The Transformative Classroom : Philosophical Foundations and Practical Applications book cover
1st Edition

The Transformative Classroom
Philosophical Foundations and Practical Applications

ISBN 9781032005959
Published June 24, 2021 by Routledge
210 Pages

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Book Description

Transformative approaches to teaching and learning have become ubiquitous in education today. Researchers, practitioners and commentators alike often claim that a truly worthwhile education should transform learners in a profound and enduring way. But what exactly does it mean to be so transformed? What should teachers be transforming students into? Should they really attempt to transform students at all?

The Transformative Classroom engages with these questions left open by the vast discussion of transformative education, providing a synthetic overview and critique of some of the most influential approaches today. In doing so, the book offers a new theory of transformative education that focuses on awakening and facilitating students’ aspiration. Drawing on important insights from ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of education, the book provides both conceptual clarity and concrete practical guidance to teachers who hope to create a transformative classroom.

This book will be of great interest for academics, K-12 teachers, researchers and students in the fields of curriculum and instruction, teaching and learning, adult education, social justice education, educational theory and philosophy of education.

Table of Contents


Part I: The Paradigms of Transformation

Chapter 1: Transformation as Conversion

Chapter 2: Transformation as Emancipation

Chapter 3: Transformation as Reconstruction

Part II: The Theory of Aspiration

Chapter 4: The Psychology of Aspiration

Chapter 5: Psychological Barriers to Aspiration

Part III: The Aspirational Classroom

Chapter 6: Awakening Aspiration in the Classroom

Chapter 7: Creating an Aspirational Classroom Environment

Chapter 8: Conclusion

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Douglas W. Yacek is a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy of education at Dortmund University, Germany.


"Yacek’s purpose in The Transformative Classroom is to show that the concept of “aspiration” can provide a more philosophically robust, ethically sound, and practical guide for education that seeks to be transformative... As the conclusion of the book indicates, however, Yacek’s theory of aspiration has implications well beyond the circle of those explicitly concerned with transformative education. In fact, this book deserves to be read by all academics and practitioners interested in the dynamics of the teaching–learning experience. And while Yacek is primarily a philosopher of education, he moves seamlessly between philosophy, psychology, and reflections on practice, enhancing the appeal and accessibility of his interdisciplinary book."

Ilya Zrudlo, Teachers College Record (6th September 2021) ID Number: 23837

"In The Transformative Classroom, Douglas Yacek lays a striking new path forward for educators seeking to develop a classroom of transformation." 

Hannah Morgan, high school English teacher, South Chicago, USA

"Yacek offers us a comprehensive – and eminently useful – map to a transformative classroom that is no doubt ethically richer than what is currently on the market." 

Johan Dahlbeck, Associate Professor of Education at Malmö University, Sweden

Yacek inspires the reader to a vision of the transformative classroom by providing well-articulated glimpses, modeled epiphanies, of an approach that ignites the imagination. . . . I am confident Yacek’s book will inspire educators to take ethically justified risks in their pursuit to become truly transformative teachers.

William Merrifield, Director of Education at IDEAS (

"Douglas Yacek’s recent book The Transformative Classroom meets a critical need by consolidating and assessing various paradigms of transformation, offering readers a positive account of it, and providing suggestions for how this account can guide educational practice and shape a classroom community." 

John Fantuzzo, Interim Director of Eastern University’s Prison Education Program