Critical transformative learning and social work education: Jack Mezirow's transformative learning theory

Jones, Peter (2020) Critical transformative learning and social work education: Jack Mezirow's transformative learning theory. In: Morley, C, Ablett, P, Noble, C, and Cowden, S, (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Critical Pedagogies for Social Work. Routledge, London, UK, pp. 489-500.

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Over the past three decades there has been increasing interest in transformative learning as a theory of adult learning. Much of this interest has stemmed from work done by American educational theorist Jack Mezirow (1923–2014). Building on Habermas and Freire, Mezirow’s theory centres around processes of critical reflection and discourse through which learners become aware of holding limited, and limiting, worldviews, and subsequently take action to change them. These processes are often triggered by unsettling or disorienting experiences.

Mezirow’s transformative learning theory is of particular interest to social work educators due to its congruence with the central concerns and practices characteristic of social work education. In particular, the emancipatory dimensions of Mezirow’s work provide important support for the development and facilitation of critical and transformative pedagogies within social work education. In this chapter, Mezirow’s transformative learning theory is presented, with particular emphasis on its emancipatory expression. Examples are provided from the author’s own educational research and practice to illustrate how transformative approaches may be applied to foster and facilitate individual and social change. Suggestions are then made as to how this theoretical orientation can contribute to the continued development of critical perspectives in social work education and practice.

Item ID: 61620
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 9781138545748
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2021 00:18
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440999 Social work not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 100%
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