Transformative Learning, Affect, and Reciprocal Care in Community Engagement

Ashley J. Holmes


Drawing on interviews with writing teachers, this article highlights some of the affective responses that may arise for students, community partners, and teachers when we situate our pedagogies in public sites beyond the classroom. I analyze a teacher-narrated moment of student distress to demonstrate how theories of transformative learning might help us productively theorize affect in service-learning and community-based education. To conclude, I offer a reciprocal model of care that employs tenets of feminist pedagogy, such as transparency and decentering of authority, and that acknowledges the valid emotions students, teachers, and community members may experience. I call for community literacy practitioners to see the power of all participants to both give and receive care in transformative education.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.