Meaning-making, in all its various aspects, is not only a prime motivating force in human life but also in teaching and learning. We search for personal meanings in our life experiences, which enables us to develop inner capabilities to become self-empowered, self-determining authors of our own life stories. In short, meaning-making expands human consciousness and MCE-MCL extends this explorative and explanatory domain. As students become engaged in a diverse set of personally and socially meaningful activities, they learn to assess what they learned with responsibility to self, to others, and to the local and world communities. Thus, MCE-MCL is holistic, dialogic, and experiential in nature, collaborative and transformative in process and purpose.
Modern educational scholars and practitioners seek a comprehensive framework that will enable researchers and practitioners to better respond to the need of renewing the deep purposes of education in a globalized world. They seek a framework that will provide them with the scaffolding needed to create an ontologized activity system in education that is capable of ensuring meaning-making in research and educational experiences for instructors and learners. MCE-MCL may offer the potential to create a paradigm shift in higher education, turning it into a personally meaningful, transforming, agency-based, dialogic, holistic, and collaborative endeavor.
MCE is an educational philosophy and approach that facilitates the conscious integration of new learning with prior learning across all domains based on personal meanings about oneself in relation to the world. MCE aims to create an authentic learning environment that supports a self-regulating and autonomous personality who operates out of her/his own volition and strives to achieve self-fulfillment and self-determination as an indicator of his/her existential worldview (adapted from Kovbasyuk, 2010, Leontiev, 2007, Ausbell, 2000, Shuell, 1990).
Based on this research, MCL is defined as a learning theory that holds that human learning is the self-motivating and self-regulating process of creating personal meaning in one’s life-world through reflective, critical, and inquiry-based activities that occur across all learning domains. Thus, according to MCL, the learner constructs personal meaning from his/her own experiences and their relationship to prior experiences within multiple life contexts in order to continually self-evolve as a mature personality who is capable of authoring his/her own life story (Kovbasyuk & Blessinger, 2013).
MCE aims to develop appropriate and meaningful educational practices across a wide range of academic and human activities and MCL views learning as the integration of knowing, acting and being in the world. Thus, in short, MCE-MCL involves integrating the epistemology of learning (what learners are expected to know) with the ontology of learning (what learners desire to become as students and as human beings) with the axiology of learning (what learners value the most in their lives).
Ausubel, D. P. (2000). The Acquisition and retention of knowledge: a cognitive view. Dordrect; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Kovbasyuk, O. (2010). Meaningful education as a resource of global learning. In Alagic, Rimmington, Liu, & Gibson (Eds.), Locating intercultures: educating for global collaboration (pp. 119-140). India: Macmillan Publishing.
Kovbasyuk, O, & Blessinger, P. (2013). Meaning-centered education: international perspectives and explorations in higher education. New York: Routledge Publishing.
Leontiev, D. (2007). Psychology of meaning. M: Smysl
Shuell, T. J. (1990). Phases of meaningful learning. Review of Educational Research, 60(4), 531.
Dr. Olga Kovbasyuk, Russia, Co-Director, Senior Scholar, and Executive Editor, JMCE & EMCE
Olga has been teaching for thirty years in various educational institutions and has managed many international academic programs and intercultural projects, as a visiting professor and as a certified intercultural trainer. Her Ph.D. concerns pedagogical support of personality upbringing. She is the founder of the Linguistic School and Global Learning Center in Russia, a member of the Executive Committee in the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association. She has over 100 publications in professional journals and a number of national and international awards, including the national medal “For Excellency in Work”, Teacher’s Excellence Award and Fulbright Scholarship from the US Department of State, and DAAD Fellowship from German Academic Council.
Patrick Blessinger, USA, Co-Director, Senior Scholar, and Executive Editor, JMCE & EMCE
Patrick has received several education awards including a Fulbright Scholarship from the US Department of State and a Governor’s Teaching Fellowship from the State of Georgia, USA. He has taught over 160 college and university courses and has managed academic programs at colleges and universities in the US and EU. He consults with HE institutions and is the founder and principal at the Academe Group consulting firm. He is the founder and Executive Director of the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association, President of the Faculty Academy, Principal and Co-Director of International Micro-Summits, the co-editor of the Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, and co-editor and author of seven textbooks on the topic of Increasing Student Engagement and Retention.
Journal of Meaning-Centered Education
JMCE Editorial Board
Dr. Elisa Garzitto-Michals, USA, Senior Editor
Elisa is a Professor, Department of Teacher Education, California State University where she teaches classes in critical thinking, teacher education and graduate level curriculum seminars. Elisa has published two books; 101 Ways to Change the World – Lessons in Creativity, Critical Thinking and Innovation and Going Deep – Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum. She is the founder of International Micro-Summits, an international think tank dedicated to combining business, academic and government collaborations to affect social change.
Dr. Iddo Landau, Israel, Senior Editor
Iddo is an Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy at Haifa University. Iddo is the author of many articles and books on meaning and has served as a referre on several academic journals and presented on the topic of meaning at many conferences. Iddo served in many committees including the academic organizing committee of the international conference Moral Philosophy in Education, organized by UNESCO and The Jerusalem Spinoza Institute (August 1999) and the Israeli Science Foundation Committee for Philosophy Grants (2011-2012).
Dr. Alyssa J. O’Brien, USA, Editor
Alyssa J. O’Brien is a Lecturer and Coordinator of the Cross-Cultural Rhetoric Project, Stanford University, where she teaches writing, public speaking, and cross-cultural communication in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric. She also teaches graduate students in the Public Policy Program, and she has been a frequent instructor of communication courses in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program.
