The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at EMU


Teaching multicultural counseling is challenging work. In order for students to learn course material, the instructor must often send them through a process of unlearning what they previously thought they knew in an effort to have them question their assumptions and form a deeper understanding of social identity. As Dibya Choudhuri notes, this can potentially lead to transformative experiences for students, as they begin to see the world much differently than they previously had. Dibya expertly uses the theory of transformative learning to shed light on what is happening in her class as her students go through this experience. Dibya chooses not focus specifically on answering a “Yes-No” question of whether transformative learning took place in her class – although I would suggest that she provides clear examples of some transformation happening. Instead, her paper does something even more interesting. Dibya uses the range of data – primarily student journals and her own written reflections done before and after each class – to arrive at conclusions about what conditions facilitate transformative learning. She suggests, with a little bit of undue modesty, that while instructors can do some things to facilitate transformations, much of it is beyond their control. True transformative learning requires a fortuitous mix of many elements – the learners, the instructor, the environment and the pedagogical process – to even have a chance of occurring.