A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF STUDENT TRANSITION THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION: DEVELOPING IDENTITY THROUGH METACOGNITION AND ACADEMIC PRACTICE

Victoria O'Donnell, Jane Tobbell, Caroline Tobbell

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper presents data from a longitudinal, qualitative research study of university students in the UK. In-depth, semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with five students five times over a four-year period, beginning during their first term until their final term at university. Interviews allowed for detailed exploration of students’ motivations for study, their experiences of teaching, their learning and wider educational journeys, their personal and professional development, and their experiences of transition into and through higher education. Longitudinal, qualitative research of this kind is not common in the educational literature. This paper therefore makes an important contribution to our understanding of the factors influencing change and development in students and in their experiences of higher education over the entire period of a degree programme. Interview data has been analysed thematically to identify key themes emerging within and between participants. The analysis is conducted using a focused-problem approach, through the lens of socio-cultural theory, within which individual experience is understood as situated in and constructed through the social world. This paper focuses on metacognition and academic practices, as two themes central to changes in students’ experiences over time, and as important mediators of the development of individual identity. Metacognition manifests in the students’ data as a shift from ‘thinking about leaning’, to ‘thinking about thinking’. Academic practices manifest in the data as a shift from ‘study skills’ to ‘embedded and contextualised professional activity’. Both of these themes underpin and support what can be seen in the data as important changes in individual identities. Findings are interpreted through Wenger’s Communities of Practice theory, through which individual development and change is understood as a function of participation in the valued practices of a community, of movement towards increasingly central participation in that community, and of shifting identities as a result of participation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2018
    EventHawaii International Conference on Education - Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort/, Honolulu, United States
    Duration: 4 Jan 20187 Jan 2018
    Conference number: 16

    Conference

    ConferenceHawaii International Conference on Education
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityHonolulu
    Period4/01/187/01/18

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