Theory Review

Assignment 2: Theory Review Drop Box

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Length: The theory review should be approximately 3000 words long (10-15 word-processed or typed, double-spaced pages, excluding the concepts/terms and definitions).


The theory review requires you to explain, in your own words, what Mezirow’s book means to you. Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning is not an easy read. Good, concrete examples are few; however, Mezirow’s book is not impossibly abstract. You will need to create your own examples based on Mezirow’s work for the course to “come alive.” Keep in mind that these concepts are about you; they are not some vague abstraction. Mezirow is dealing with fundamental dimensions of human experience. He names these dimensions (and associated concepts) and relates them to both his own research and that of others. Many successful learners have found it helpful to keep notes in parallel structure to Mezirow and to illustrate the concepts with their own examples. In this 400-level course , we have chosen to work with Mezirow’s original work rather than secondary sources based on his theory. Expect periods of tough going—this challenge should bring out your best academic self.Theory Review


Your book review is expected to accomplish the following tasks:

  1. Identify the major assumptions of Mezirow’s theory. These are the assumptions upon which the theory is based and were Mezirow’s basic assumptions prior to writing the book. To find these, begin by reading the Preface of the book
  2. Identify three or four key individuals who have influenced Mezirow’s theory. Briefly state their contribution(s).
  3. Identify the major dimensions and concepts of Mezirow’s theory. Specifically, create a glossary of 10 to 15 of the most significant concepts, terms, and definitions, explaining them in your own words. Your tutor has read the text and already knows these terms, so you are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of these terms by explaining themin your own words. Choose the concepts and themes that hold the most meaning for you. You may work your concepts/terms and definitions into the body of your discussion, but be sure to identify the concepts/terms by presenting them in boldface or by underlining them. Note, however, that the expected word count is independent of the concepts/terms and definitions.
  4. Outline the substance of Mezirow’s transformation theory in your own words.
  5. Analyze the movie, The Most Dangerous Man in Americaby identifying features of this movie that most closely relate to transformation theory. Specifically, (a) Construct a preliminary list of Daniel’s belief profile before he changes. (b) Complete a second list of beliefs that Daniel holds after he releases the Pentagon Papers. (c) Provide evidence from the movie for the beliefs that you identify in both lists. (d) Describe how transformation theory would explain the changes that happened to Daniel during the movie. Did he follow Mezirow’s 10 steps? (e) Identify a disorienting dilemma in the movie, and explain why you chose it.
  6. For simplicity’s sake, choose only one or two themes from Daniel’s life for your belief profiles. Illustrate any discrepancies between transformation theory and what happened to Daniel. Keep your analysis to three to five typed, double-spaced pages.
  7. Nearly every theory has its limitations. Identify any limitations you have noticed in the conception of transformation theory. Note that we have already discussed Mezirow’s academic style of writingand that he could have used more concrete examples; this is more a limitation in presentation than in conception. Focus on conception.
  8. Indicate the relevance, if any, of this theory to your own learning and life situation. What have you learned about yourself and your experiences?

The theory review assignment will prepare you for the application part of the course, which is the case study. Difficulties in understanding Mezirow’s theory at this review stage may be magnified in the case study. Therefore, the theory review permits you to clarify your understanding of the readings. Keep in mind that part of this exercise is communicative learning, which implies that there are no absolute rights or wrongs in interpreting Mezirow’s theory. Be sure to indicate any limitations you noticed in his theory. In your view, do Mezirow’s assumptions hold up?

The marking scheme shown below may be helpful to you as you organize your writing.


Introduction /5
Elements of theory
Assumptions /15
Three/four key individuals /15
Substance of theory /20
Relation to movie /15
Implications to learning/self /5
Limitations /10
Concepts/terms/defns. /5
Discretionary marks /10
Overall grade /100


Theory Review

Readingstext book.

Mezirow, J (1991). (Mezirow, 1991)





Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.



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