At the core of Transformative Learning theory, is the process of "perspective transformation", with three dimensions: psychological (changes in understanding of the self), convictional (revision of belief systems), and behavioral (changes in lifestyle)."Transformative learning is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of basic worldview and specific capacities of the self; transformative learning is facilitated through consciously directed processes such as appreciatively accessing and receiving the symbolic contents of the unconscious and critically analyzing underlying premises."
Perspective transformation leading to transformative learning occurs infrequently. Mezirow believes that it usually results from a disorienting dilemma, which is triggered by a life crisis or major life transition, although it may also result from an accumulation of transformations in meaning schemes over a period of time. Less dramatic predicaments, such as those created by a teacher, also promote transformation.
An important part of transformative learning is for individuals to change their frames of reference by critically reflecting on their assumptions and beliefs and consciously making and implementing plans that bring about new ways of defining their worlds. This process is fundamentally rational and analytical.
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“Learning without thinking is labor lost; thinking without learning is dangerous.”