Transformative Learning Based on Disability: My Disrupting Dilemma

My Disruptive Dilemma


  • Yvonne Ruiz Salem State Univesity


transformative learning, disability, disruptive dilemma, ableism


A social work educator’s experience of temporary disability that was precipitated by an intra-operative femoral fracture creates a disruptive dilemma leading to a process of transformative learning. According to Mezirow (1991, 1994), a disorienting dilemma is precipitated by a life experience which induces powerful emotional responses and results in a recognition that our old ways of thinking and acting are no longer sufficient. This disrupting dilemma is the beginning of a learning process according to Mezirow’s phases of transformative learning, including critical reflection on living with a disability, social norms, and the psychosocial impact of ableism. Transformative learning leads to a pedagogical approach that facilitates critical discussion and reflection and allows for learning that integrates the ways in which assumptions about people with disabilities shape individual beliefs, values, and behaviors, and it makes space for the consideration of alternative perspectives that can be applied to social work practice.

Author Biography

Yvonne Ruiz, Salem State Univesity

Associate Professor of Social Work




How to Cite

Ruiz, Y. (2019). Transformative Learning Based on Disability: My Disrupting Dilemma: My Disruptive Dilemma. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 24(4), 50–61. Retrieved from