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Riding Into Transformative Learning

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This article conveys a first person, phenomenological account of an experience of learning through a series of lessons in horse riding, experienced by the first author as participant. The study was undertaken in order to develop understanding of the experience of, and processes that may be involved in, 'transformative learning' (Mezirow, 1991). The study drew on approaches from Neuro-linguistic Programming (Bandler & Grinder, 1975b), and from Psycho-phenomenology and Consciousness Studies (Depraz et al., 2003; Vermersch, 1994), to reflect on and describe both the rider's first person experiences and the instructor's methods. This represents an innovation in the field of transformative learning. The subsequent analysis highlights the importance of the act of becoming mindful and more aware. This was partly initiated and maintained by the ways in which the coach used language and questions to enable the learner to make ever more fine-grained distinctions, which effected a transformation in her understanding. The article concludes that transformative learning needs to be understood as an embodied and emergent process, informed theoretically by consciousness studies and complexity sciences.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Management Learning and Development, School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, Email: 2: Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2008


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