Facilitating transformative learning is a praiseworthy goal among educators who want to make a significant impact on the lives of their students. Transformative learning is typically defined as involving a fundamental shift in students’ worldviews and/or identity. While we agree that teachers should retain such important goals, we argue that facilitating transformative learning is difficult for many reasons. We then suggest that a more manageable task is to use existing instructional techniques to generate small-scale transformation in the form of transformative experience (TE). Specifically, TE can be used to create micro changes in student perspectives. Transformative experiences are more manageable in the typical classroom and an accumulation of small changes can lead to the type of transformative learning that influences student identity.
Bigger is Not Always Better: Should Educators Aim for Big Transformative Learning Events or Small Transformative Experiences?
This study investigated the impact of implementing a parental involvement intervention coupled with small group discussions aimed at facilitating transformative experiences (TE) in science courses (biology and chemistry) in an all -girls middle and high school. Specifically, the goal was to increase parental involvement, TE, and interest. Analysis showed that the parent intervention facilitated more parent involvement and TE than a comparison condition. Furthermore, a high initial level of situational and individual interest was maintained in the treatment condition, whereas interest decreased in the comparison. A content analysis of TE journal entries suggested that when parents showed value for science concepts, students’ experiential value increased. The results provide evidence that a parent intervention may increase the likelihood of engagement in TE and maintaining girls’ interest in science, which has theoretical and practical implications.
The Teaching for Transformative Experience in Science (TTES) model has shown to be a useful tool to generate learning and engagement in science. We investigated the effectiveness of TTES for facilitating transformative experience (TE), learning, the development of topic interest and transfer of course concepts to other courses employing a quasi-experimental design. Our goal was to determine the effectiveness of TTES compared to an alternative teaching method in a course designed for academically at-risk undergraduate students. Specifically, we explored the impact of TTES for teaching about motivation in a college success course. The results showed that TTES generated TE outside of the biological sciences, increased learning, developed student interest and facilitated self-reported transfer to other courses. The findings have important implications for facilitating learning and motivation in academically at-risk college students, which may subsequently impact college student retention and academic success.
The Teaching for Transformative Experiences in Science (TTES) model was designed to facilitate the application of academic learning in students' everyday experiences. In the current study, we describe a 2-year design-based intervention that aimed to further develop and evaluate the TTES model. In the first year, a teacher implemented the TTES model in two of his four classes. The findings indicated enhanced engagement and learning, but primarily among students with higher prior engagement and learning. Insights led to revision of the TTES model. In the second year, the revised TTES model was implemented in all the teacher's classes, with another teacher's classes used for comparison. Intervention students demonstrated significantly greater learning and reported significantly higher levels of transformative experience than the comparison students.