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Perspective transformation: An ethnoculturally based community service learning with refugees and immigrants students

Shekhar K Regmi, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation aims to foster a discussion among adult education practitioners on the connections between transformative learning theory and ethnoculture-based community service learning. Based on the concept of perspective transformation described by Jack Mezirow (1991), the study explores how perspective transformation occurs in a ethnoculturally based community service-learning course whose focus is on helping students to understand themselves within the context of their ethnic and cultural identity. As a practitioner of adult education I am looking for ways that my research, teaching, and practice are connected. The dissertation employed qualitative research, in particular drawing on ten in-depth interviews, and participant observation, and reflection papers to examine a variety of perspectives in order to analyze the implications of transformative learning theory for practitioners working with refugee and immigrant students. My research data consistently speaks of a heightened sense of cultural identity and personal development, a greater mastery of leadership skills, an enhanced self-esteem, and more complex patterns of thought in the form of critical reflection. Most of the immigrants and refugee students expressed that CIRCLE expose to a large and diverse immigrants and refugee community had significant and positive effects on their identity development process. In summary, my study suggests that the ethnoculturally-based community service can and often does have a transformational impact on participants.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Higher education|Cultural anthropology|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Regmi, Shekhar K, "Perspective transformation: An ethnoculturally based community service learning with refugees and immigrants students" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3118326.