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The impact of transformational learning on individuals, families and communities

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Abstract:

This article is based on a larger study (Bennetts 2002) into the Second Chance Trust (SCT) and addresses one major finding from that study, that of transformational learning and its effect on 197 individuals, their close relationships, and their communities. The SCT offers money to those over the age of 30 in South West England to effect change within their lives for the benefit of the wider community. Individuals evaluated transformational learning by the extent of major changes in thinking, feeling, acting, relating and being. Significant transformations fell into the categories of self-transformation, coping with and instigating change in self and others, transformed relationships, increased educational drive, career improvement, and better quality of life. Significant transformations were enabled by giving relatively small grants to individuals within a trusting and supportive relationship. This study supports both Mezirow's (1981) theory of perspective transformation and Boyd and Myers (1988) view of transformative education. Individuals' transitions appear to have been sustained over the years by the knowledge that change is possible, necessary and rewarding. The transitions evolved through a cycle of evaluation of circumstances, assessment of learning need, and adaptation of the present pattern of life required to achieve the new goal. In this context, lifelong learning becomes the norm, a process not a discrete educational event. Sustainability thus becomes the continued ability to learn from change and does not denote a static state.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0260137032000102832

Affiliations: Exeter University, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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