Transformative learning in L1-education

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This conceptual paper argues for transformative learning and a transformative approach to L1-eduaction in secondary schools. Times of crisis may open up for new ways of thinking and even transforming practices. COVID-19 caused a global crisis which forced us to rethink teaching and learning methods. In this paper, I want to look further and wider than how we may use technology to solve an acute problem related to physical distance. I want to ask questions related to the more wide-reaching problems we are facing, for example related to a sustainable future and suitable futures of education (UNESCO) broadly and specifically related to L1-education in schools.
The paper elaborates the concept of transformative learning as a possible answer to the following question:
Why should and how can L1-eduaction in secondary schools aim at pupils personally significant learning enabling them to use communicative and thinking skills in real life and thereby contribute actively to a sustainable future?
The concept of transformative learning will be built around existing theory (Kolb, 1984) (Mezirow, 1990) (Alkemeyer & Buschmann, 2017) on the one hand and data collected in my own research (Brahe-Orlandi, 2019) on the other. Transformative learning in L1-classes means engaging pupils in communication and thinking related to authentic situations in which they may have to solve real problems for themselves or/ and for others. This includes an emphasis on emotions, emancipation and activism in learning. By transforming knowledge about language, texts and communication into personally meaningful actions related to the world beyond school (New London Group, 1996) (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009), we may be able to contribute to new identities (Gee, 2014) among pupils and teachers. These identities may open up for new ways of thinking about and practicing L1-education in schools, in direction of a scenario-based approach (Hanghøj et al., 2017). Nevertheless, Changes, and especially changes in institutionalized practices, such as L1-education, are difficult to push-through (Schatzki, 2013). Therefore, I will argue for a transformative approach to teaching and learning balancing between the present possible and possible futures of L1-education.
Alkemeyer, T., & Buschmann, N. (2017). Learning in and across practices: enablement as subjectivation . In A. Hui, T. Schatzki, & E. S. (ED.), The Nexus of Practices: Connections, Constellations, Practitioners (pp. 8-23). Oxon & New York : Routledge.
Brahe-Orlandi, R. (2019). Entreprenørskabsundervisning i dansk - En videoetnografisk undersøgelse af udskolingselevers læringspraksis og –udbytte i mål- og værdiskabelsesorienteret entreprenørskabsundervisning. Ph.d.-afhandling, Aarhus : Aarhus Universitet.
Cope, W., & Kalantzis, M. (2009, July 1). “Multiliteracies”: New Literacies, New Learning. Pedagogies: An International Journal, pp. 164-195.
Dewey, J. (2005). Demokrati og Uddannelse . Aarhus : Klim .
Gee, J. P. (2014). An Introduction to Discourse Analysis - Theory and Method . Routledge .
Hanghøj, T., Misfeldt, M., Bundsgaard, J., Fougt, S. S., & Hetmar, V. (2017). Hvad er Scenariedidaktik? Aarhus : Aarhus Universitetsforlag.
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning . Englewood Cliffs : Prentice Hall.
Mezirow, J. (. (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: A guide to transformative and emancipatory learning. San Francisco: CA: Jossey-Bass.
Schatzki, T. (2013). The Edge of Change - on the emergence, persistence, and dissolution of practices . In E. Shove, & N. Spurling, Sustainable Practices - Social theory and climate change (pp. 31-47). New York : Routledge .
The New London Group (1996). A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures. Harvard Educational Review.

Translated title of the contributionTransformativ læring i modersmålsundervisningen i udskolingen
Original languageEnglish
Publication date17 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022
EventARLE: 13th ARLE-conference, Nikosia, Cypres - University of Cypres, Nikosia, Cyprus
Duration: 15 Jun 202217 Jun 2022


ConferenceARLE: 13th ARLE-conference, Nikosia, Cypres
LocationUniversity of Cypres
Internet address


  • learning, educational science and teaching
  • Bildung
  • entrepreneurship education
  • language teaching and learning
  • sustainability education

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