Thinking at the Graduate Level
It is seen not simply as mastering more and more knowledge and skills in a cumulative way, but as making conceptual leaps in understanding and viewing the world – as transformative more than additive” (Merrifield, 2000, p. 12 as citied by Kerka, p.1).
EEC is a transformative learning process. Transformative learning helps us to explore our own personal frames of reference so that we may engage in a process of changing how we “know”, how we make meaning. An Australian adult and continuing education curriculum framework (Bradshaw, 1999) also takes a transformative approach. The curriculum recognizes the significant contribution of learning to the creation of personal and social futures. It is intended to provide “a solid foundation for a full and active life for the variety of roles we play” (Bradshaw, 1999 as cited by Kerka, 2000, p.1).
This framework contains eight lifelong learning goals that focus on higher-order thinking:
- Understand complex systems that interact unpredictably
- Identify and integrate existing and emerging personal, local, national, and global perspectives
- Prosper with different paradoxical and multiple sets of realities
- See and make connections between past, present, and future
- Encourage sustainability in relationships and the environment
- Engage in a process of change, privately, publicly, civically, and occupationally throughout life
- Extend learning styles and repertoires
- Develop insights through questioning
Underlying these goals are four key principles:
- Critical intelligence
It might be helpful as you journey your way through EEC to keep this list posted for handy reference. Ask yourself from time to time: “Am I engaging in this level of thinking?”
Reference: Kerka, S. (2001). The Balancing Act of Adult Life . ERIC Digest no. 229.