Relating Across Difference : A Case Study in Transformative Learning

Peacock, David (2013) Relating Across Difference : A Case Study in Transformative Learning. In Benham Rennick, Joanne & Desjardins, Michel (Eds.) The World is my Classroom : International Learning and Canadian Higher Education. University of Toronto Press Inc, Toronto, Canada, pp. 160-191.

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This chapter examines the process of “transformative learning” for the 2008 cohort of the St. Thomas More College–Intercordia Canada (STM/IC) international community service-learning program. My primary data comes from the eight students who were part of that cohort, when I was their program coordinator. That data later became the heart of my Master’s thesis and was approved by the Research Ethics Office of the University of Saskatchewan. In this chapter I focus on three of those eight participants, outlining the critical elements of their experiences that were conducive to their transformative learning. To be sure, my sample size is too small to draw generalizable conclusions, but the quality of information I received from these students and their colleagues, coupled with the follow-up conversations I had with other educators and with the accompanying literature, supports the value of reflecting at length here about these students’ comments. I have chosen to highlight the experiences of these three participants because together they provide a range of experiences that best enables an analysis of the conditions that both did and did not lead to transformative learning. This case study suggests that transformative learning occurs through: the dynamics of vulnerability, a discovery of persisting differences within inter-personal relationships, and an experience of welcome and hospitality in the host environment. In contrast to other studies that focus on the enhanced capacities, skills and subsequent employability of participants through international education, transformative learning for these students required a relinquishing of securities, a disorientation and critical interrogation of the self, and enhanced receptivity to the newly recognized Other. Moreover, consistent with the critical-humanistic educational philosophy shared in different ways by the participants of the STM/IC program, this study suggests that international community service-learning can most responsibly contribute to good global citizenship through the construction of relationships of solidarity across difference.

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ID Code: 73381
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: transformative learning, international service-learning, higher education, HERN
ISBN: 9781442615823
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Chancellery
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Deposited On: 06 Jul 2014 22:24
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 08:19

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