“We Went Through a Pandemic Together”: Strategies for Facilitating Transformative Learning Among Nontraditional Adult Learners During a Crisis



COVID-19 has presented both challenges and opportunities for transformative education. While the pandemic has deeply disrupted learning, particularly for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised students, it has forced educators to re-assess and re-invent their courses. This Teaching Note draws on my experience directing and teaching in the Clemente Veterans’ Initiative [CITY] —a free, college credit-bearing humanities course centered on themes of war and reconciliation for adult learners—during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Note offers strategies for educators interested in facilitating transformation in nontraditional academic settings, especially during times of crisis. When faced with a disorienting dilemma like a pandemic, educators might consider incorporating humanistic texts and art into their courses to promote reflection and perspective transformation; pursuing dialogic, synchronous instruction to build community; and focusing on students’ deep and sustained engagement with material rather than mastery.

Author Biography

Charity Anderson, Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies Rutgers University-Newark

Senior Research Associate