Mullen, Jane, Hatton, Jean and Frankland, Sharon (2011) Transformative Learning:the start of the journey? In: 6th European Conference on the First Year Experience, 19th-20th June 2011, Manchester University. (Unpublished)

This paper explores the connection between the concept of self esteem and the students’ perceived control in their first two terms at university (Stupnisky et al 2007). We want to see how important previous experience and students’ self esteem is and the interplay these factors have on student engagement with their course and 1st year placements. Our research examines the transformative nature of higher education and the development of new frames of reference, as they seek to find meaning in their first year of study (Mezirow, 2000).
The students are on three undergraduate courses that start placements within the first term. The paper explores questionnaire results obtained from over eighty students on their self esteem and perceived control related to both their academic and placement experiences. This data is enriched by further in-depth semi structured interviews conducted with twelve students, which allows for a closer examination of the transformative process and factors that directly impact on the way students construct both academic and vocational ‘meaningful knowledge and skills’ (Choy, 2009:66).

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