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‘It’s for others to judge’: what influences students’ construction of the ideal student?

Chiu, Y. L. T., Wong, B. ORCID: and Charalambous, M. (2021) ‘It’s for others to judge’: what influences students’ construction of the ideal student? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 45 (10). pp. 1424-1437. ISSN 0309-877X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2021.1945553


Recognising the changing landscape and financial costs, changes in the higher education sector continue to challenge the purpose and operations of universities, notably the shift toward student consumerism. Given this, what it means to be a student in contemporary higher education can evolve and would arguably have implications about the expectations of university students and staff for learning and teaching practice. To promote greater transparency of expectations, this paper develops the concept of the ideal student further with closer look into the spheres of influence that shape university students’ construction of the ideal student. We draw on 23 focus groups with 105 university students to explore the key factors that contribute to how the ideal student is developed and recognised. Our findings indicate that students’ construction of the ideal student is closely shaped by and rooted in their prior educational experiences, interaction with their peers and the curriculum, and perceptions of lecturers, institution and employer expectations. All these influences lead to a fluid and complex negotiation process as students navigate the meanings of being a university student. We conclude with practical implications for learning, teaching and curriculum development in higher education. The paper therefore provides a platform for key stakeholders to discuss different influencing factors as we support student transition and progression and manage their expectations of higher education.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:98763
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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