The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Community-Based Experiential Learning: An Emerging Framework for Transformative Learning in Social Work Education

Liza Lorenzetti, Diane Lorenzetti, Jeffery Halvorsen, Meena Durrani, Rita Dhungel


There is growing recognition of the need to implement critical and emancipatory teaching models in social work as a means of fostering liberatory thinking and actions to address an expanding global climate of economic and social inequalities. A critical pedagogy (CP) project that incorporated transformative learning was initiated in a graduate social work program. The program was designed to create opportunities for students to participate in transformative experiential learning encounters with community-based social justice mentors or Journey Guides. A qualitative research approach was used to evaluate the experiences of students and Journey Guides with data collected from focus groups. An Emerging Framework for Transformative Learning (EFTL) was developed from the insights of students, Journey Guides, and faculty who participated in the program. The EFTL offers an approach to fostering critical consciousness and social justice action while resisting colonial and neoliberal demands for skills-based managerial social work education.


critical pedagogy; experiential learning; neoliberalism; social work education; transformative learning

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