Živilė Stankevičiūtė - Understanding and experiencing transformative learning

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Assoc. Prof. Dr Živilė Stankevičiūtė of Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business, Lithuania

The world has changed dramatically in the past few months. The COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt economies, with severe consequences for society, businesses, countries, families, and every individual. Regular ways of spending time with friends, shopping, working and finally learning and teaching are changing. While striving for resilience, we are putting in place various measures under the current circumstances, usually with no previous experience that can compare with regard to the functioning and value of new methods, structures or systems. Indeed, we all are on the transformation path.

As a member of the Legacy17 Professional Trainee Programme (based in Sweden), I was familiar with the concept of transformations before applying for the training provided under the EU-funded Project “Building Capacity for Transformative Learning” (2018-1-DE02-KA204-005108); however, transformative learning was not one of my subjects of expertise. I read the invitation in a COPERNICUS Alliance newsletter to apply for a seat in a course and I decided to send in an application to increase my knowledge of transformative learning. I succeeded and received an invitation to participate in the programme for adult educators, longing for a different, deeper approach to shaping education.

The main aim of the programme is to give a transformative edge to the praxis of participants as adult educators. The design of the programme was really challenging and demanded active involvement, as it consisted of a 5-day workshop in Croatia in February 2020, followed by three months of online interaction.

Turning to my experience, the pace of the 5-day workshop in Fužine (Croatia) was extremely rapid, given that each day brought something unexpected and fresh from my perspective. Based on my experience in human resource management, I recognise that the workshop in Croatia (as well as the programme in general) was well-designed and reflected the demands and desires of participants. The workshop was a combination of presentations, meditations, games, reflection, “taking your time”, and closeness with nature. Actually, I think that the inclusion of nature in the workshop gave extra value to the training by inciting us to rethink the effect that the natural environment has on human beings, including on how we learn and teach. The two hot topics of the five-day workshop were related to an in-depth understanding of the definition of transformative learning and to competencies that allow for making transformative learning happen successfully. As an added bonus, seeing people with shining eyes and open hearts was unforgettable.

I deeply appreciate the opportunity provided by Legacy17 to enlarge my knowledge on transformative learning, to apply this knowledge in my day-to-day teaching at the Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business (Lithuania), as well as to meet people who are ultimate professionals and are dedicated to their activities, while expanding my social network. Last but not least, I see the dissemination of ideas among my colleagues as one of the areas I can now contribute to in the field of transformative learning.

3 Jun 2020