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The devil is in the detail Student narratives of their transition to higher education Claire Hamshire Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow Faculty of Health,

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Presentation on theme: "The devil is in the detail Student narratives of their transition to higher education Claire Hamshire Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow Faculty of Health,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The devil is in the detail Student narratives of their transition to higher education Claire Hamshire Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care Manchester Metropolitan University

2 The Research Evaluate student induction needs First stage Curriculum redesign Easy start project Second stage Curriculum redesign 2007 cohort Focus groups Work with Student partner 2008 cohort Narrative interviews CRS survey 2009 cohort Narrative interviews

3 Why use narratives? Narratives are a way in which people make sense of their lives. The structure that an individual gives to any particular narrative can help us to understand how events are interconnected and influence each other. (Holdsworth and Morgan 2005) Examining lived experience is the key to understanding. People live stories and in the telling of the stories, reaffirm them, modify them and create new ones. (Clandinin and Connelly 2000) Trying to make sense of student transitions as they are lived by eliciting stories of the experiences that make up students lives. Focus on student experiences of transition and follow where they lead.

4 The Storytellers 8 first year students A purposeful sample of 10% of the 2009/10 BSc Physiotherapy cohort (84 students) 4 male & 4 female Age range 18 – 30 4 mature students 1 international student

5 Alice Goals for first year I want to be more academic I want to get a new group of friends To mature a lot as a person becoming more of an adult rather than being a child 18 years old Direct entry First in family at university From Greater Manchester Close family Wanted to be close to home Shocked by the work

6 Adnam Goals for the first year I dont just want to pass I want to do really well Id like to go to a few Manchester United games Id like to get a job hopefully somewhere Id like to see a 3D film 19 years old Had to resit A levels British Muslim Family live 40 miles away University is a nice phase to go through

7 Oliver Goals for the first year Get a first anything else will be a huge disappointment Be financially stable Not have to work during the summer Maybe have some friends that he could socialise with in the summer 24 years old Lives with girlfriend From Hull via Leeds Previous degree 2006 Unhappy with his job opportunities from first degree. Im here to work

8 Sara Goals for the first year Gosh. This sounds awful but I just want to get through it and enjoy it Come out with a goodish grade Just to be here is great to be honest just to have got this far I dont have massive goals 19 years old Deferred entry to travel for a year Needed to retake one A level to get grades From Yorkshire Supported financially by her family Homesick

9 Themes from first interviews State of readiness for HE - expectations Social Networks - fitting in Ability to cope – personal autonomy Finance – work/study balance

10 Sara - Im really worried about the whole copying thing because its really hard to write without I think its just scary because I dont really know what Im meant to be writing and its all so … I dont know Im just going to have to do draft after draft I think and just start simple and then make it better It was pretty hard and getting back into it. I had to work a bit harder than I thought I would of Oliver – I like that its a lot of talk in sessions and theres a lot of self learning and self reading but really youre told something, then told to go and learn about it yourself and then you discuss that in the tutorials which is you know its really good I find it really useful in between having the lecture to read yourself so youve built up quite a fair, few questions that you want to ask Theme 1 – State of readiness Expectations & Autonomy Adnam – A levels they basically tell you everything that you need to know in the class while here in your lectures youve got to make sure that you add on to your own notes because they just cover the basics Everything is like, learning, I like things done for me so I prefer they taught us everything I stay quiet all the way throughout the lesson us teenagers just find that quite hard Alice - I think its a shock how much work there is at first. I think when youre at college youre given sheets. Its spoon-fed to you basically they tell you what you need to know. Whereas here youve got to find out Ive always been told what I need to know for my exam and how to write it. Whereas, now its about yourself being able to learn it and describe it, how you feel. Its different youve got to work it out for yourself

11 Sara - In the first week I started really low I just didnt fit in, I just didnt feel at home at all it was really weird The first week you have to go out you are a wet blanket it you dont go out in that first week and you have to go out every night and I dont want to go out every night I didnt enjoy the pressure of feeling like you had to go out. I did go out but it was the fact that everyone else felt they had to go out and no one stayed in so you were alone when you did stay in Oliver -I remembered what I was like when I was sort of nineteen coming to uni its all a bit of a laugh really. I wanted to get drunk and go out and meet people and just be silly really not take it too seriously whereas this time round I really wanted to take it serious. I wanted to live in town in an apartment in a young professional area because thats what Id been and thats kind of still what I class myself as Adnam – I really enjoy it yeah its a nice to phase to go through in your life. Go out there and experience it all. Living for your self, doing everything for yourself not relying on other people and meeting so many new people, everyone is so friendly On the nights out as you can imagine we went to a lot of places, everywhere was really busy that was really good Alice - Im quite a homely person so I wanted to be quite close to home I liked the little coffee event thing, that was nice because you got to meet people and I was talking to the lecturer that interviewed me They have their own group of friends because theyre always there which is why I wanted to go there initially but I cant change it now can I? I suppose I can socialise as well with other people Theme 2 – Social networks Fitting in

12 Sara – So far theres a lot to do, a lot, lot to do. Youve just got to start it. Its just starting it and sitting down and doing it and feeling, because you do spend hours and do like a page and you feel like well Oliver -I think that I still treat the course as a nine to five I dont see it as a learning of lectures or timetables between nine to one. I still like to be in that habit of working I think its quite productive and it still gives you a cut off point to where you can go home and not have to worry about assignment deadlines and just live your normal life as though youre not a student really. Which is good because it still gives me weekends and things Adnam – I was quite surprised to be getting so much work to do straight away Ive not done a lot of cooking, mainly takeaways. Ive done a bit of cleaning and stuff I get to go home every weekend I bring some food home on the weekend on Sunday and eat that on the Monday and Tuesday Alice – Cookings not been too bad actually. Ive got to grips now with that I think. Sometimes if I cant be bothered Ill just have like a microwave meal I find on the Tuesday and Thursday I just work. Ill have a bit of a lie in and then from when I get up Ill work until tea time and then maybe do a bit more after. Trying to read up because its not how youre taught in college Theme 3 – Ability to cope Personal autonomy

13 Oliver - Im working around ten hours at the moment but thats going to increase to twenty hours and Im starting to worry that I might just not be able to fit it all in but its going to be a case of tough luck because I need the money without it I cant survive Its very difficult youve got this balance of earning enough money to simply survive and make ends meet and sacrificing a bit of study time (Oliver successfully applied for 2 grants) Adnam - Id like to get a job hopefully somewhere. Ive got an interview next week. Hopefully Ill get a nice part-time job (Adnam is supported financially by his extended family and currently works 8 hours a week) Theme 4 - Finance Work/study balance Alice – I havent got my loan through yet so its been a bit of a nuisance but my family have been really supportive in helping me with shopping and stuff and paying for my rent at the moment Usually I work on the Saturday night. Its good really because its not too many hours, its only like five or six hours a week (Alice received funding from MMU hardship fund)

14 Conclusions Higher Education FE & Schools Students Prepare students Manage expectations Informed choices

15 Recommendations Offer a range of options Partnership Transition is a process Pre-entryYear 1 Week 1 Build relationships Year 2 Successful Transition Teaching Assessment Group work Study skills

16 The last word from the students Get a job and save some money before you go Work hard just getting by is not enough Enjoy your first year Try and be more independent at home before you come Study from day one and dont get behind Make use of your personal tutor

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