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TL:CCA Transformative Learning: Centre for Community Activism

About the Transformative Learning Centre


About the former Transformative Learning Centre (1993-2016):

The Transformative Learning Centre is based at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Our main goals are:

  • To provide an interdepartmental structure for community-university partnerships in research and field development.
  • To provide a forum for the discussion of interdisciplinary issues related to learning in community and global transformation
  • To provide a means for faculty and students to participate in specific networks requiring membership from a community-university base rather than formal academic structures.
  • To support interdepartmental instruction in Transformative Learning Studies and related areas.

The TLC Approach to Transformative Learning: Grounded Hope

Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and permanently alters our way of being in the world.

This shift includes our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations and our relationships with other humans and with the natural world. It also involves our understanding of power relations in interlocking structures of class, race and gender, our body awareness, our visions of alternative approaches to living, and our sense of possibilities for social justice, peace and personal joy.

In sum, transformative learning makes us understand the world in a different way, changing the way we experience it and the way we act in our day-to-day lives. Transformative learning has an individual and a collective dimension, and includes both individual and social transformation.

In the Transformative Learning Centre we are inspired by the notion of grounded hope. We believe that one of the best ways to predict the future is to actively create it, moving together towards our collective visions by developing viable alternatives that recognize the limitations and possibilities (especially the possibilities! of each particular context.

Organizational Structure

The TLC encourages open and supportive collaboration with all OISE/UT departments and centres. Currently, the TLC has five main programs of research, teaching and action:

  • Peace and Human Rights Education
  • Environmental Education
  • Popular Education and Community Development
  • Spirituality and Education
  • Citizenship Learning and Participatory Democracy


The Transformative Learning Centre (TLC) was created in September of 1994 when several OISE professors, students and community partners decided to come together and combine resources and energies to create a stronger sense of community and collaboration in areas such as environmental, feminist, anti-racist, aboriginal, adult and popular education. The Centre was unique because from its inception there was a powerful interest in planetary consciousness influenced by the work of Thomas Berry. Our interest in peace education was inspired by Dr.Madan Handa, Johann Galtung and Anne Goodman, In the area Democracy and Education, Daniel Schugurensky’s work was profoundly influenced by the work of  Paulo Freire.  The Four Spirit Matters Gatherings inspired by Edmund O’Sullivan and Eimear O’Neill marked the beginning of honouring spirituality as core to transformative learning. We have partnered with organizations globally. We have worked with such institutions as the Peace University in Costa Rica,  partnered with the Institute de Paulo Freire at two World Social Forums in Brazil,  partnered with Ibterchange Peace Building, we are part of the Earth Charter Initiative Worldwide, affiliated with Schumacher College in England , worked with Maynouth University in Ireland and with Mpambo the Multiversity in Uganda.




















































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