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  1. 1. Student engagement – examining its foundations and fruitful ways of putting it into practiceColin Bryson and Emily Williams:Newcastle Universitycolin.bryson@ncl.ac.uk
  2. 2. Goals Research, evidence and practice about holistic student engagement Exploring the notion of ‘partnership’ Including both staff and student perspectives! Examples and issues about putting it into practice Engagement and partnership
  3. 3. A very short introduction to SE Roots (Becker, 1961: Pace, 1979: Astin, 1977: Chickering and Gamson, 1987: Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991, 2005)The impact of college on students A focus in USA on active classroom behaviours - (National Student Survey on Engagement) – George Kuh Australia – the FYE…(McInnis, 1995) - Multi-dimensional engagement (Krause and Coates, 2008) Convergence with US thinking – the AUSSE Engagement and partnership
  4. 4. A different form of studentevidence….  Drawn from seven studies since 2003, mainly qualitative  Includes two longitudinal studies  And one of these was the staff perspective on SE  Most recent work is about SE and graduateness and SE and partnership Engagement and partnership
  5. 5. A constructivist approach to SE SE is holistic and socially constructed Every student is an individual and different (Haggis, 2004) Engagement is a concept which encompasses the perceptions, expectations and experience of being a student and the construction of being a student in HE (Bryson and Hand, 2007). Engagement underpins learning and is the glue that binds it together – both located in being and becoming. (Fromm, 1977) More than about doing/behaving and quantity SE is not amenable to measurement SE is dynamic and fluid SE is multidimensional, includes student’s whole lives and it is the interaction and pattern that matters not any specific variable – avoid reductionism Engagement and partnership
  6. 6. Key influences on engagement1. Student expectations and perceptions – match to the ‘personal project’ and interest in subject (Dubet - ways of being a student)2. Balances between challenge and appropriate workload3. Degrees of choice, autonomy, risk, and opportunities for growth and enjoyment4. Trust relationships5. Communication and discourse6. A sense of belonging and community7. The salience of social networks Engagement and partnership
  7. 7. A wider exploration of the lit Strong evidence base and critical perspective from schools SE research(Fredricks et al; Zyngier; Gibbs & Posskitt; Harris) Alienation, inertia/anomie and disengagement (Mann: Krause) Professional formation and authentic learning (identity projects) (Holmes; Reid and Solomonides) Intellectual development (Perry: Baxter Magolda:) Integration, belonging and community (Tinto: Kember: Wenger and several others) Collective SE – but also participation and partnership(Little et al: Bovill: Healey et al) Engagement and partnership
  8. 8.  To meet regularly to discuss SE. To involve and work with students in partnership An early goal was to develop a concept map and set of principles that underpin the promotion of SE To establish an annual conference drawing together leading edge work on SE - and to feed into publication through journals and books. (Next conference– Sept 2013, Nottingham) To gain funding to support these events and activities. To create a bank of useful resources for us to share. To facilitate communication between us (web, email network etc)http://raise-network.ning.com/ Engagement and partnership
  9. 9. A revised definition of SE Student engagement is about what a student brings to Higher Education in terms of goals, aspirations, value and beliefs and how these are shaped and mediated by their experience whilst a student. SE is constructed and reconstructed through the lenses of the perceptions and identities held by students and the meaning and sense a student makes of their experiences and interactions. As players and shapers of the educational context, educators need to foster educational, purposeful SE to support and enable students to learn in constructive and powerful ways and realise their potential in education and society. Engagement and partnership
  10. 10. Engaging students - principles We should:1. Foster student’s willingness and readiness to engage by enhancing their self-belief2. Embrace the point that students have diverse backgrounds, expectations, orientations and aspirations – thus different ‘ways of being a student’, and to welcome, respect and accommodate all of these in an inclusive way3. Enable and facilitate trust relationships (between staff:students and students:students) in order to develop a discourse with each and all students and to show solidarity with them4. Create opportunities for learning (in its broadest sense) communities so that students can develop a sense of competence and belonging within these communities Engagement and partnership
  11. 11. 5. Teach in ways to make learning participatory, dialogic, collaborative, authentic, active and critical6. Foster autonomy and creativity, and offer choice and opportunities for growth and enriching experiences in a low risk and safe setting7. Recognise the impact on learning of non-institutional influences and accommodate these8. Design and implement assessment for learning with the aim to enable students to develop their ability to evaluate critically the quality and impact of their own work9. Seek to negotiate and reach a mutual consensus with students on managing workload, challenge, curriculum and assessment for their educational enrichment – through a partnership model – without diluting high expectations and educational attainment10. Enable students to become active citizens and develop their social and cultural capital Engagement and partnership
  12. 12. A holistic approach to a degreeprogramme Combined Honours at Newcastle  Diverse and complex  Individuals doing unique degree  Missing sense of identity/ belonging  But few resources and so difficult to influence the curriculum So how to address? Find a talented group with innovative ideas, great energy and boundless enthusiasm Engagement and partnership
  13. 13. Enhancing engagement inCombined Honours Student representation:  Empowerment- Student led, working groups  Partnership  Active agenda – providing solutions Success stories  Defending the degree  Combined Honours Week  Curriculum co-design – new modules  Redesign of transition Engagement and partnership
  14. 14. Enhancing engagement inCombined Honours Peer mentoring – social integration PASS scheme – academic integration Engagement and partnership
  15. 15. Enhancing engagement inCombined Honours Building community:  Facilities and spaces  Social agenda – the CHS Joining it all up – events and activities are shared and promoted by all parties Challenging to keep it going…but offers a host of opportunities that never existed before. Engagement and partnership
  16. 16. Students as partners A focus on the collective – student representation – involvement in decision making  As consumer (UK Government)  Empowerment (QAA, HEA)  As equals (Wenstone and the NUS) A focus on the individual  Co-production(Neary)  Module design (Bovill)  Within modules Engagement and partnership
  17. 17. Challenging issues What is role of the student union? Balancing the collective vs individual Can students take on all this responsibility How many want to? Should it be all? What impact on staff? What impact on the structures? Political or pedagogic? Engagement and partnership