Reader Mail Re: Transformative Education

Ashley Thorne

A reader from Australia commented on Tom Wood's article "The Marriage of Affirmative Action and Transformative Education":

This year, I was in a compulsory BA class that used transformative education. Without warning us, the teachers tried to transform us into adopting their political worldview, using all the passion they could muster. Since then I have been searching the web for critiques of transformative education, and found one of your articles, and I will read more. I have written many arguments against transformative education, but I am keen to find arguments from education professionals, lawyers, etc. I thank you for speaking out. I am astounded that a university would force all BA students to be transformed "to create a better world". I thought I was purchasing knowledge and skills, but instead they considered me to be mere fodder for political transformation. University should be about teaching critical thinking, but instead I've had to teach my teachers critical thinking! Their main problem is unquestioned assumptions. They assume students have been brainwashed by society, that education is about the whole person, that teachers have the answers to the meaning of life, that globalisation is all bad, that the West (particularly USA) is colonising the world, that everything is basically political, etc. On the good side, they are idealistic and enthusiastic. But idealism and enthusiasm based on unquestioned assumptions leads to spreading delusion, not to improving the world. It seems to me that transformative education teachers do not trust that freely chosen unbiased knowledge can produce good results. So they force students to study the teachers’ worldviews.
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