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Theme: Student Populations and Diversity

Reframing the First Year Experience:
The critical role of ‘recognition work’ in achieving curricular justice*

Henk Eijkman, Doctoral Student
Division of Communication and Education,
University of Canberra
Senior Consultant/Senior Lecturer, NSW Police College

For many non-mainstream students, the First Year Experience (FYE) constitutes an induction into an esoteric community of practice. It represents a fundamental challenge to their social identity, and as such is often fraught with debilitating frustrations and failure. This paper, centred on an in-service diploma course for police officers as a case study, explores the nature of this challenge, and formulates a response that promotes structural equity in educational outcomes. It argues for the reframing the FYE around ‘recognition work’ - the making visible by students and educators, of who they are and what they are doing vis-a-vis academic Discourses. This reconceptualisation allows us to foreground issues of Discourse dissonance and construct equitable designs for learning. This case study illustrates the need for a critical reframing and its broader relevance to educational praxis in mainstream as well as professional education courses in higher education.

*The views expressed in this paper are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSW Police nor of Charles Sturt University

Full Paper in MS Word

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