Title

From campesinos to campuses : transforming education into action

Publication Date

1-1-2001

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Barbara Huff

Abstract

What is the connection between education and action? How does one "walk their talk" when it comes to learning about and acting upon issues of social justice? This paper analyzed some of the key issues of education for liberation, transformative and experiential education and looked at some of the motivators that spur people to action. It examined not only what people know, but also what they do with that knowledge once it has become a part of their consciousness. The paper examined the question: When students have an experiential and transformative educational experience abroad, are they able to translate what they have learned into concrete social action upon their return home? If so, how and why? In not, why not? The study was based on one specific organization, The Center for Global Education (CGE), and targeted students who participated in CGE's semester abroad programs. The data was gathered through a qualitative questionnaire, which was designed to help participants reflect on their knowledge, skills and attitude towards issues of social justice before and after their experience abroad. The questionnaire also explored the process of transformation that the individuals underwent and asked them to identify major areas of growth related to their experience. The results showed that when an experience was transformative-i.e. when there was a revision or a shift in outlook-then some kind of related action resulted. The extent to which transformation occurred for the participants varied, as did the chosen courses of action, but to some extent or another all of the participants were able to translate what they had learned abroad into concrete social action upon return to their host culture. This research can be used in promotion and design of study abroad programs whose focus is geared more toward transformative and experiential education. It can be used to justify existing programs to academic institutions, parents and students who may have questions about the impact of such programs. Finally, it can be used as an example to encourage people to "walk their talk" when educating around issues of social justice.

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