Transformative Learning and Ideological Shifts: Implications for Pedagogy for the Privileged

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The pace of segregation of races continues to increase as the gap between wealthy people, and the rest of the human race, increases. Technological advances in human communication ironically decrease

The pace of segregation of races continues to increase as the gap between wealthy people, and the rest of the human race, increases. Technological advances in human communication ironically decrease human communication as people choose news and social media sites that feed their ideological frames. Bridging the sociopolitical gap is increasingly difficult. Further, privileged hegemonic forces exert pressure to maintain the status quo at the expense of greater humanity. Despite this grave account, some members of the privileged hegemony have moved away from their previous adherence to it and emerged as activists for marginalized populations.

Drawing on the theoretical frameworks of Pedagogy for the Privileged, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Transformative Learning Theory and Critical White Studies, this study asks the question: what factors lead to an ideological shift?

Fifteen participants agreed to an in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interview. There were four main themes that emerged. Most participants experienced significant childhood challenges as well as segregated environments. Additionally, they possessed personality traits of curiosity and critical thinking which left them at odds with their family members; and finally, each experienced exposure to new environments and new people. Most notably, in an attempt to satisfy their curiosity and to remedy the disconnect between the imposed family values and their own internal inclinations, most actively sought out disorienting dilemmas that would facilitate an ideological shift. This journey typically included copious reading, critically analyzing information and, mostly importantly, immersion in new environments.

The goal of this study was to understand which factors precipitate an ideological shift in the hope of using the data to create effective interventions that bridge ideological gaps. It was revealed that some of the initiative for this shift is innate, and therefore unreachable. However, exposure to disorienting dilemmas successfully caused an ideological shift. Critically, this research revealed that it is important to identify those individuals who possess this innate characteristic of curiosity and dissatisfaction with the status quo and create opportunities for them to be exposed to new people, information and environments. This will likely lead to a shift from White hegemonic adherent to an emerging advocate for social justice.