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1 Crossing Borders: The Transition to Higher Education Dr Hilary Fabian (Reader) The North East Wales Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Crossing Borders: The Transition to Higher Education Dr Hilary Fabian (Reader) The North East Wales Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Crossing Borders: The Transition to Higher Education Dr Hilary Fabian (Reader) The North East Wales Institute

2 2 Aims of presentation  To explore issues of transition for students as they start university;  To identify common features of transitions (to nursery, primary school, secondary school, higher education, work etc).

3 3 Some theoretical perspectives  Ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner)  Rites of passage (van Gennep)  Cultural understanding / acculturation (Bruner/Brooker)  Cultural mediation (Vygotsky)  ‘Symbolic Capital’ (Bourdieu)  Relationships (Corsaro)  Emotional well-being (Goleman)  Agency (James, Jenks & Prout)

4 4 Methodology  36 first year ECS students conduct an exercise six weeks after starting their programme as part of their introduction to HE to explore their thoughts about: Expectations of learning Expectations of learning Social aspects of studying at HE Social aspects of studying at HE Support for learning Support for learning  Part of an on-going action research project (2 nd year);  Results in changes to induction programme.

5 5 Questions for Students  1. The Level and amount of work (progression, lectures, assessments)  2. Social Aspects (what has helped/hindered you in making friends?)  3. Any difficulties and how they have been resolved  4. Improvements that could be made to the programme  5. Any other comments about the programme and your first weeks at NEWI

6 6 Key Findings  Difficulties with the transition: Work load – assignments – amount, writing, bunching means that lack of opportunity to learn from marking; lack of awareness beforehand about the level / amount of work; taking more time than anticipated; Work load – assignments – amount, writing, bunching means that lack of opportunity to learn from marking; lack of awareness beforehand about the level / amount of work; taking more time than anticipated; Home / study balance – time management, travel, family, getting tired; Home / study balance – time management, travel, family, getting tired; Concern about getting lost; Concern about getting lost; Settling into a routine; Settling into a routine; Keeping up / expectations; Keeping up / expectations; Accessing information: library, VLE etc; Accessing information: library, VLE etc; Learning in a second language. Learning in a second language.

7 7  Aspects that helped ease the transition: Level of support from staff – approachable; Level of support from staff – approachable; Activities around the campus that helped a sense of belonging / being a student; Activities around the campus that helped a sense of belonging / being a student; Opportunities to make new friends, e.g. sport, group work, induction activities, knowing others were in the same position; Opportunities to make new friends, e.g. sport, group work, induction activities, knowing others were in the same position; Knowing people beforehand; Knowing people beforehand; Not being judged; Not being judged; Friendship developed confidence; Friendship developed confidence; Making it work for themselves – individual difference (taking control). Making it work for themselves – individual difference (taking control).

8 8 Common Features of Transitions  Communication  Relationships  Emotional well-being  Belonging to a community  Learning processes

9 9 Communication The right amount of information (both given and received) and level of accessibility (both pre- and post-transfer), instils confidence, reduces stress and helps make learning accessible. The right amount of information (both given and received) and level of accessibility (both pre- and post-transfer), instils confidence, reduces stress and helps make learning accessible.  Understanding the ‘language’ of the next stage;  Knowing who to contact and how;  Co-construction – working together;  Each stakeholder sharing information;  Knowing about the ‘next’ curriculum / assessment;  On-going information – revisiting.

10 10 Relationships Making a transition with a friend or making friends during a transition builds confidence and helps individuals to flourish in the new situation. Making a transition with a friend or making friends during a transition builds confidence and helps individuals to flourish in the new situation.  Knowing how to make friends;  Providing opportunities to make friends e.g. Group activities and team work;  Learning to support one another;  Cultural and social capital transfer;  Having trust in the organisation.

11 11 Emotional well-being Socio-emotional well-being during a transition can help develop confidence and provide feelings of being in control which in turn lead to continuing cognitive achievements. Socio-emotional well-being during a transition can help develop confidence and provide feelings of being in control which in turn lead to continuing cognitive achievements.  Managing stress;  Physical well-being: Keeping healthy;  Negotiating the border-crossing to a zone that feels comfortable;  Feeling suitable – agency – being in control;  Balance between the recognisable and the new;  Gaining confidence;  Developing resilience.

12 12 Belonging to a community A sense of belonging to the community is an important contributor to adjustment. It gives greater confidence to ask questions, take the initiative and meet new expectations. A sense of belonging to the community is an important contributor to adjustment. It gives greater confidence to ask questions, take the initiative and meet new expectations.  Familiarisation with the environment;  Developing an identity of belonging to the setting;  Sharing course values;  Bringing own culture and identity;  Rites of passage;  Cultural understanding and scaffolding.

13 13 Learning processes Curriculum continuity across phases of education can help with confidence. Curriculum continuity across phases of education can help with confidence.  Challenge of learning at the next level;  The what and how of learning;  Feeling de-skilled;  Teaching and learning styles;  Time management /getting organised to complete the work;  Acknowledging knowledge;  Being assessed.

14 14 Interconnected aspects of Transition Social and emotional well-being: Social and emotional well-being: Friendships, getting to know people;Friendships, getting to know people; Gaining an identity connected to place;Gaining an identity connected to place; Learning about the culture.Learning about the culture. Cognitive continuity: Cognitive continuity: Teaching and learning styles;Teaching and learning styles; Learning about learning at the next level;Learning about learning at the next level; Fulfilling expectations of self and others.Fulfilling expectations of self and others.

15 15 Links to initiatives (England) EYFS Principles (England)  Enabling Environments: 3.4 The Wider Context: Transitions and Continuity (working in partnership) 3.4 The Wider Context: Transitions and Continuity (working in partnership) Every Child Matters outcomes  Enjoy and achieve Transitions (ready for school) Transitions (ready for school) ECM agenda influences the HE agenda and provides opportunities to respond to ECMs at HE level.

16 16 Changes introduced at NEWI  Communication: during the first week: programme information; meeting with academic tutor for tutor to learn about the student; knowing the ‘rules’ of assessment; how to address tutors; where to go on the first day; how to contact tutors;  Relationships: team building activities; meeting tutors;  Emotional well-being: relax kids; voice care; financial advice;  Belonging to a community: treasure hunt round the campus; having an ID card and address;  Learning processes: study skills; library visits; understanding assessment; advice from previous students. First week and on-going throughout the year

17 17 References Bourdieu, P Language and symbolic power. Cambridge, Polity Press. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Bruner, J. S. (1996) The Culture of Education. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Brooker, L. (2002) Starting School: Young Children Learning Cultures. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press. Corsaro, W.A (2005) The Sociology of Childhood. London: Sage publications. Dunlop, A. W. (2003) Bridging Early Educational Transitions in Learning Through Children's Agency. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, Themed Monograph Series No.1. pp ISSN X Fabian, H. and Dunlop, A.W. (Eds.) (2002) Transitions in the Early Years London: RoutledgeFalmer Publishers. Fabian, H. (2002). Children Starting School. London, David Fulton Publishers. Goleman, D. (1996) Emotional Intelligence. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Van Gennep, A. (1960). Rites of Passage. (Translation by Vizedom, M. B. and Caffee, G. L.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

18 18 Correspondence Dr Hilary Fabian Education & Childhood Studies Leader School of Education and Community The North East Wales Institute Plas Coch Mold Road Wrexham LL11 2AW +44 (0)


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