Transformative Learning and Its Influence on #MYFest22 Design

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 44 seconds

In 2018, Autumm Caines and I wrote an article about promoting ownership, agency and equity in educational development work. In it, aside from recommending that educators should be given freedom to choose their own pathway for their own development as teachers, we also refer to Mezirow’s “transformative learning” and the distinction between sudden (“epochal”) versus long-term and sustained (“cumulative”) transformation.

#MYFest22 truly intends to embody a lot of what we were aspiring to with our article, building on existing models we mention like Virtually Connecting and DigPINS. It’s a “choose-your-own-learning-journey” experience, and it is not condensed into a few days like a conference would be (I mean, you often CAN choose your own learning journey in a conference, but you have limited time to do so, and you also have to choose between parallel sessions when there are choices). Having MYFest over three whole months, with opportunities to dip in and out, as time and interest allow, I believe, gives opportunities for more “cumulative” transformative learning. We’ve also baked some “critical reflection” time within it, at least a couple of times each month via synchronous sessions, but of course people could also reflect asynchronously, privately or publicly, individually or with others.

This is all making me reflect on two things in my local educational development experience. The first thing is the phenomenon, which I think is quite widespread across institutions, that particular faculty are the ones who show up for our services: they attend our workshops, they ask us to come and talk to their students, they seek consultations when they’re stuck on something, they want to innovate and come to get our support for their ideas, etc. This is often seen as us not reaching out widely enough. This is partly true. But also, there is another element: the value of what an educational development center offers is not only possible in a one-off workshop or a single consultation. Those may or may not produce “epochal” transformations in the moment. The more likely value appears within a sustained relationship that builds potential for “cumulative” transformation, and so the people who keep coming back are in the process of building that. Because they come more, they benefit more, so they come more… kind of. One day, one of these people in a workshop stopped me and said, “I see what you’re doing. You’re not just giving us tools and strategies, you’re influencing our mindset”. And I said, yes. At least, that is my goal as an educator. In more than one session, people reflect on how I “model” good teaching (or at least audience engagement, especially in online workshops where they’re used to not being well engaged).

My hope is that with the wonderful group of us organizing #MYFest22 and the wonderful people who have so far expressed interest, we can create a transformative learning space that is also nurturing for many of us. If you haven’t expressed interest yet, here is the form: https://bit.ly/myfest22. If you fill this form, we’ll inform you as soon as registration opens (which is right around the corner inshallah).

The full list of our offerings are not yet on the site, but you can get a flavor from the MYFest at a Glance page.

Featured Image by brankin62 from Pixabay

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