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International Review of Education

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 915–934 | Cite as

How transformational learning promotes caring, consultation and creativity, and ultimately contributes to sustainable development: Lessons from the Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL) network

  • Victoria Wyszynski Thoresen
Original Paper

Abstract

Oases of learning which are transformative and lead to significant behavioural change can be found around the globe. Transformational learning has helped learners not only to understand what they have been taught but also to re-conceptualise and re-apply this understanding to their daily lives. Unfortunately, as many global reports indicate, inspirational transformational learning approaches for sustainable development are rare and have yet to become the norm – despite calls for such approaches by several outstanding educators and organisations. This article examines three learning approaches developed by the network of the Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL). These approaches are structured around core elements of transformative learning for sustainable development, yet focus particularly on the ability to care, consult with others and be creative. They seem to depend on the learners’ ability to articulate their perceptions of sustainable development in relation to their own values and to identify how these are actualised in their daily life. Together with other core elements of transformative learning, an almost magical (not precisely measurable) synergy then emerges. The intensity of this synergy appears to be directly related to the individual learner’s understanding of the contradictions, interlinkages and interdependencies of modern society. The impact of this synergy seems to be concurrent with the extent to which the learner engages in a continual learning process with those with whom he/she has contact. The findings of this study suggest that mainstreaming transformational learning for sustainable development in ways that release the “magic synergy of creative caring” can result in the emergence of individuals who are willing and able to move from “business as usual” towards more socially just, economically equitable, and environmentally sensitive behaviour.

Keywords

education for sustainable development sustainable lifestyles transformational learning creative caring values-based learning social innovation active learning 

Résumé

Comment l’apprentissage transformationnel favorise prévenance, concertation et créativité, et contribue finalement au développement durable : enseignements du réseau Partenariat pour l’éducation et la recherche concernant un mode de vie responsable (Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living, PERL) – Des îlots d’apprentissage à caractère transformateur et induisant un changement notable de comportement existent dans toutes les régions du monde. L’apprentissage transformationnel aide les participants à comprendre ce qui leur est enseigné, mais aussi à reconceptualiser et à réappliquer cette connaissance dans leur vie quotidienne. Comme le signalent de nombreux rapports mondiaux, les approches éducatives de nature inspiratrice et transformationnelle en vue du développement durable sont malheureusement rares et doivent encore devenir la norme – en dépit de la demande afférente exprimée par plusieurs éminents éducateurs et organismes. Cet article examine trois approches d’apprentissage élaborées par le réseau du Partenariat pour l’éducation et la recherche concernant un mode de vie responsable (PERL). Elle sont structurées autour d’éléments essentiels de l’apprentissage transformationnel pour le développement durable, mais se concentrent en particulier sur la capacité à aider, à se concerter avec les autres et à être créatif. Ces aptitudes semblent dépendre de la capacité des apprenants à exprimer leurs perceptions du développement durable en fonction de leurs propres valeurs, et à identifier comment ces dernières se concrétisent dans leur vie quotidienne. En interaction avec d’autres éléments fondamentaux de l’apprentissage transformationnel, il apparaît alors une synergie presque magique (non mesurable avec précision). L’intensité de cette synergie semble directement reliée à la conception de l’apprenant individuel quant aux contradictions, interconnexions et interdépendances de la société moderne. L’impact de cette synergie est apparemment proportionnel à l’ampleur de l’engagement de l’apprenant dans une démarche ininterrompue d’apprentissage avec les personnes de son entourage. Les résultats de cette étude suggèrent que l’apprentissage transformationnel en vue du développement durable sous sa forme dominante, qui libère une « synergie magique de la prévenance créative» , peut induire l’émergence d’individus disposés et aptes à passer du statu quo à un comportement qui favorise la justice sociale, l’équité économique et le respect de l’environnement.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable DevelopmentInland Norway University of Applied SciencesHamarNorway

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