This qualitative study examines evidence of transformative learning surrounding sociocultural issues in the K-12 classroom of in-service teachers, while participating in an online English as a Second Language (ESL) professional development program. Using inductive data analysis, precursors and catalysts to transformative learning were identified to understand the ways in which 24 purposefully sampled participants experienced learning. Areas explored included ways in which the candidates participated in critical reflection of their own perspectives, ways in which this process affected their meaning making of their experiences, potential for action in changing their practice as ESL educators, and transformative learning features present throughout their learning experiences. Findings reveal evidence of perspective shifts in this context that complement the professional dispositions identified as important for K-12 teachers: the importance of carefully choosing resource materials in professional development, and the necessity to encourage critical reflection in course activities.


Transformative Learning, Online Learning, Teacher Preparation, Sociocultural Issues, ESL

Author Bio(s)

Karin Sprow Forté, Ed.D, is Project Director and Lecturer for the ESL Certificate Program in Teacher Education at Penn State Harrisburg. Her research areas of interest include sociocultural issues in learning and second language acquisition. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: kms588@psu.edu.

David Blouin, M.Ed., is adjunct instructor for the ESL Certificate Program at Penn State Harrisburg.


This research was partially funded by a $1.54 million grant from the US Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition, National Professional Development program.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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