Transformative learning is at the heart of a sustainable future

We are facing the pressing need to transition towards a more sustainable and climate-friendly society. Through partnerships with grassroots initiatives and social movements, the Tale project explores how transformative learning can be a catalyst for the green transition.

The Tale Erasmus+ project is a collaborative effort bringing together adult education organisations, learners, communities, social movements, and green activists. One of the goals of the Tale project is to equip adult learning and education organisations with fresh approaches to engage with learners and their communities. By fostering cooperation between adult education institutions and grassroots initiatives, the project aims to upscale transformative learning methods and contribute to capacity building in both sectors.

This article delves into a workshop on transformative learning held in Vienna in June 2023. The workshop equipped partners with tools and methods that will be used in the subsequent phases of the project.

There is fruitful potential in diversity and meeting at the edges

The workshop was facilitated by Laura Kaestele, a network weaver, designer, and advocate for ecological regeneration and community development. Laura works for ECOLISE, which is one of the project partners and the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability.

Kaestele emphasized the importance and potential benefits of collaborative efforts of this kind:”If adult education organisations and grassroots initiatives come together they can become allies that are stronger together. The collaboration may lead to benefits like increased openness and awareness on sustainability issues, emotional and practical learning… or widened outreach and closer links with the local communities.”

woman standing next to a clipboard

Kaestele also stated that there is fruitful potential in diversity and meeting at edges.
”If both partners are openly engaged and trust the process they can be inspired, touched, challenged, and transformed through the collaboration and offer a transformative space also for learners.”

Collaboration between ALE organisations and grassroots initiatives is not common

Kaestele has heard very few stories about collaborations between ALE organisations and green grassroots initiatives so far even though she acknowledges that there is an appreciation for each other’s work. She reflects that the reason may be the difference in orientation, structures, and methods. 

“I am curious how the Tale project will enable us to break through these kinds of barriers and co-create future success stories of such collaboration.”

Kaestele also reflected on the workshop methods and how they will help the participants in the innovation groups the partners will form with the green initiatives:

“I think our workshop inspired the participants to focus on creating a space that is conducive to open interactions, active participation, critical reflection and a whole-hearted feeling. The co-design framework, 8 shields model and facilitation methods can be applied to meetings or they can guide the design of learning activities.”

The Tale Erasmus+ project responds to the urgent need to transform into a more climate-friendly and sustainable society. Tale project explores solutions to this challenge by using transformative learning approaches. The project is coordinated by the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation (Kvs).


Text: Ricarda Motschilnig, Sari PohjolaPhotos: Sari Pohjola

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