Jul 1, 2011
Journal of Transformative Education
More than 30 years ago, Jack Mezirow (1981) introduced to the field of education the idea of transformative learning. Building on his own experience in community development and the work of Paulo Freire, he drew our collective attention to dimensions of adult learning heretofore not well developed by others. While Mezirow has continued to develop his thinking regarding these interesting aspects of learning and development, he has nonetheless demonstrated remarkable consistency over the years with regard to his core ideas. These core ideas, however, have stimulated considerable theory-building and research across a range of practice settings, disciplines, and cultural contexts (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). Indeed, transformative learning represents one of the most generative ideas for both practitioners and researchers concerned with adult learning. The pages of this journal over the last 9 years bear witness to this evolving and expanding nature of the concept. In addition to the creation of this journal, this idea has stimulated the founding of an international conference that is now in its 10th year (http://meridianuniversity.edu/index.php/about-the-conference), and numerous books, articles, and conference presentations. The field now even has its own handbook (Taylor, Cranton, & Associates, 2012)! Academic programs are organized around the idea and whole institutions have adopted transformational learning as a guiding theme. Themission statement for Michigan State University, my own institution, states, “our mission is to advance knowledge and transform lives” (http://president.msu.edu/mission/). Indeed, it is hard to overstate the influence that this idea has had across a wide spectrum of educational practices and international contexts.