A Multidisciplinary Approach to Transformative Higher Learning

By Charles Paul Beaupre.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The proposed paper examines ways of applying transformative learning to the university setting. More specifically, it presents different transformative approaches to learning that challenge sets of assumptions and expectations and reevaluates them to make them more inclusive, reflective, and receptive to changes in perceptions. These changes in perceptions then easily lead to more creative and innovative learning practices at university. First, the paper gives an overview of transformative learning and the influence it has on learning, especially adult learning situations. The paper then presents research findings that provide practical evidence of transformational learning facilitating changes to practice, processes, and the organizational cultures of various higher education settings. Data for this paper are drawn from case studies in an international context, featuring quantitative assessment and qualitative reflective protocols from university students, as well as in-depth analyses by leading researchers in the field. Pertinent issues addressed include trust building, entrepreneurship, skills adaptability, personal development, critical thought, and collaborative learning principles. Second, the paper discusses my own research in transformative education as it relates to higher learning environments, including recent research findings on the effect of a more holistic approach to cultivating innovation, initiative, resourcefulness, and a heightened sense of meaningful participation in learning-related activities. Finally, the paper provides examples of university students engaging in learning modules that encourage direct and active learning experiences, that is, provide an experiential “hands-on” dimension of transformative learning that relates directly to actual situations found within today’s society. Some of the activities under this last component include embodied learning, reflective discourse, contemplative practices, and capacity building.

Keywords: Transformative Learning, Higher Education

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.81-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 741.926KB).

Dr. Charles Paul Beaupre

Professor, Asian Studies/Centre for Spirituality and the Workplace, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. Beaupre has been a faculty member at Saint Mary’s University since 1994. He teaches primarily in the Asian Studies Program. For many years Dr. Beaupre has been investigating the subtle interrelationship of body, mind and spirit. He has pursued this line of study in many East Asia settings, focusing on subtle energy enhancement, mainly through qigong. He has presented his findings at international academic conferences, and has conducted workshops and seminars on issues of health, wellness, and positive energy throughout North America. He is presently promoting two specific forms of wellness / spiritual development known as Jiankang Qigong and Taiji Qigong. His main area of research activity relates to cross-cultural educational psychology; he has been mainly interested in comparative (East-West) studies of learning/teaching approaches, as well as curricula and pedagogical activities informed by transformative learning. He has conducted research in all kinds of Asian educational settings, with a particular interest in those that feature holistic approaches to learning. His on-site ethnographic research has converged on education systems in East Asian countries that still attach importance to notions of learning based on ancient concepts of personal development, accentuating a body/mind/spirit connection.


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