Transformative Learning: Learning to “LEGO”

This is a short piece that my good friend (and fellow Master of Education candidate) and I created this weekend around transformative learning. Enjoy!

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This week, Kelsey and Joe got together on the weekend to discuss the week’s readings and task. Inspired by the opportunities for storytelling in the form of an AHA moment, visual representation in the form of a collage, they decided to meld both questions into one stimulating visual story. Just like the warp and woof of the transformative framework, Kelsey and Joe have collaboratively woven a redesigned format of this week’s task in our community of difference. By theoretically weaving self-directed learning and perspective transformation with responsibility for growth and challenging psychological security, Kelsey and Joe strive to be activists in the oppressive confines of stagnant elements of education.

Freire suggests that transformative pedagogy occurs through exposure to new ways of seeing and being. We were inspired by this week’s questions to explore a new mode of expression.

Star wars is based on a premise of political turmoil. In this example, although the process is simple and hands on, the learner is engaged on multiple levels. Discussion topics take the form of political analysis, metaphor, and real-life applications. These conversations lead to thoughts about real world problems that address social inequities and movement toward change. Personal experience is brought up with the telling of stories about the past.

There are no written instructions. Lego is universal, relying on visual diagrams that are suitable for any age or language. There are no experts, and the learner is given the opportunity to become his/her own expert.

Participants are free to deviate from the instructions to build and learn on their own, without the guidance or outside authority. They are also able to make their own alterations to the typical set-up. There is a realization that possibilities are endless.

The initial sight of all of the intricate lego pieces can be overwhelming. This is the disorienting dilemma as discussed by Sue McGregor (2004); a precursor to transformation.

Joe is engaging in the process of critical reflection and action (praxis) to achieve his goal of building this Star Wars Lego set. Theory, action, and reflection are natural parts of this process.

At one point in this process, it becomes evident that the learner is capable of solving this puzzle without the aid of the instructions. Visually, the pieces begin to resemble a whole. The picture on the box is coming to life. The a-ha occurs!

On another level, as the creators of this experiment, Joe and Kelsey were skeptical. How can Lego be used in an educational fashion? Would our actions be legitimated by our hopes for a progressive weekly response, or was our excitement for Lego leading us on the wrong path? At some point in the process however, the pieces came together (literally and figuratively). Their perspective transformed and the exciting ideas and applications started flowing.

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