About the Transformative Learning Centre
The Transformative Learning Centre is based at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
Our main goals are:
- To provide an interdepartmental structure for community-university partnerships in research and field development.
- To provide a forum for the discussion of interdisciplinary issues related to learning in community and global transformation
- To provide a means for faculty and students to participate in specific networks requiring membership from a community-university base rather than formal academic structures.
- To support interdepartmental instruction in Transformative Learning Studies and related areas.
The TLC Approach to Transformative Learning: Grounded Hope
Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and permanently alters our way of being in the world.
This shift includes our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations and our relationships with other humans and with the natural world. It also involves our understanding of power relations in interlocking structures of class, race and gender, our body awareness, our visions of alternative approaches to living, and our sense of possibilities for social justice, peace and personal joy.
In sum, transformative learning makes us understand the world in a different way, changing the way we experience it and the way we act in our day-to-day lives. Transformative learning has an individual and a collective dimension, and includes both individual and social transformation.
In the Transformative Learning Centre we are inspired by the notion of grounded hope. We believe that one of the best ways to predict the future is to actively create it, moving together towards our collective visions by developing viable alternatives that recognize the limitations and possibilities (especially the possibilities! of each particular context.
The TLC encourages open and supportive collaboration with all OISE/UT departments and centres. Currently, the TLC has five main programs of research, teaching and action:
- Peace and Human Rights Education
- Environmental Education
- Popular Education and Community Development
- Spirituality and Education
- Citizenship Learning and Participatory Democracy
The Transformative Learning Centre (TLC) was created in September of 1993 when several OISE professors, students and community partners decided to come together and combine resources and energies to create a stronger sense of community and collaboration in areas such as environmental, feminist, anti-racist, aboriginal, adult and popular education,
The OISE faculty members who came together were primarily senior scholar/activists who, from a variety of diverse perspectives, were aiming at combining inter-disciplinary practices, new knowledge, and alternative strategies for community and global change. It became clear that they all shared an interest in “transforming” contemporary educational and social paradigms. They were also united by an interest in the role of learning in global and local change and for university-community partnerships in participatory action research.
The TLC has been the sponsor and home of the “Greening of OISE Committee” and the “Green Bag” Lunch and seminar series, which has hosted numerous visiting scholars from Norway, Uganda, China, Ireland, Costa Rica, Australia, Korea, New Zealand and the United States. It is a member of CIVICUS (the largest global civil society organization), the Canadian Alliance for Democratic Learning (CANDLE) the North American Alliance for Popular and Adult Education (NAAPAE) and the International Paulo Freire Institute (Brazil). The TLC has worked closely with the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education, particularly in support of the Dame Nita Barrow Visitorship and Lecture. It has also supported the Centres for Education and Work, the Centre for Integrated Anti-Racist Studies, and the Indigenous Education Network. The TLC has also participated actively in the first three editions of the World Social Forum, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001, 2002 and 2003, in the first Toronto Social Forum (2003), and in the third edition of the World Education Forum (Porto Alegre, 2004).
In recent years, the TLC hosted eight Summer Institutes (2003-2010) and six major international conferences: Social Movement Learning (2001), Transformative Learning (2002), Spirit Matters (2004 and 2007), and Citizenship Learning and Participatory Democracy (2003 and 2008).