I have always thought of teaching as transformative. Whether delivering knowledge or instructing skills, I have always hoped to expand my students’ thinking—in context or in complexity, if not in content. I had two teachers, who explained to their classes what they were doing, who influenced my philosophy.
For my unit-sized lesson plan, I prepared and delivered a four-session unit on “skills and values” for a Vocational Exploration course being tought by two of my colleagues. The course is one credit hour, pass/fail, seven weeks long, offered in the second half of the semester. In fall 2019, it met Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:10-1:00 pm, in a computer lab in the library. There were eight students in the class, ranging from first-years to seniors. Their majors included Business, Criminal Justice, and Psychology. I had existing relationships with four of them; the other four I did not know. The lessons that I taught were scheduled for the last two weeks of the semester, the weeks before and after Thanksgiving break.
Returning to Online Pedagogy after a long break, I found that I was still interested in the learning theories—behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism—that were discussed in the second module (previous post). In the intervening time, I also took a course that discussed Indigenous ways of knowing and passing on knowledge. This led me to wonder if there is research documenting an “Indigenous learning theory.” A search of that phrase in academic databases eventually brought me to Elizabeth Lange’s (2004) article “Transformative and Restorative Learning: A Vital Dialectic for Sustainable Societies,” which, as the title suggests, explores an application of transformative learning theory. Knowing little about transformative learning theory, I also read a chapter of Edward Taylor’s (1998) The Theory and Practice of Transformative Learning: A Critical Review, which I found in Lange’s works cited, for more background. Although transformative learning theory does not exactly satisfy my search for an Indigenous learning theory, it has potentially interesting applications for my work.
Lange, E.A. (2004). Transformative and restorative learning: A vital dialectic for sustainable societies. Adult Education Quarterly, 54(2), 121-139. Retrieved on 26 December 2020 from www.researchgate.net. DOI: 10.1177/0741713603260276
Taylor, E.W. (1998). The theory and practice of transformative learning: A critical review (ERIC Clearing-house on Adult, Career, and Training for Employment, Information Series No. 374). Columbus, OH: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Retrieved on 27 December 2020 from files.eric.ed.gov.
After reading George Siemens’s 2005 proposition of Connectivism as the new learning theory of the digital age and Mohammed Ally’s 2008 discussion of online learning theories, I wondered if Connectivism had been accepted and become relevant in the decade since. (I should have had some indication, based on its inclusion in this course, that it had.) I searched for “connectivism” in the Rasmusen Library, and this short, very recent article was the third result.
Utecht, J., Keller, D. (2019). Becoming relevant again: Applying connectivism learning theory to today’s classrooms. Critical Questions in Education, 10(2), 107-119. Retrieved 12 September 2019 from search.ebscohost.com.