking

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.399-408. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.224MB).

Dr. Larry Riggs

Professor of French, Modern Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Larry W Riggs earned his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is Professor of French and head of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Butler University. He also teaches in the Interdisciplinary Global and Historical Studies program. Although his principle research specialty is early modern French literature, Dr. Riggs is the author of books and essays on subjects ranging from Montaigne to Kafka, and from cultural studies, literary theory, cinema, and most recently Transformative Learning.

Dr. Sandra Hellyer-Riggs

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA

Sandra Hellyer-Riggs earned her doctorate in Higher Education from Indiana University. She has taught in the College of Education at Butler University and in the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University. She teaches Developmental Psychology, Tests and Measurements, and Behavioral Analysis. Her research interests are student diversity and transformational learning.

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