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T=me2: The Speed of Transformative Learning

Today’s classrooms are full of students affected by the stimulus immediacy and engagement of hi-tech gadgets. Teachers in every classroom compete with those gadgets to engage, motivate, and inspire learning on a daily basis as they navigate the scope, sequence, and pace of teaching standards. Often, there are teachers who are able to reach those students and invoke higher level learning in spite of the competition. The key component that seems to be accessed for the performance accomplished classrooms is incorporation of transformational emotional intelligence as socio-emotional learning (SEL) into their pedagogical practices. This article offers a framework to use as a blueprint when designing high learning lessons.

How I Got Here

I recently completed my doctoral work by exploring Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a strengths-based change model and how practitioners determine impact, or transformative change. Transformative change is a direct result of learning, or the construction of new knowledge. For this discussion, I will use the term learning to mean change or transformational change. What I discovered was the notion that how impact was determined was not as significant as to why it worked. Applied to an educational setting, impact may be determined by a student’s grades (how), yet understanding why they were able earn those grades would be most important to teaching practices. Based on my dissertation research results, three key determinants of learning culminated into a pivotal point for transformational learning. The three key determinants that emerged from this study were: cognitive change, paradigm change, and behavioral change. Within the data convergence was the concept of a possible identifiable, pivotal point where thoughts become actions. The pivotal point concept may not only help identify how to bring about learning, but also lend to the discussion of why certain pedagogical practices work. This article focuses on the cognitive change aspect of my research as a means of understanding the precursor to new knowledge acquisition and subsequent actions based on that learning.