Transformative learning through development education NGOs: comparative study of Britain and Spain

Brown, Eleanor Joanne (2013) Transformative learning through development education NGOs: comparative study of Britain and Spain. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis examines non-formal settings for development education by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). I focus on teaching and learning methodologies and on the attitudes and actions generated in learners. The study is informed by transformative learning theory, particularly as developed by Jack Mezirow (2000) and by Paulo Freire (1970). I look at opportunities for non-formal transformative learning in both Britain and in Spain and the use of participative methodologies to develop knowledge and understanding of and attitudes towards global development issues. I consider how such personal transformations might lead to social change and how a postcolonial analysis might affect the way issues are presented. This is a qualitative study informed by interviews with staff from seven organisations in the UK and seven in Spain. Illustrative cases are also provided based on observations of three non-formal educational activities in each country and interviews with learners attending these courses.

I found that the extent to which participative critical dialogue was generated by such development education activities varied and depended on a number of factors, including the length of the course and pedagogical styles of the facilitators. Learners showed signs of transformation through the activities. Many talked about increased self-esteem and changes in understanding and attitudes. This had consequential influences on behaviour, particularly relating to more sustainable consumer behaviour and other lifestyle or career choices. I note that, through opportunities for transformative learning, participants also formed networks that could contribute to social as well as personal transformations; this relates to the stated aims and objectives of the NGOs and thus has important policy implications.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Morgan, W.J.
Mills, G.D.
Keywords: Critical thinking, dialogue, social justice, global education, participatory methodologies
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 13050
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2013 14:31
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 22:57

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