Organization, Information and Learning Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



Unknowingly, much of the population of the Western World are thinking machines who live and learn isolated from somatic experiences. They distrust their bodies in the learning process and are stuck living out unquestioned realities of embodied socioculturalism and rationalism which guide decision making, learning and ways of being. Considering a voice of the body involved delving into the physical dimension of somatic transformative learning from the bodily-lived experiences of seven women who were in a first-level experiential Nia® dancing and movement training program. Together, these women offered a voice of the body offering that phases of transformative learning was moving through processes of being stuck, self-allowing, coming to awareness and being connected within the context of learning by experience. Transformative learning processes were (re)living and trying-on felt-meanings of the lifeworld mirrored within personal experiencing spaces and the social experiencing space of the training. Engaging the human body in transformative learning was learning by experiencing the body as a site of knowing and learning, capable of generating dilemmas, breakthroughs, and shifting perspectives. Accessing somatic knowledge were other ways of knowing about unconscious habits and meaning-making, offering a somatic perspective for a more inclusive theory of adult transformative learning.

Degree Name

Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Organization, Information & Learning Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Salisbury, Mark Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Chávez, Alicia Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Arenella, Pamela M.D.




adult transformative learning theory, somatic learning, The Nia Technique®, grounded theory case study, transformational learning

Document Type