Transformational Education Overview

Perhaps the most common view of The Lincoln Center’s Trans Ed is that it is an innovative educational methodology for alternative education students.

More specifically, Transformational Education is an innovative educational methodology for middle and high school students that turn classrooms into three dimensional, multi-sensory learning pods that generate interactive learning, motivate self-discipline, build self-esteem, develop character, and foster kaleidoscopic thinking and reasoning. It is student centered, wherein teachers and counselors act as facilitators in creating self-paced, experiential lessons that are designed to appeal to the multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles of each student. The teacher/counselor acts as the leader of the learning community the students participating in the process of planning and designing lessons.

At its core, however, TLC Transformational Education® is an educational process called acculturation that is consciously designed to foster change in an individual’s values, beliefs and life skills.

The basic principles supporting Transformational Education are:

  1. Culture is the most powerful educational force in molding our personal world view…our values, beliefs, and life assumptions
  2. Organizational cultures can be purposefully designed and implemented to support personal change and transformation
  3. TLC Transformational Education® is the TLC organization’s culture, specifically designed to empower individuals with the values, beliefs and life skills necessary for a successful life journey…one filled with caring, contribution and commitment.

Describing Trans Ed is like looking through a kaleidoscope. Trans Ed can be described in a variety of ways, but what make it extraordinarily powerful are all elements working together. Some ways in which Trans can be described are:

  1. A philosophy
  2. An organizational culture
  3. A way of thinking
  4. A way of seeing
  5. A set of beliefs
  6. A process for personal growth
  7. An educational methodology
  8. A counseling approach
  9. An operational system
  10. A physical environment

Trans Ed Philosophical Assumptions
An organization’s philosophy is its foundation, its worldview if you will. Its philosophy also articulates the organization’s beliefs, values and the principles upon which it stands. These, in turn, support the organization’s structures, operations, decision-making basis and process.

Assumptions Underlying TLC Trans Ed Philosophy:
The Journey Assumption: Life is a Bumper Car Journey where we grow and learn through our active and continuous engagement with the challenge of living successfully.

The Chaos Assumption: Life is chaotic. To be successful we must be flexible and learn a variety of strategies with which to navigate our course.

The Truth Assumption: We will often be faced with situations in which "doing the right thing" is neither simple nor easily determined. Often we must choose between shades of gray rather then black or white. We must learn to be discerning, sensitive to nuance and able to think in context in order to best choose.

The Change Assumption: Life is challenging and constantly changing. This is normal. We will often experience change through personal challenge or crisis. In this context, crisis is a positive force that assists us to grow and change.

The Wholism* Assumption: As we journey through life, we will find that everything is interconnected even though we live in a reductionistic era. We have gained great knowledge by breaking things down into ever smaller pieces as a means of understand how they operate. We must also see the "whole" if we are to move beyond information and achieve wisdom.

* More typically seen as Holism, TLC uses the early form of this word to capture the concept of whole or integrated form of things.

The Trans Ed Life Journey Metaphor The metaphor that we feel most accurately reflects reality is life journey. It is also the world view that is most consistent with a journey of personal growth. Trans Ed further describes our life’s journey as a Bumper Car Journey.

The Bumper Car metaphor illustrates a dynamic and rapidly changing environment where you are neither entirely in control nor out of control. In the Bumper Car metaphor, control is not the issue, personal growth is. The Bumper Car model illustrates the type of journey experience that allows us to maximize personal growth and development. Life is chaotic and we cannot predict when we are going to be bumped nor can we, in many cases, avoid it. This does not resign us to fate. It simply acknowledges accepts the reality of continuous change and allows us to adjust our mindset to this reality. With this mindset, we can then use each bump as an opportunity for personal and organizational growth.

What follows is a set of expectations about how to navigate on the Bumper Car Journey. It is important to recognize that you will have your own life metaphors, expectations and assumptions and those may or may not be consistent with TLC’s. In order to operate as a mentoring culture, however, it is essential that TLC staff understand and consistently operate from this metaphor when working with each other and the individuals and families we serve.

Expectations Trans Ed Models
Norms, Not Rules (Understand the situation and act in context)
Count Using Mission Math (Those who move TLC toward its mission will be recognized)
Ready, Fire, Aim (Assess the risk, begin to act, and then adjust along the way)
Decide, Re-decide (Don’t stick to old decisions when you have new information)
Own It (When you are looking for the problem, start with yourself)
Make The Covert Overt (When there are unstated issues bring them to the surface for discussion)
Talk The Talk - Walk The Walk (Model the values you espouse)

Assumptions Trans Ed Makes
Change Is Constant (Expect change because we live in a dynamic environment that calls for constant re-evaluation of decisions and assumptions)
1+1 = 3 (Two minds working together produce surprising results, far greater then simply the sum of their individual efforts)
Spinning Plates (Often we must manage myriad tasks with insufficient time and resources)
Master Teacher / Master Learner (A Master Teacher is a Master Learner. Teach by example and always be open to personal and professional growth)
No Growth Without Pain (Accomplishments are attained through struggle and self-discipline)
Work is Fun (When your work is your passion it is joyful. Follow your passion)
Brinkmanship (We come to know our true potential when we are pushed to the brink of the impossible)

Trans Ed View of Successful Living What do we mean by successful living? The collective wisdom gathered across time and cultures is centered on the idea that life is a journey of personal growth. Directed inward, we move from selfishness to selflessness. Directed outward, we move from self-centered to other (community) centered.

The TLC organizational culture acts as a mentor in living life as a journey of personal growth, always moving towards selflessness. It is important to recognize that the TLC culture is purposefully designed to act on ourselves as well as on our students and clients. It is essential then, to understand our organizational assumptions of reality, our organizational beliefs, and the purpose of life towards which we as an organization aspire.

We have developed a fundamental set of beliefs and assumptions about reality as well as nine Wisdom Principles on which to base a culture filled with meaningful experiences that foster personal growth.