chapter  6
An overview on transformative learning
Pages 16

The concept of ‘transformative learning’ was launched in 1978 by Jack Mezirow, Professor of Adult Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. For many years he had been an adult education consultant in various developing countries, inspired by Brazilian Paulo Freire and German Jürgen Habermas, among others. But it was in connection with women’s adult education in the US that he discovered a wideranging kind of learning, reaching right into changes of the identity. Later, Mezirow elaborated on the concept of transformative learning in several writings and worked with it in practice, not least in the reputed Adult Education Guided Independent Study (AEGIS) doctoral programme. In the following chapter, which was fi rst published in 2006 in Peter Sutherland and Jim Crowther (eds.) Lifelong Learning: Concepts and Contexts, Mezirow recapitulates the history and main features of the concept of transformative learning and discusses various points of critique and suggestions for extension that have been put forward over the years. In this way, the chapter can be regarded as a fi nal summing-up of his work.