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SOLSTICE & CLT Conference 2013. Planning learning for the needs and interests of students during transitions in to Higher Education Dr John Bostock and Jane Wood, Edge Hill University. 5 th & 6 th June 2013. Supporting transitions into Higher Education.

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SOLSTICE & CLT Conference 2013

Planning learning for the needs and interests of students during transitions in to Higher Education

Dr John Bostock and Jane Wood, Edge Hill University

5th & 6th June 2013

supporting transitions into higher education
Supporting transitions into Higher Education
  • We strongly believe that transitions involve much more than the move from one physical location to another or an age transition from one school to higher education. We suggest that transitions are profound periods of change and transformation in the lives of learners and as such should be studied and managed to ensure learners are able to grow and thrive during these difficult phases in their education.
supporting transitions into higher education1
Supporting transitions into Higher Education
  • We do not believe that transitions are always negative experiences and we propose that they need not be troubled or problematic. With the help and support of teachers and support staff at both institutions, they can be a positive experience of challenge, growth and achievement.
supporting transitions into higher education2
Supporting transitions into Higher Education
  • Crafter and Maunder (2012) define transitions as being about a change in self-identity born out of uncertainty in the social and cultural worlds of the individual. They suggest that transitions can be best understood by taking into account the social and cultural situatedness of human thought and action.
supporting transitions into higher education3
Supporting transitions into Higher Education
  • It is important to understand from this that transitions are complex and multi-faceted and often involve a change in the very personality of the person involved. This might be enhanced by a period of personal reflection, development and growth by the individual learner and will be different in each case.
wenger s trajectories
Wenger’s Trajectories

Wenger (1998) presents ‘communities of practice’ as a social theory of learning where social participation in a community is central for learning to take place. No one learns in a vacuum. We all need to interact with our surroundings in order to learn and develop and Wenger identifies this social ‘situatedness’ as a community of practice.

wenger s trajectories1
Wenger’s Trajectories

The participation in a community of practice therefore ‘shapes not only what we do, but also who we are and how we interpret what we do’ Wenger (1998). Transition in a community of practice framework, therefore, refers to the process of joining and becoming members of a new community of practice, and the transition not only happens to the individual, but also to the community itself by the very inclusion of new members. In this way transitions are very much seen as a two way process that changes the learner and also the learning organisation.

wenger s trajectories2
Wenger’s Trajectories
  • Peripheral trajectories – trajectories which do not lead to full participation but do involve identity shifts.
  • Inbound trajectories – trajectories which suggest the goal of full participation, even when the participant is peripheral in the beginning.
  • Insider trajectories – even when a full participant, practice and meaning and so identity can shift.
  • Boundary trajectories – those which span a number of communities of practice, linking them and brokering practices with them.
  • Outbound trajectories – trajectories which clearly enable participation in a future community of practice.

What does this mean in terms of planning? Both the teacher and the student have specific but varied and connected roles which converge in the classroom or lecture theatre

  • Effective planning for learning
  • Who are the students?
  • Teaching strategies are considered which are flexible, adaptive or ‘differentiated’.

A rather formulaic but useful axiom around session plan design for learning is:

  • Aims and Objectives PLUS Teacher and Student Activity PLUS Assessment = Learning


Another rather formulaic but useful axiom around preparing and planning for teaching is:

  • Scheme of Work PLUS Cohort Analysis PLUS Session Plan=Teaching
transition to higher education he
Transition to Higher Education (HE)
  • Students in higher education are not a homogeneous group.
  • Students in HE comprise increasing numbers of adult returners rather than just 18 year olds
  • Programme teams write module outcomes and then propose a series of objectives to meet these outcomes which, in turn, are aligned with appropriate formative and summative assessment strategies
  • How will you organise your induction period to ensure all learners make friends and feel secure in the new organisation?
  • How will you develop learners’ resilience and confidence?
  • How will you develop your students as autonomous, independent learners?
  • How will you develop partnerships with your feeder schools / colleges to ensure smooth transitions for your learners?
  • How will you develop life skills and coping skills for your learners?
  • A transitions-focused approach could also be described as a person-centred approach. That is, we are conscious of the fact that all students will experience transitions differently and that the most important thing we can do for them as teachers is to support them during these transitions . This means we must acknowledge the fact that we must focus on each individual learner.