Dilemmas as Openings

One of my educational theorists is Jack Mezirow, and he writes about how transformative learning happens after learners have experienced disorienting dilemmas. The first experience of the transformational process, a disorienting dilemma is a moment or series of moments that open a person to change.

For dramatic reasons or simple troubling reasons, things don’t fit. Answers that used to work were called into question by one comment or by an accident or by something being different.

In Mezirow’s educational theory, a dilemma is an opening to learning. It is an opening to freedom as I’m developing my practice of education. Perhaps you can see the dilemma ahead of you as an opening.

Perhaps the closed door is an invitation to see the door differently, to see the other side of the door differently, or to see yourself as you stand differently. Dilemmas can be disorienting, but that disorientation can catalyze parts of you that were asleep, dreams that were forgotten, and futures which were awaiting inspiration.

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