The Learning Self: Understanding the Potential for Transformation

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2012, 1
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This book examines the kind of learning that brings about significant personal change. It is concerned with the various techniques, processes, and practices used to promote such learning, and their embedded assumptions about self and identity, how we are formed, and our capacity for change. As Foucault reminds us, "The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning" (quoted in Martin, 1988, p. 9). The techniques, processes, and practices, which entail a great deal of "se lf-work," have been referred to as "technologies of the se lf" (see Foucault, 1988b; Tennant, 1998). My interest in this subject is both academic and professional. My academic interest has been forged through my grounding in psychology, supplemented by my exposure to various critiques of psychology, especially the charge that it is a discipline and practice that functions to normalize people in a way that serves the interests of contemporary social and economic circumstances. My professional interest comes from a career in teaching in which I have formed the view that success as a teacher depends squarely on one's sense of self and professional identity.
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