Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An approach to transformational pedagogy in higher education
by Swanick, Samson M., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2012, 127; 1531557
Abstract (Summary)

The current trend of the US educational system is toward standardization. “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” has exacerbated this trend. The standardization of education can be labeled as an industrial model of learning. Critics suggest that this model of education is detrimental to the developmental capacities of students. After many years inculcated into this educational system, I question if significant transformation of the students is possible.

I used critical and radical pedagogical approaches to education in hopes of facilitating transformation. Specifically, these were; critical pedagogy, anarchist pedagogy, and spiritual pedagogy. These pedagogies, and their philosophies, were used to create an approach to teaching that would hopefully facilitate a transformational shift in the student. Four focus areas, or pillars, emerged as I aimed for specific transformation that was antithetical to our current standardized and industrial education system. I selected these pillars of transformation to be; awareness, empathy, empowerment, and engagement.

I explore how each educational philosophy could aid the transformational process. Each pedagogy is scrutinized to elucidate a potential approach to transform a student’s capacity for awareness, empathy, empowerment, and engagement. I also include several concepts to lay a theoretical and practical foundation for the class. These included: transformation, critical thinking, space, mutual aid, and power/authority. All of these elements were used to create a class that would hopefully induce/support transformation.

The results of this approach to Transformational Pedagogy are what lie within this thesis. Using the theoretical foundations of the different pedagogical approaches coupled with a conceptual development of their implementation, I created a freshman seminar class held at a public university. After the completion of the class and the evaluation of the qualitative data, student transformation within their capacities for awareness, empathy, empowerment, and engagement did indeed occur. An exposition of the results demonstrated that specific transformation transpired in a variety of ways and to various degrees. It concludes with a discussion and critique of this study, hopefully offering insight to further research into the development of a Transformational Pedagogy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fernandez, Luis
Commitee: Vasquez, Miguel, Wood, Gerald
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Pedagogy, Sustainability, Higher education
Keywords: Higher education, Pedagogy, Sustainability, Transformation
Publication Number: 1531557
ISBN: 978-1-267-84110-0
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