The Transformational learning process conceived by Jack Merzirow has four stages. Transformational learning is a process to help people solve their problems and help them to make life changes. The four stages are; recognizing a significant problem, confronting it intensely , finding a solution, and integrating a new perspective as well as a new set of assumptions into your life pattern. Recognizing a significant problem is the first step in being able to figure out what the problem or issue is in your past or current life.
Once you are able to recognize the problem you will be able to talk out the situation or problem with someone. Confronting a problem intensely is difficult. Especially once you have to be honest with yourself. If you are having a difficult time in your life it makes it difficult to remain calm and level headed. Most people have a hard time looking at themselves and realizing they need help. If you remain calm and level headed you will be able to see the problem and figure out a solution. Finding a solution to the problem or situation can be a process.
Once you are able to look at the problem calmly and rationally a decision or solution will come easier. You will be able to start to see light at the end of the tunnel. The steps to the solution will become more clear. Integrating a new perspective and a new set of assumptions into your life you must be able to understand new ideas, thoughts, and points of views differently. Realizing this will help guide all of your expectations to the right direction and way of thinking.
You will realize that being open to new ideas and thoughts will help you to make the right decision and feel good about it. When you face a significant issue in your life, such as considering a totally new career or adopting a value system required by a new relationship, you are entering a learning cycle with complex challenges. Although the learning resulting from a significant experience of this kind may be renewing, its outcome is likely to be more far-reaching than that. Because of the depth of its outcomes, this type of learning experience is called transformational. It produces a new level of meaning in your life.
Inevitably, the transformational learning cycle moves through the stages of recognizing a significant problem, confronting it intensely, finding a solution, and integrating a new perspective and a new set of assumptions into your life pattern. This process requires a great deal of reflection and is often painful and stressful. Transformation, though desirable, rarely comes easily. It separates life into distinct “before” and “after” realities. ) Source taken from Ashford Textbook Chapter 5. 2. When I was 22 I found out I was pregnant. This was a terrible time in my life.
I was working three jobs just to make ends meet for myself. I had been dating my now husband Jeremy,but at that time boyfriend of only six months. We were friends for a year before we started dating. At the time I was on two different types of birth control for medical reasons and was told I would not be able to get pregnant. Being young and stupid I never questioned my Doctor any more about it. I was in disbelief. In my mind there was just no way. I was also still menstruating. Anxiety, questions and depression were all I could think about when I found out. I had to confront this issue but how?
First my biggest concern how far along was I? Second should I have the baby, have an abortion or give it up for adoption? Last how did this happen? Once I confronted the issue with Jeremy we were both scared and angry at each other we ended up breaking up. I was emotional and scared. He was young and immature. I found out I was four months along, this limited my options. I decided to keep the baby. Now she is 15 beautiful and smart. I explained to Jeremy I would be keeping her. We did not talk till I was a little over seven months. I reached my seventh month before we decided together to come up with a solution.
We both knew we wanted to be together. Neither of us wanted to be without the other but we were so scared and young we didn’t know what to expect. I decided to quit one job and only work two. I had my own apartment so he moved in with me. It was really difficult for us the first couple of years, mostly trust was the issue. Trust is something we both value. Now that we have been married and together for a total of 18 years we look at things differently. We have to keep an open mind and listen to each other. We don’t always get along but we do have respect for each other.
Together we have a friendship and a bond that will last us for the rest of our lives. Ideas, thoughts and emotions are always changing just like points of views and expectations. I know now my expectations of Jeremy are completely different for when we first got together. Mezirow identified seven phases occurring in the challenging learning process: experiencing a disorienting dilemma, self-examination, critical assessment of assumptions, recognizing that others have gone through a similar process, exploring a process, formulating a plan of action and reintegration.
Mezirow’s self-examination was the biggest and hardest for me in the beginning of our relationship. I felt like we had rushed into having a baby and moving in together. I was questioning myself as well as Jeremy. I felt like I didn’t know him well enough but then on the other hand we had created life. I knew I loved Jeremy and there was not anyone else I wanted to be with. I just knew he was not ready to be a father or a husband at that time.
I would look at myself and wonder for the first 3 years we were together and wonder if I made the right choice for me. I had so many plans and Jeremy and my daughter were not in them. Now I look back and I am happy with the choices I made. I just wish I had went to college instead of just working to pay the bills. The transformational learning process created by Mezirow has helped people to identify their problems and life choices. Once you use they processes to figure out the problem you will be able to find the correct solution.