LD@3 – Troubling transitions into and through higher education: creative and critical approaches

10 Aug 2020 - 10 Aug 2020

Time: 15:00 – 16:00

Presenter(s): Karen Gravett, University of Surrey

Location: Online via Google Meet


Student transitions are a key part of policy and practice both in the UK and internationally. However recent researchers have begun to acknowledge that research and practice within this important area may be underpinned by unquestioned assumptions of what ‘transition’ as a concept might mean. Moreover, these assumptions can also involve deficit narratives, where students are ‘supported’ to fit into institutional goals. Likewise, the discourses surrounding transition often depict homogenous, linear, journeys that students are expected to undertake, that involve discrete stages (‘the ‘first year experience’) and that must be ‘smoothed’, ‘bridged’ and made ‘successful’, with the help of institutional initiatives. In this session I draw upon data from a longitudinal research study that took place at two institutions. The study used creative methods including, story-mediated interviews with students, and concept map-mediated interviews with staff, in order to explore how we might experiment with new ways of thinking and doing transition. Findings highlighted that students’ learning development is not a linear process, and that students’ experiences were fluid, messy and diverse. I explore how we might further understand the individuality of students’ experiences, and consider the implications for policy, research and practice.

Dr Karen Gravett is a Lecturer in the Department of Higher Education at the University of Surrey. Her work focuses on learning and teaching in higher education, including staff and student learner identities, academic literacies, and higher education discourses. Karen is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and co-convenor of the Society for Research in Higher Education Learning, Teaching and Assessment network.


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