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Conference Proceeding

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Transformative learning has been important in the development of college and adult education since Jack Mezirow proposed it more than 40 years ago as a theoretical description of the steps learners undergo in changing their worldviews. From the educator’s perspective, transformative learning is when a learner is struck by a new concept or way of thinking and then follows through to make a life change; it supplements more common types of learning such as acquiring facts or learning new skills (Cranton, 2006) [1]. Little quantitative study has been made of the incidence of transformative learning or the ten steps predicted by Mezirow to precede it (Taylor, 2007) [2]. More European involvement in research on transformative learning is needed, given that the theory of transformative learning does not have concrete roots in the conceptual formation of the European adult educators (Kokkos, 2012) [3]. European adult educators’ rich scholarship on the social and critical dimensions of adult learning (Bourdieu, Foucault, Mayo) would have much to offer the study of transformative learning theory (Taylor & Cranton, 2013) [4].

The real innovation could be the reintegration of the transformative learning with ideas, theories and methodologies of freirerian pedagogy and of democratic adult education, such as Theatre of Oppressed and Forum Theatre, derived from the theory of Augusto Boal (2005) [5]. Our purpose is to create a collaborative international research to study the processes of transformative learning occurring during university laboratory experiences based on Freire’s pedagogical tools and on Boal’s Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed with graduating students. This paper presents the international pilot study for the validation of the instrument for assessment of the transformative learning adopting the perspective of the theory of ten precursor steps (Taylor, 2007; Brock, 2011) [6].

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in INTED2014 Proceedings: 8th International Technology, Education, and Development Conference (pp. 6147-6157). Valencia, Spain: IATED Academy. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. The original material can be found here: