Increased Awareness: It doesn't take much time to increase awareness. For example, you've taken a course on gender differences, and you gain an increased awareness that there may be gender differences that are valid and scientifically based.
New Points of View: It takes a little more effort and time to develop a new point of view. For example, you've taken a course on gender differences, and your awareness is heightened. Now, when you talk with other people from the course, you discover that they, too, agree that gender differences are valid and scientifically based. You're starting to change or transform your poin of view. But you still don't change your actions based on this new information. What's changed is your openness to hearing and considering more information about gender differences.
Transformations of Point of View: It takes much more time to transform a point of view. For example, you've taken a course on gender differences, your awareness is heightened, and you're open to hearing and considering more information about gender differences. At home, you start to apply some of the techniques that you've learned. Surprise! Your actions are producing outstanding results with your spouse. This stuff works with your spouse. However, you've transformed only a point of view, not a habit of mind. This means that you think differently about how you approach your spouse, but you don't change your approach to others of the opposite gender.
Transformations of Habits of Mind: Transforming a habit of mind is profound change. This kind of transformation requires that you call into question your assumptions and beliefs. Profound change happens when you generalize your learning across an entire group. For example, you've taken a course on gender differences, your awareness is heightened, you're open to hearing and considering more information about gender differences, and you've applied your learning with your spouse and witnessed outstanding results. To transform your habit of mind, you need to change your beliefs about gender, not just about your spouse. When you do that, you have experienced a profound change, or a transformation of habit of mind. You can never again think about gender and act towards people of the opposite gender in the same way that you did before.
According to Jack Mezirow, there are four levels of transformation. Jack Mezirow is a Professor Emeritus of Adult and Continuing Education, Columbia University, New York. Marilyn Herasymowych and Henry Senko attended his presentation at the 1999 International Thinking Conference, held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.