If I were given everything (authority and resources) to develop and implement a model of transformative pedagogy in higher education institutions, what would it be like?

The question urges me to imagine that I have no authority and resources now to develop and implement a model of transformative pedagogy. But I would assert that, as a Head of a Department, I have moderate authority and resources, and as a faculty for more than two decades, I have allowed the model to take shape through implementations in different times and places. To reiterate, my upbringing at a university has lent me enough impetus for transformative pedagogy. If my past writings on education have any merit, I am tempted to seek their alignment with some of Taylor’s (2015) postulations on transformative knowing.

Ever since I decided to make teaching a vocation, I have tried to practice a classroom curriculum that promotes a culture of inquiry. I love to continue it in my future classrooms as well.  I would encourage my students to ask all sorts of relevant questions within the class or outside so that they share with me good things in such a way that I get overwhelmed and feel “mortally challenged” to be as good in my way of thinking. I wish that they exploited my potential, never let me slacken, never allowed me to underestimate them. I imagine how it would feel to have been nagged by smart and intelligent youngsters who have “genuine wish to grow smarter and more intelligent every day” (Kafle, “My sensibility…”). The cumulative habit of asking meaningful questions would be the first step towards the dimension of cultural self-knowing (Taylor, 2015) in my pedagogical practices.

I also prioritize the culture of acknowledgement among the faculty colleagues. This is by encouraging them to utilize one another’s research outputs in the classroom. The warrant of this practice is simple: If I want my students to learn through teamwork, I should also be able to teach in/through team. This model would involve accommodating the works (creations, innovations, taxonomies) of my colleagues in my list of course or reference materials” (Kafle, 2019, “My sensibility…”). I firmly believe that the culture of acknowledgement will boost what Taylor (2015) says the pattern of “relational knowing.” As a consequence, both faculties and students would realize the development of “coalitional agency” which, according to Bajaj (2018), also leads to construction of collective identity through gradual connection to a shared history of activism and solidarity.

The pedagogy I identify with emphasizes the creation of legacy througha strong cadre of teachers” to emulate the practices our generation has established. This would be by attracting new generation to the field of teaching by promoting it as an ideal profession with prospects of both intellectual and material fulfillments (Kafle, 2019, “The moment of soul-searching …”). This sounds like a redundant dream since, theoretically, hardly anyone relegates teaching to a non-genuine profession. But as a faculty of a teacher education School, I consider creating cadres of new teachers from among the disinterested mass of young people to be one of my professional responsibilities. I convey the same vision to my students and my teacher trainees. I tell them two points categorically: (i) Do not tell youngsters that teaching is a bad profession; and (ii) Aim to develop at least one teacher in your lifetime, from within or outside your family. Would this not add the aspect of critical knowing (Taylor, 2015) about the teaching profession as a whole?

One important aspect of pedagogy, I believe, must be the teacher’s ability to make his lessons relevant for the learners. I would prefer to name this “linking lessons to life” (Kafle, 2019, “My sensibility…”). The root and process of such a link lie in the belief that a student is a thinking and feeling being with unfathomable constructive potential beyond mundane rules and formulas (Kafle, 2016). I would choose to equate this conviction with Taylor’s (2015) visionary knowing, and see it aligned to what Bajaj (2018) proposes as the foundation of strategic agency realized through the ability to reflect upon factors beyond the current moment.

Furthermore, I like to embody pedagogy with a metaphor suggesting collaboration in action. A secure education is like secure upward travel, like climbing up a mountain in a group with a lot of enriching chitchats and anecdotes. Or it is a spiral path of progress accommodating as many rewarding relations as possible. A transformative class is unlike climbing the mountain alone, with no one around to share the delight of approaching the summit. It is rather like taking as many people as can accompany you as you move upward so that the moment of reaching the summit with friends becomes sublime (Kafle, 2019, “My sensibility…”). In other words, the ability to give your companions (the students) a sense of achievement with you as an accompanying struggler makes you a transformative educator. The idea of collaboration involves extending the contact time with students; it is ensuring maximum presence and interaction with students. In such a situation students would ask countless good questions, consult teachers in such frequency that “there would be no qualm about learning not going fine” (Kafle, 2020, “A letter from YFU”).

To sum up, the model of transformative pedagogy I idealize has such dimensions as promoting a culture of inquiry, prioritizing the culture of acknowledgement, emphasizing the creation of legacy, linking lessons to life, and enhancing collaboration in action. My model has taken shape through implementation in different phases and locations. This paper has lent me an opportunity to revisit my praxis-based convictions and lend them tangible expression.  


Bajaj, M. (2018). Conceptualizing transformative agency in education for peace, human rights, and social justice. International Journal of Human Rights Education, 2 (1).

Kafle, H. R. (2016). Midlife montage. Society of Nepali Writers in English.

Kafle, H. R. (2019). My sensibility as a university teacher. Random Probings. https://hkafle.com.np/archives/1947.

Kafle, H. R. (2019). The moment of soul-searching: An acceptance speech. Random Probings. https://hkafle.com.np/archives/1920.

Kafle, H. R. (2020). A letter from YFU. Random Probings. https://hkafle.com.np/archives/1856.

Taylor, P. C. (2015). Transformative science education. In R. Gunstone (Ed.), Encyclopedia of science education (pp. 1079-1082). Springer.

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By hkafle

I am a University teacher, with passion for literature and music.

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