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Narrative Theory

Narrative Pedagogy

Learning and Narrative Pedagogy

Transformative learning theory was first conceived and developed by Jack Mezirow (1978) through a study of women returning to education after an extended hiatus. Mezirow’s study suggested   maturity progresses from childhood to adulthood where ideals, values and beliefs are first assimilated and constructed through upbringing, schooling and other socio-cultural influences, then reshaped and even transformed in adulthood through education and learning. Transformation, according to Mezirow, involves alienation from earlier established conceptions of values and one’s actions in the world, ‘reframing new perspectives, and re-engaging life with a greater degree of self-determination’ (Mezirow 2000: xii). Mezirow characterises the process as ‘a praxis, a dialectic in which understanding and action interact to produce an altered state of being’ (ibid.).

Critical self reflection on a cognitive level was perceived as the key to adult transformative learning theory. So is meaning-making. In transformative learning theory, learning is ‘understood as a continuous effort to negotiate contested meanings’ (Mezirow 2000:3). He maintains that adult transformative learning is a process of making sense and interpreting the individual’s experience through heightened awareness and understanding, re-examining assumptions, synthesising and justifying. By so doing, the person is able to act upon the new meaning perspectives.

In an earlier book, Mezirow (1991, p. 161) holds that transformative learning focuses on perspective transformation and it involves (a) an empowered sense of self, (b) more critical understanding of how social relationships and culture have shaped his/her beliefs and feelings, and (c) more functional strategies and resources for taking action. 

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Narrative Pedagogy
  • Date of publication: 01/01/2011
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 174
  • Publisher: Peter Lang
  • Co-author: Scherto R. Gill
  • Subject:
    Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Narrative Pedagogy
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £20.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4331-0891-4
  • Buy used and new from: Amazon UK