Document Type

Book Chapter


The link between Confucian humanism, Mezirow' theory of reflectivity, and the convergence of a worldwide concept of andragogy (the art and science of helping adults learn) articulated by Savicevle, Knowles, Mezirow's theory has increasingly developed to integrate inner reflection expressed through transformed perspectives and decision and action, and andragogy has focused on facilitation of collaborative interaction and self-direction in learning involving the whole person. To appreciate the basis of these three schools of theory, this chapter presents a discussion of these originating theorists. As an introductory thought, the following quotations illustrate how Confucius' thought has long been valued and aspired to in the pursuit of reflection and wisdom. Rather than the routine or inattentive action that to dominate our lives in the 21st century, this widespread 2000 year-old Eastern philosophy and tradition has been synonymous with questioning the meanings and assumptions of one's surroundings and values. In addition to advancing our understanding of transformative learning, andragogy, and an integrated model of reflective thought, the authors hope this chapter will stir further international research in reflective learning and the intersections of Eastern philosophies with Western traditions and philosophies, as well as those that bridge both traditions. Worldwide, there are many rich traditions; if our understanding of teaching and learning can build upon our understanding of one another, we can open new doors for appreciation, insight, interaction, and inquiry. Study without thought is labor lost; thought without study is perilous. By nature men are nearly alike, but through experience they grow wide apart. Those who are born wise through learning come next; those who are dull-witted and yet strive to learn come after that. Those who are dull-witted and yet make no effort to learn are the lowest type of men (as cited in Chai & Chai, 1965, pp. 44-45). Confucius or Kong Fuzi (551-479 BC).

Publication Date

January 2013

Publication Title

Handbook of Research on Teaching and Learning in K-20 Education