Transformative Pedagogy


Transformative Education


Participating to effect social and ecological justice

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … scope of interpretations and actions
  • Knowing is … critical consciousness
  • Learner is … a change agent (individual or collective)
  • Learning is … interrogating (the conditions of one’s existence) and participating (in efforts to enact meaningful change)
  • Teaching is … learning alongside (i.e., interrogating and co-participating)




Transformative Pedagogy encompasses multiple educational emphases, with three particularly prominent clusters. One is, essentially, Critical Pedagogy – aligned with Socio-Cultural Theory and focused on collective action aimed at social justice. Another component is Transformative Learning, which is informed by Non-Trivial Constructivisms and more focused on affecting self perception, personal beliefs, and one's habits of acting. (Note that Transformative Pedagogy is distinct from, but sometimes conflated with Transformative Learning.) A third has a broader horizon. Informed by Eco-Complexity Discourses, it is also concerned with justice, but extends that concern to include matters of environmental sustainability and ecological health.


Because source discourses are diverse and their aims are varied, different clusters of Transformative Pedagogy are subject to different commentaries – most of which can be extrapolated from the delimitations, limitations, and critiques of the theories of learning that are invoked within a cluster.

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

Diffuse, owing in large part to the wide range of theoretical influences.

Status as a Theory of Learning

Transformative Pedagogy is not a theory of learning, as it does not address the complex dynamics of learning.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

Transformative Pedagogy is a theory of teaching that is oriented toward recognizing and taking constructive action in situations that call for social and/or ecological justice.

Status as a Scientific Theory

Transformative Pedagogy does not meet our requirements of a scientific theory. However, it is informed by well-known and empirically grounded theories Embodiment Discourses, Embeddedness Discourses, and Eco-Complexity Discourses.

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Transformative Pedagogy” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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