Two conceptual models for facilitating learners' transitions to new post-school learning contexts

Paper


Lawrence, Jill. 2007. "Two conceptual models for facilitating learners' transitions to new post-school learning contexts." CRLL 2007: The Times They Are A-Changin. Scotland, United Kingdom 22 - 24 Jun 2007 Scotland, UK.
Paper/Presentation Title

Two conceptual models for facilitating learners' transitions to new post-school learning contexts

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorLawrence, Jill
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 4th Biennial International Conference on Researching Transitions in Lifelong Learning (CRLL 2007)
Number of Pages10
Year2007
Place of PublicationScotland, UK
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://crll.gcal.ac.uk/docs/Conf07/fullconfbook.doc
Conference/EventCRLL 2007: The Times They Are A-Changin
Event Details
CRLL 2007: The Times They Are A-Changin
Event Date
22 to end of 24 Jun 2007
Event Location
Scotland, United Kingdom
Abstract

This paper introduces two conceptual models for facilitating transitions to new post-school learning contexts. The theoretical perspectives generated by critical discourse and cross-cultural communication theories underpin the models. Both models are process-orientated and are therefore applicable to a diversity of learning contexts. The first model, the ‘New Learning Framework’ provides a means of identifying (and making explicit) the languages and practices in post-school learning contexts that new and unfamiliar learners need to become familiar with and engage if they are to make a successful transition to the new context. For example, in a higher education (HE) learning context, students need to engage (as well as master and demonstrate, in assessment for instance) course, discipline and faculty languages, academic literacies and numeracies, communication technologies and information, administrative, library and research literacies as well as a multiplicity of new personal (including time and stress management), social and financial languages. Alternatively, in workplace learning contexts, such languages and practices may include organisational literacies, business planning and budgeting practices, culture building, performance appraisal and management systems, employment conditions, mental models, leadership practices and human resources practices like code of conduct protocols, promotion and professional development and training practices. In contrast, inter-cultural contexts may encompass unfamiliar cultural practices and worldviews, including different verbal and non-verbal behaviours, different approaches to conflict, different value orientations and different naming, greeting, work, sporting, wellness/sickness, religious and spiritual practices as well as different ways of knowing and communicating. The second model, ‘The Model for Transition Practices’ presents three practical, dynamic strategies that assist learners to make effective transitions to new learning contexts. These practices include reflective practice, socio-cultural practice and critical practice. Reflective practice, from educational and sociological theory, consists of the capacities of observation – listening to and watching the new context’s behaviours and practices – as well as the capacities for reflection before, in and on practice. Socio-cultural practice, which stems from cross-cultural communication theory, encompasses the practical capabilities of seeking help and information, participating in groups, making social contact, seeking and giving feedback, expressing disagreement and refusing requests. Each of these capabilities is more complex that at first appears and needs to be finely tuned to the particular context being engaged. The verbal and non-verbal ways of seeking help and information or participating in groups vary, for example, from context to context. Critical practice, evolving from critical discourse theory, incorporates critical self-awareness (to look within). Learners need to be aware of their own belief systems and cultural understandings as they enter a new context and reflect on and address any differences they encounter there. Critical practice also involves a critical awareness of the power relationships operating in the context (to look without). Are there hierarchical relationships and assumptions that are tacit and uncontested, yet unhelpful for those trying to make transitions to the new context? For example, in a HE context, are there lecturers and managers who assume that students are the elite students of yesteryear rather than the increasing diversity of students who participate in HE today? The two models are useful in that they conceptualise the processes involved in making effective transitions to new learning contexts. The first model identifies and makes explicit the specific literacies and practices learners need to engage with if they are to communicate confidently in the new context. The second model provides three practical and dynamic strategies that assist learners to accomplish these transitions. Together, the two models provide learners with a means of transforming their practices, of making successful transitions to new learning contexts.

Keywordspost-school learning
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
390114. Vocational education and training curriculum and pedagogy
390409. Learning sciences
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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Kiernan, Eleanor, Lawrence, Jill and Sankey, Michael D.. 2006. "Preliminary essay plans: assisting students to engage academic literacy in a first year communication course." Nulty, Duncan (ed.) 9th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference (FYHE 2006). Gold Coast, Australia 12 - 14 Jul 2006 Brisbane, Australia.
Re-conceptualising attrition and retention: integrating thoretical, research and student perspectives
Lawrence, Jill. 2005. "Re-conceptualising attrition and retention: integrating thoretical, research and student perspectives." Studies in Learning Evaluation Innovation and Development. 2 (3), pp. 16-33.