Transformative Learning





Transformative Learning

During my teenage years, all I thought about was having fun and generally doing whatever I wanted to, without caring about the repercussions. I did not concentrate much in school and I only studied to get a passing grade. I was in constant trouble at home. I never did any chores and I fought frequently with my parents and siblings. On one summer afternoon, my friends and I decided to take a ride to the lake, which was some miles away from home. We had some alcohol products in the car. Our idea was to start drinking when we got to the lake. We would be alone and no adults would be there to supervise us. We were traveling at high speeds and we only slowed down when we suspected that police officers would be around a specific place. We went to the lake and had a lot of fun swimming and drinking. By the time we were going home, none of us was sober enough to be driving. However, we did not think about this as we entered the car.

Our drive home was uneventful for the first few minutes. However, once we reached the town, which was some distance from our homes, we started speeding. We did not notice any traffic lights but we continued driving and singing along to the music playing on the radio. We were so loud that we did not notice an oncoming vehicle. We only realized what was happening when we had a loud bang and all of us were thrust forward. I did not know what happened next as I regained my consciousness the next day. All I remembered were screams and total darkness. After I regained consciousness the next day, I felt pain all over my body. Every part seemed to be throbbing. I was not able to lift my hands and I spent most of the time lying on the bed looking at the hospital ceiling. The painkillers I got from the nurses did not seem to help much. I felt foolish at that moment. I had brought this pain on myself. Had I made better decisions, I would not have been in a hospital bed but I would have been enjoying my summer vacation.

Fortunately, no one died in the accident. However, we sustained serious injuries. The driver never recovered fully from his fractures. Prior to the accident, he had been active in sports. However, he sustained fractures and broken bones that prevented him from participating in any sport competitions in school. I spent two months recovering at the hospital. One person in the car got serious eye injuries and she does not see well up to this day. It was a lesson learnt the hard way. My sentiments towards life and family changed when I was at the hospital. During this time, only my family members came to visit and comfort me. My best friend and some of the other people I knew had been involved in the accident. We were in pain and we could not comfort each other.

The accident was a transformative experience. It changed how I thought about drugs and alcohol. Since that time, I have resisted the consumption of any intoxicating substance. I also developed a fear for driving. Although I drive, I do not do so often and I never drive at night. I was never able to rekindle the relationship I had with my friends. We did not blame each other for the accident. However, we all knew that we had been careless and that we could have been more cautious. We had learnt the effects of alcohol and we knew that we were in danger for driving while drunk. Through transformed learning, individuals change their thought process after undergoing a learning process (Stenstrom and Tynjala 25). The accident and the time spent at the hospital provided good learning lessons.

Critical reflection is one of the most important elements in transformative learning. Critical reflection involves a review of the assumptions that people have and people change their thinking after such reflection (Yoshida, Geller, and Schapiro 4). It leads to greater self-awareness in how one relates to other people. I thought a lot about my life during the time I spent at the hospital. Before the accident, I felt like I could do anything without having to deal with the consequences. I did not care or worry much about my actions. The accident made me realize that the actions that I choose to do can hurt other people. I realized that I am not only responsible for my life, but for others as well. I used to think that had I been sober or more responsible at the time, then I would have discouraged my friends from drinking and the accident would not have happened.

The accident deepened my ability to understand my roles and responsibilities in the society. I realized that I could have helped my friends. Our families suffered because of the accident. They had to spend much time at the hospital. In addition, they had to pay hospital bills that they had not anticipated. Individuals can influence groups in positive and negative ways. My friends and I influenced each other in negative ways. We knew that we were not supposed to be drinking. Aside from the fact that we had not attained the legal drinking age, we were also driving and this increased our risks. However, since we all wanted to appear cool, no one wanted to do the right thing. People influence society when they create social change. This can happen when they offer new insights or when they talk with others. Individuals can also influence their society and groups when they hold dialogs with other people concerning different issues (Lamanna and Riedmann 17).



Works Cited:

Lamanna, A. Mary and Agnes Riedmann. Marriages, Families, and Relationships: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print

Stenstrom, L. Marja and Paivi Tynjala. Towards Integration of Work and Learning: Strategies for Connectivity and Transformation. New York, NY: Springer, 2008. Print

Taylor, W. Edward and Patricia Cranton. The Handbook of Transformative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print

Yoshida, F. Beth, Kathy D. Geller, and Steven A. Schapiro. Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture, & the Arts. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2009. Print

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