ABS346 - Struggling for a culture of development and agency in student work

3.3 Interventionist methodologies: bridging theory and practice
4:10 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Higher education involves ways of thinking and activities that are sufficiently outside the “real world” to have been dubbed the “ivory tower” with both positive and negative connotations. The academic culture is diverse, yet to newcomers, its complexity tends to be lost in a series of assignments and tasks that obscure the ideologies underlying them. The difficulties of new students are particularly apparent in community colleges—the two-year institutes in the United States that serve as a mix of vocational training and entry points for four-year institutes. In an effort to help students become enculturated to academic culture, a research group is in its sixth year, but the struggle to reveal individual and group development is still floundering as the struggles to keep the group functioning take precedence. In this paper, this struggle becomes the focus: The structuring of the group by the author is the topic, examining artifacts and video recordings of meetings to consider how I have changed in my efforts to fix problems and respond to individuals and group dynamics because I have been the only constant over these six years. Qualitative analysis seeks themes, styles, and structures that I attempted to impose as well as the specific student actions that were involved in their emergence, guided by the question of what is development and what is simply change. Have the group and I “developed” or simply responded to the changing context? What might this even mean?
LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
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