I would like to share with you some of the writers whose work has underpinned the process and content of my writing to this point, and who continue to inspire and extend me.

Alex Nelson: His paper Researching adult transformation as autobiography (link to abstract included) was an inspirational starting point for me, in identifying the beginnings of a way forward with story. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0260137940130505#preview Accessed 20/8/11

E. Michael Brady: When my supervisor located Brady’s paper and passed it on to me, I could hardly contain my joy in finding evidence of rich storytelling in academic writing. I am currently trying to locate public access to his exquisite paper Redeemed from time: learning as autobiography, but another of his earlier works Spirit of Teaching is well worth a read, and is available at http://emichaelbrady.weebly.com/index.html  Accessed 20/8/11

Jack Mezirow: Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory, and the identification of the disorienting dilemmas that turn our lives upside down, and that prompt us to critically reflect on everything we have come to know, is the framework on which so much of my work hangs. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/tc/parker/adlearnville/transformativelearning/mezirow.htm  Accessed 20/8/11

Patricia Cranton’s work with Transformative Learning Theory has given me rich new frameworks around reflection, and new perspectives on authentic, dialogic, teaching and learning. http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/adult-education/faculty/patricia-a-cranton Accessed 20/8/11

Stephen Brookfield’s Critical Theory took Transformative Learning and politicised the critical reflective process for me. Through critiquing and contesting all we have come to know about ourselves, and our place in the scheme of things, we can gain an entirely new world-view, situating ourselves more authentically and enabling ourselves to more appropriately take action.
http://www.resources.scalingtheheights.com/stephen_brookfield.htm Accessed 10/4/12

http://stephenbrookfield.com/Dr._Stephen_D._Brookfield/Home.html Accessed 10/4/12

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:sCnkeyHCytoJ:sydney.edu.au/arts/teaching_learning/academic_support/Brookfield_summary.pdf+stephen+brookfield&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgtFxffOGHTEuUZjg425RdQzk_b2OxbS0Qb5hkVFu0H8vtO-GnfRgiHuHt9UJesQTXI5DaKZ99Hr-8PqGAXTugQ7zBNBYQaA17ZDX-l4KHKOdvCdMwbf76-aqL0quBK7sRJbuGm&sig=AHIEtbR8mzrvuNpny4DId_k1BNFChTYV1g Accessed 10/4/12

Further linking the unfolding story for me was the seminal work of Paolo Friere Pedagogy of the oppressed. His identification of the banking education model, his passionate promotion of social justice and our duty of care in developing independent, critical consciousness in our learners resonated deeply with me. Through the development of this critical consciousness, we come to the place of contesting previously taken for granted ‘truths’, and finding personally authentic meaning amongst the inauthenticities of the ruling frameworks that we have held to be irrefutable. Brookfield, Friere and Shor shone a light for me on new realities, through the development of critical consciousness and the process of contesting what was previously assumed and uncontested. http://www.freireproject.org/ Accessed 20/8/11

Viktor Frankl: I read Man’s search for meaning as a young girl, not realising then the influence it would bring to bear in my life. A psychotherapist and holocaust survivor, Frankl’s identification of the importance of finding meaning in suffering is a concept foundational to my work. http://logotherapy.univie.ac.at/e/lifeandwork.html Accessed 20/8/11

Carl Rogers: I am a hippy chick from way back (just born a decade or so too late) and fell in love with Carl Rogers’ Humanistic psychology. Originally an agronomist (agriculturalist), Rogers transferred to education the idea of teachers as gardeners, undertaking the groundwork in which the individual is then able to cultivate their own personal growth. His authentic, person-centred and accepting approach to supporting the learner along their transformative journey promotes a critically reflective, self-determined cultivation of and by the individual. His philosophy underpins my work. http://www.nrogers.com/carlrogersbio.html Accessed 20/8/11

Cultivating growth

Cultivating growth

These same analogies relating to the idea of gardening and cultivation were found in M. Scott Peck’s conceptualisation of education:

“Education is derived from the Latin ‘educare’, literally translated as ‘to bring out of’ or ‘to lead forth.’ Therefore when we educate people, if we use the word seriously, we do not stuff something new into their minds; rather we lead this something out of them; we bring it forth from the unconscious into their awareness. They were the possessors of the knowledge all along.

This concept of ‘bringing forth what was within’ links exquisitely to the Socratic notion of the educator as midwife – that in supporting the ‘birth’ of this ‘something’ that lies within each of us, we can create the ideal conditions where critical consciousness can be cultivated, and where we  have the opportunity to more effectively construct – to give birth to – a more authentic sense of self-identity and personal capacity. http://www.socraticmethod.net/

A few more parts to the story

So this forms the foundation on which my inspiration has been constructed, and on which the next part of the story will begin to emerge. Below are a few more writers whose creative expressions contributed to how the jigsaw of the power of story came together for me.


  • Berger, J. G. (2004). Dancing on the Threshold of Meaning: Recognizing and Understanding the Growing Edge Journal of Transformative Education 2(4), 336
  • Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. from http://images.lib.monash.edu.au/crt6000/04119070.pdf Online Resource (restricted access): Structures and the habitus [chapter 6] p72-95 [1.09 Mb]
  • Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory for adult learning and teaching. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Cranton, P. (1994). Understanding and promoting transformative learning: a guide for educators of adults (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Dominice, P. (2000). Learning from our lives: Using educational biographies with adults. San Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass.
  • Dirkx, J. M. (2001). The Power of Feelings: Emotion, Imagination, and the Construction of Meaning in Adult Learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(89), 63-72.
  • Freire, P. (1972b). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin.
  • Freire, P. (1974b). Education, the practice of freedom. London: Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative.
  • Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind : the theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
  • Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2002b). Primal leadership : learning to lead with emotional intelligence. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Jacobs, D. T. (2008). The authentic dissertation : alternative ways of knowing, research, and representation. London ; New York: Routledge.
  • Keller, H. (1967). Helen Keller, her Socialist years : writings and speeches / edited, with an introduction by Philip S. Foner. New York: International Publishers.
  • Kenyon, G. M., & Randall, W. L. (1997). Restorying Our Lives: Personal Growth through Autobiographical Reflection. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
  • Marmot, M. G., & Wilkinson, R. G. (1999). Social determinants of health. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation : critical perspectives on a theory in progress (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Miles, J.K. Restor(y)ing lives: Autobiographical reflection and perspective transformation in adults returning to study. Thesis available at http://monash.academia.edu/JenniferKMiles
  • Nelson, A. (1994). Researching adult transformation as autobiography. from http://images.lib.monash.edu.au/edf6810/04139712.pdf Online Resource (restricted access): p389-403 [1.11 Mb]
  • Olney, J. (1980). Some versions of memory/some versions of bios: The ontology of autobiography. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
  • Peck, S. M. (1978). The road less travelled. New York: Touchstone.
  • Rath, T. (2007). Strengths finder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press.
  • Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Roman, S. (1986). Living with joy – Keys to personal power and spiritual transformation. Tiburon, California: H.J Kramer.
  • Shor, I. (1992b). Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Shor, I., & Freire, P. (1986). A pedagogy for liberation: Bergin & Garvey Paperback.
  • Steinem, G. (1993). Revolution from within: a book of self-esteem (1st pbk. ed.). Boston, [Mass.]: Little, Brown.

4 responses »

    • Hi Jennifer! This site allows me to share the inspirations and contemplations of my own life. It’s great to have the space to do that, and to know that it speaks to others. Thankyou for tuning in, and blessings for your own journey. By the way, your own contemplations are rather inspiring! 🙂


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