Responsible Higher Education - Practicing Transformative Learning and Teaching

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Andrea TOARNICZKY, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Reka MATOLAY, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Judit GASPAR, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Our research aims at exploring the transformational potential of three pilot projects organised by the recently established science shop – an interface of CSOs and academics - of a leading business school in Hungary. Students’ and community partners work together for 3 months with the support of dedicated educators. One of the learning objectives is to enhance the sense of responsibility and critical thinking related to societal challenges.

Our theoretical frame is transformational learning (Mezirow, 2000), working with the embedded nature of the learning process: including changes in learner and educator, and also in their relationship, as well as their interactions with the structure. Transformational learning does not demand social change; instead, it increases freedom through more information and openness to alternate points of views; the ability for critical thinking and reflectiveness on assumptions; including the individual’s; thus, enabling social change. Transformational learning links reflection and action through an open and iterative process, while developing the learners’ critical reflection and responsiveness.

Transformational learning is a process with key turning points (Mezirow, 2000): (1) disorienting dilemma - increased awareness on the conflicted nature of assumptions and need for change; (2) dilemma and the associated feelings, discontent and need for change shared with others - need for supportive group of peers; (3) development of sustaining practice for the (re)integration of change.

The research explores all these turning points to answer the research questions: To what extent is transformational teaching and learning practiced in the studied projects? How is structure (re)interpreted in the transformational teaching and learning process?

The cross-case analysis is provided (1) from a process perspective along the key turning points identified for the transformational learning process, and (2) from a content/value perspective, interpreting the practice through the process requirements and policy agendas of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).