Dr. María Luisa Pérez Cañado, Spain, Editor
María is Associate Professor at the Department of English Philology, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at the University of Jáen, Spain. Her research interests are in applied linguistics, English for specific purposes, and the intercultural language teaching.
Dr. Rupert Wegerif, UK, Editor
Rupert is Professor of Education and Director of Research at the Graduate School of Education in the University of Exeter in the UK. He has researched and published widely on dialogic approaches to education and is co-editor of Thinking Skills and Creativity. His latest book is Dialogic: Education for the Internet Age published in 2013 by Routledge.
JMCE Review Board
Dr. Vic Boyd, UK, Reviewer
Vic is a Learning Technologist at Glasgow School of Art. Vic’s research to date has included the transitional/ articulation experiences of disabled students, retention, progression and withdrawal studies, the pedagogical accessibility of learning technologies, developing digital literacies and the social construction of fluctuating or recurring impairments in UK higher education.
Dr. Gaowei Chen, USA, Reviewer
Gaowei CHEN is a postdoctoral researcher in the Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC). He received a BS in information engineering, and an MS in educational technology. He received his PhD in educational psychology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His current research focuses on the interactions among teachers and students in classroom and online learning environments. By applying statistical and machine learning methods to the study of online and classroom discussions, he examines how teacher-student and student-student interactions help produce strong effects on learning. His articles appear in journals such as Computers & Education and Computers in Human Behavior.
Dr. Jan Deckers, UK, Reviewer
Jan is a Lecturer in Health Care Ethics at Newcastle University and a member of the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH). At Newcastle University, Jan is the theme leader for ethics of the recently established Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS). He is also a deputy coordinator of the Justice and Governance Theme and Associate Editor of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry.
Dr. David Giles, Australia, Reviewer
David is Dean, School of Education at Flinders University. David has a particular interest in hermeneutic phenomenology and appreciative inquiry research methodologies as vehicles for exploring the experiential, relational & phenomenological nature of education and educational leadership.
Dr. Kim Johnson Hyatt, USA, Reviewer
Kim is Associate Teaching Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. She teaches Strategic Writing for the School of Information Systems & Management and Strategic Presentation Skills for the School of Public Policy & Management.
Dr. Kathy Jackson, USA, Reviewer
Kathy is Senior Research Associate and Instructional Consultant, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellenc, Penn State University. Dr. Jackson holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Instructional Technology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Janice Kathleen Jones, Australia, Reviewer
Janice is a Senior Lecturer in Arts Education and a member of the Capacity-Building Research Network at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. With 30 years’ international experience in education for creativity and social justice, Janice is peer-acknowledged as a thought-leader in heutagogy through the arts, literacies and emerging technologies. A Churchill Fellow, Janice’s research and publications bring a futures focus to personal, social and professional transformation through creativity, reflection and community. A lead-facilitator of the Asset Based Community Development (South East Asia) web community, Janice is a member of the Virtual Worlds Working Group (Australia).
Dr. Virginia Lee, USA, Reviewer
Virginia is principal and senior consultant of Virginia S. Lee & Associates. She is Former President (2007-2010) of the Professional and Organizational Network. She was selected as a Fulbright Specialist in 2010 for a five year term. She served as Associate Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, North Carolina State University, and Director, Graduate Student Teaching Programs, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She is on the editorial review boards of Innovative Higher Education, The Journal of Faculty Development, and To Improve the Academy.
Dr. Natasha Moscvina, Russia, Reviewer
Natasha is Professor of Pedagogy at Far Easten State University of Hummanities (Khabarovsk). Her primary resurch interest is the psychological and pedagogical approaches to the professional development of teachers and reducing the risk of their professional distortions. She is the Chief of the Department of Innovation Development of the University. Her department manages the implementation of the international project of preparation for social psychologists to help migrants in their adaptation.
Dr. Nicholas J. Shudak, USA, Reviewer
Nicholas is the Department/Division Chair of Education at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota, United States. He is also the director of the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program designed for experienced teachers. His current research and teaching interests revolve around helping teachers use research and data to improve student outcomes, and, he is interested in helping classroom teachers use “philosophy for children” models to deepen their students’ understanding of content and the enduring questions found within.
Dr. Alina Slapac, USA, Reviewer
Alina is an Assistant Professor, International Studies Fellow, and the Counselor of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Slapac’s research interests have developed interdisciplinary through qualitative research methods, in particular cultural perspectives and culturally responsive pedagogy/classroom management in the areas of teacher preparation, curriculum and instruction, and international/intercultural education. She currently teaches graduate action research and undergraduate classroom management courses. Address correspondence to Alina Slapac, Assistant Professor, Division of Teaching and Learning, University of Missouri–St. Louis, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO
Encyclopedia of Meaning-Centered Education
EMCE Editorial Board
Senior Editor – to be determined
Dr. Peter C. Taylor, Australia, Editor
Peter is Associate Professor of Transformative Education at Curtin University’s Science and Mathematics Education, a graduate centre for professional development of teachers in Perth, Western Australia. His research focuses on teaching for transformative learning, cultural contextualisation of curricula, especially for indigenous learners, and education for sustainable development.
Dr. Anton Tolman, USA, Editor
Anton is a clinical and forensic psychologist who graduated from the University of Oregon. He is currently Associate Professor of Behavioral Science at Utah Valley University and serves as the Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence. Apart from his publications in clinical and forensic areas, Anton is acutely interested in power dynamics in the classroom and the development of both faculty and student metacognitive skills to enhance student learning and the creation of personal meaning. He has developed sets of metacognitive scales for assessing student readiness to become more effective learners and for faculty development and has developed an Integrated Model of Student Resistance to active learning. He is a frequent presenter at national and regional teaching and learning conferences on these topics.