Transition In Theory And Practice
A one-day Student Experience Network seminar discussing transition as a concept and experience.
11.30 – 4.30pm
Owen Building, City Campus
Sheffield Hallam University
This contribution reports on a study into the reasoning of university applicants in the context of rising fees for full-time Home/EU undergraduates at English universities. At a political level, the expected economic gain of individuals (the “graduate premium”) is regularly cited as a justification for higher private contributions to the cost of higher education. The study examined how influential this rationale is in prospective students’ decision making.
Based on the data gathered for the study this contribution argues that there are high levels of uncertainty amongst potential applicants to higher education regarding expected earnings after graduation and the amount of debt studying for a degree would generate. However, the data indicates that attitudes towards the notion of a graduate premium have a strong influence on the propensity to apply to higher education. The differences in the expected cost of studying at different institutions do not seem to be a predominant factor in participants’ choices about where to apply – this is partly because the difference in costs of studying at different institutions are seen as small and students do not expect to have precise information until they start at university or college. Undoubtedly, the rise in fees has made transition decisions more difficult for potential applicants, with questions regarding transitions from higher education into the labour market becoming even more important.
Hubert Ertl is University Lecturer in Higher Education and a Fellow of Linacre College, University of Oxford. He is the course director of the MSc degree in Higher Education at the Department of Education, Oxford. He is also Senior Research Fellow of the ESRC Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). His research interests include international aspects of higher education, transition of graduates into the labour market, access to higher education, vocational education and training, and European Union educational policies.
Choices, Decisions and Transitions:
The Politics, Practices and Possibilities of Understanding Transition as Becoming
Dr Carol Taylor and Jean Harris-Evans, Sheffield Hallam University
Despite the existence of a large body of literature on transition, recent studies by Gale and Parker (2011; 2012) have proposed that ‘transition remains ‘a largely under-theorised concept’; it is often used uncritically, it relies on ‘taken-for-granted notions’, and it focuses on student induction and development, to the detriment of understandings of transition as ‘becoming’. In taking up Gale and Parker’s (2012) call to re-conceptualise transition as ‘becoming’ we draw on data from two recent research projects on student choices, decision-making and transition to higher education. In offering a novel theorisation of transition through ‘narratives of becoming’ the presentation seeks to pay due attention to students’ lived experiences of transition, not as a linear pathway or series of ‘critical incidents’, but as a variegated, heterogeneous and dynamic process of flux and flow. In proposing the analytic advantages to be gained from conceptualising transition as ‘narratives of becoming’, the presentation brings together concepts from Deleuze and Guattari (1987) which help us envisage transition as rhizomic and multiple becomings within fluid institutional assemblages; with Cavarero’s (2000) concept of ‘narratable selves’ which illuminate how the ‘living singularity of each one’ is also relationally and socially constituted; and McNay’s (2003) view that narratives are enmeshed within power relations, and constrained by the politics of probabilities. We argue that such a hybrid theorization highlights the particularity and multiplicity of transition, draws attention to students’ becoming identities in relation to a complex web of institutional practices, and problematizes prevailing discourses of transition.
Carol is Reader in Education in the Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion at Sheffield Hallam University where she convenes the Higher Education Research and Scholarship Group. Carol has worked in various further and higher education institutions since 1991 and she completed her DPhil on student identities and the spaces of knowledge production at the University of Sussex. Carol’s recent research projects have explored the use of videonarratives to promote doctoral students’ reflexivity funded by the HEA, and a BERA Meeting of Minds project on Deleuzian analytics. Carol is currently co-investigator with Jean Harris-Evans on the Narratives of Transition project, and is also leading a project on the multisensory exploration of space and identity within the university workplace. Carol’s main theoretical and methodological interests are student engagement and student voice, gender, space and power, and visual, sensory and narrative methodologies.
Jean is a Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. Her responsibilities include the recruitment of students to the Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion. Prior to joining the University in 2006, Jean worked in a variety of roles from 1990 onwards as a Youth and Community Work practitioner, manager and policy adviser in both London and South Yorkshire. Jean is currently undertaking an Education Doctorate focused on risk and young people. She is co-investigator with Carol Taylor on the Narratives of Transition project.
Re-theorising transitions in learning and education: international perspectives
Dr Lesley Doyle, School of Education, University of Glasgow
This presentation, through a re-conceptualisation of transitions in learning and education, takes forward work by Furlong and Cartmel (1997) on the reproduction of unequal life chances during transitions and Ahier and Moore’s (1999) conclusion that the need to facilitate transitions within a network of ‘others’ requires a re-theorising of transitions within a broader context – not only within the immediate family and its associated processes of social reproduction. From a review of the literature on transitions in learning and education, three questions emerged which can be viewed as necessary precursors to the wider and collective task of re-theorisation. How are educational transitions conceptualised in a range of international contexts? What are the challenges that these conceptualisations pose? What are the structural and procedural impediments – economic, social and educational – to ‘choice’ at transition? This presentation will examine some of the theoretical perspectives employed by writers from a variety of countries as they critically examine transition theory in the context of the economic and social pressures young people face and the changing societies in which they live.
Patrick will discuss the invention of transition and its subsequent incorporation into youth work, or what Phil Cohen called the sturm und drang model of Stanley Hall’s invention of adolescence. With the advent of increased precarity in labour conditions, Patrick will suggest this model has extended up the age range to 30+, suggesting a new paradigm of 'interdependence', rather than transition to independence (as Gill Jones suggested in her book on youth). Typically, just as youth workers (what is left of them) are abandoning the paradigm, it has been taken up in higher education!
Patrick Ainley is Professor of Training and Education at the University of Greenwich School of Education and Training (as was). Latest e-book with Martin Allen: The Great Reversal, Young People, Education and Employment in a Declining Economy
Patrick blogs with Martin at http://radicaled.wordpress.com/
You can find him on Facebook and/ or follow him on Twitter as Ollover Krumwall.
To reserve a place at any of these seminars please register at http://www.srhe.ac.uk/events/or telephone +44 (0) 207 427 2350. SRHE events are open to all and free to SRHE members as part of their membership package. The delegate fee for non-members is £45 from. Non-members wishing to join the Society may do so at the time of registration and the delegate fee will be waived. Please note that places must be booked in advance and that a £45 fee for non-attendance will be charged if a place has been reserved but no notice of cancellation/non-attendance has been given in advance.
SRHE Event Manager
Society for Research into Higher Education
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Telephone 0207 427 2350
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