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					I‟ll be there for yoouuuu
The role of friendships supporting student transition
Ed Foster, NTU
Structure

• Friendship & Social integration
• An ice breaker
• HERE Project findings into the impact of friendship on student
  doubters
• Discussion
Friendships & social integration

• Why important


• “Students tend to change their values , behavior and academic
  plans in the direction of the dominant orientation of their peer
  group.”


• Astin (1993)


• Institutional habitus presented through behaviours of students
• Do we collude with low expectations?
Friendships in retention

• Tinto (1993)
• Students are more likely to remain if they are integrated into the
  institution
 – Academic sphere
 – Social sphere



• Combination of prior factors
 – Education, background, goals etc



• Transition obviously more than retention
• Retention evidence is potentially stronger for social integration
 – Christie, Munro & Fisher (2004) leavers – more problems making friends
 – Castles (2004) – support (from anyone) most important predictor of persistence
Where are friends made?

• Halls
• Braxton & Hirschy (2004) Halls most important environment for
  making friends
• Wilcox, Winn & Fyvie-Gauld (2005) – not being in halls creates
  barrier to making friendships
 – Can‟t break into cliques
 – Impact on retention
Perceptions of being a student

• Kuh – no single student identity
• Kember, Li & Lee – associations very local level (groups,
  programme & outwards)
• But
• Holdsworth (2006)
 – Strong stereotypes of what a student is
 – When don‟t fit image, can lead to othering
What is a student?

• Welcome Week Survey (October 2009)
• What words or phrases come to mind when we use the word
  „student‟?
• 1059 students
• 398 mention intellect/ education
• 321 mention social life
• 278 mention money
• 154 mention alcohol


• Two student anecdotes
Icebreaker

• M&M Game
• Free sweeties
 – Toilet roll version
The Rules

• For every sweet chosen
• one idea/ thing that will help engender friendships


• Red/ Brown: During induction
• Yellow: After Christmas
• Blue: in a lecture
• Orange: for students not in halls
• Green: in the Course


• Write it down on post-its and discuss
• 10 minutes
The HERE Project

• One of 7 projects funded by HEFCE/ PHF
• What Works? Student Retention & Success
• NTU, Bournemouth & Bradford


• Two areas


• Why do more students have doubts than leave? What can we learn
  from the doubters?
• Why is there variation between rates of retention amongst
  ostensibly similar programmes?
Transitions Survey (March – May 2009)

• NTU 656 respondents


• 37% doubters
 – 16 eventual withdrawals
 – More female doubters, more male withdrawers
 – Doubters tended to score the experience more lowly


• Why doubt?
 – 263 responses from 219 students
 – 112 told us it was course related
 – 38 student lifestyle
Why did doubters stay?

• 198 responses from 171 doubters
• 55 cite Friends & family
 – Friends at university most important subgroup
 – Wilcox, Winn & Fyvie-Gauld
   • University friends become increasingly important over time

• Then future goals and ambitions
• Determination/ other personal factors
Focus groups

• 21 participants in small groups
• 1 control group of non-doubters
• Non-doubters
 – Felt they belonged
 – “I think it starts when you walk down the street and you see someone and you
   go „hey … I know them from university‟ and it made me feel like I belonged‟


• Non doubters less satisfied with friendships
 – “Our course is mainly group work, a lot of friendship groups had already been
   formed and trying to fit in afterwards” was hard
 – (similar to Wilcox, Winn & Fyvie-Gauld)


• Frustration with peers drinking & partying
Welcome Week

• Change of culture away from Freshers
 – Programme of social activity
 – Change induction programmes


• Opportunities to make friends
• Good pre-arrival communication
• To be reminded about future goals and benefits of the course
• To gain some understanding about what learning and teaching
  would be like
• To have a reasonable timetable
Friendship strategies

• Pre-arrival message boards
• Fresher reps in halls
• Meeting places for Mature, International & Local students
• Wider range of activities (ghost walk, go ape etc)
• Ice breakers
• Small group work
• Independent learning
• Battering down % of lectures
• No cheese & wine
• Increase seminars and small group activity
Second Activity

• Post it notes
• Take a look
• Have a think about 1 activity that you can/ could embed


• We‟ll share some ideas at the end
Conclusion (FWIW)

• Friendships can act as a insulator against the knocks


• Opportunities can be manufactured
 – And for non-traditional students, should be


• May also be important as a route to changing expectations and
  habitus

				
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posted:10/20/2011
language:English
pages:17