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ERIC Number: EJ1130697
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0039-3746
Transformative Learning, Enactivism, and Affectivity
Maiese, Michelle
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v36 n2 p197-216 Mar 2017
Education theorists have emphasized that transformative learning is not simply a matter of students gaining access to new knowledge and information, but instead centers upon personal transformation: it alters students' perspectives, interpretations, and responses. How should learning that brings about this sort of self-transformation be understood from the perspectives of philosophy of mind and cognitive science? Jack Mezirow has described transformative learning primarily in terms of critical reflection, meta-cognitive reasoning, and the questioning of assumptions and beliefs. And within mainstream philosophy of mind, there has been a long-standing assumption that cognition and thought are brain-based, computational, disembodied processes that occur separately from emotion and affect. According to this view, self-transformation might be construed as the forging of new neural connections and the development of new cognitive "programs." However, I will argue that the literature on embodiment and enactivism that has emerged in recent years offers us a different and more productive way to conceptualize the intended effects of transformative learning. From the standpoint of enactivism, the experience of transformative learning is thoroughly bound up with the cognitive shifts that it involves, and it also involves significant changes to the neurobiological dynamics of the living body. Moreover, personal transformation is not simply something that happens to subjects, but rather a process in which they are actively and dynamically engaged. In addition, this enactivist approach emphasizes that the learning process is fully embodied and fundamentally affective. From a phenomenological perspective, personal transformation can be understood as a pronounced alteration in cognitive-affective orientation; and from a neurobiological perspective, the development of new habits of mind can be understood as the formation of highly integrated patterns of bodily engagement and response. The upshot is that it is not just subjects' brains that are altered over the course of transformative learning, but also their overall bodily and affective attunement to their surroundings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A