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

Lawrence, Jill (2007) Two conceptual models for facilitating learners' transitions to new post-school learning contexts. In: CRLL 2007: The Times They Are A-Changin, 22-24 Jun 2007, Scotland, UK.

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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.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies (Up to 31 Mar 2011)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies (Up to 31 Mar 2011)
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2009 05:26
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: post-school learning
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130213 Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939902 Education and Training Theory and Methodology

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