Toward a critical pedagogy of crisis


  • Saskia Eschenbacher Akkon University of Applied Human Sciences
  • Ted Fleming Teachers College Columbia University



Crisis, edifying conversation, experience, transformative learning, transformative experience


Crises in our society – climate, covid-19 and mass migration – seem to define not only the experience of learning but also the experience of living and even surviving that in turn have implications for adult learning. We explore the concept of experience and examine whether it plays a role in addressing the need for transformative learning. Our allies in this task are Oskar Negt from the Frankfurt School tradition, L. A. Paul from a philosophical tradition and René Arcilla. Negt is useful for rethinking the role of experience in pedagogy. Paul helps identify the not-knowing aspect of our current experience and our inability to imagine how decisions translate into one’s way of living and being in the world. Arcilla emphasises the importance of keeping conversations going. Jack Mezirow’s transformation theory (relying on Habermas) informs the understanding of adult learning and how we can transform our way of being and living while facing experiences of crises and disorientation.


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2021-09-07 — Updated on 2021-09-13

How to Cite

Eschenbacher, S., & Fleming, T. (2021). Toward a critical pedagogy of crisis. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 12(3), 295–309.