Transformative Learning in Science Education: Investigating Pedagogy for Action

  • Lyn CarterEmail author
  • Carolina Castano Rodriguez
  • Mellita Jones
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 9)


Sociocultural approaches to science education that aim towards a kind of scientific literacy for active citizenship have been increasing in recent years and are now firmly entrenched. Areas of interest are broad and include calls to socio-political action like those from Derek Hodson (Int J Sci Educ 25(6):645–670, 2003) and Larry Bencze (Can J Sci Math Tech Educ 8(4):297–312, 2008). Hodson argues that if contemporary social and environmental problems are to be solved, we need to orient science education strongly towards action. Included in much of this literature, either explicitly or implicitly, is the notion of a transformation in attitudes, behaviours, values, beliefs, and actions. While more often than not used colloquially, transformation is also a term d’art within field of transformative learning (TL). TL in not well known within science education, and we believe it may offer new insights into ways of progressing some of our sociocultural agendas. This chapter outlines research that uses the key precepts and processes of TL and presents findings from a pre-service teaching unit that was framed within TL theory. We ask what real TL may look like in a science classroom and what challenges and issues accompany its implementation.


Transformative learning Activist science education Mezirow Disorientating dilemmas 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lyn Carter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carolina Castano Rodriguez
    • 1
  • Mellita Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationAustralian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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