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Title: The group as a learning entity : a narrative inquiry into conducting an experiential learning group drawing on transformative learning theory and psychoanalysis
Author: Ryan, Mary B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 7899
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation is concerned with understanding how adults learn - and resist learning from lived experience in dialogue with others. In particular it attempts to understand the phenomenon of resistance to transformative learning, which manifests itself in group contexts where the group itself is the focus-and locus-of the learning project. In seeking to understand this form of conscious and unconscious resistance to learning, the dissertation draws on the literature and insights of psychoanalysis in addition to that of transformative learning theory. It argues that only in this theoretical complementarity can an adequate explanation for personal and political transformation be found. The fieldwork for the dissertation is conducted in the real life setting of a module in Experiential Approaches to Group Dynamics conducted in a university over the course of an academic year. The dissertation adopts a narrative inquiry approach, arguing that this approach is best suited to the organic process of group formation and development. Narrative inquiry emerges as central to the module and influences the direction and process of the learning. It provides the group members with a means to reflect upon and explore deeply their experience of participating in the module and draws attention to the conscious and unconscious dynamics which can enable and/or frustrate learning. The fieldwork exposes and explores the challenges in adopting a non-directive and non authoritarian model of pedagogical leadership. It shows, however, that such an approach is essential in developing the group as a learning entity, committed to reflexive dialogue and democracy.The dissertation shows how a transformative learning process can be experienced as messy, disruptive and unknowable in its eventual destination and can also provoke a deep sense of unease at a personal level among learners and educators. The dissertation concludes that real learning must be attained rather than transmitted and that the group as a learning entity can provide the containing and holding for members to process internal and external emotional impacts of transformative learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available