An exploration of the educational engagement practices of first generation disadvantaged students at a university

Norodien-Fataar, Najwa (2016-10-31)

Thesis (DEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This dissertation focuses on the educational engagement practices of first generation disadvantaged students at a higher education institution. It responds to the question: How do disadvantaged students use their resources to navigate the university and optimise their education? The starting assumption of this dissertation is that research in higher education lacks a comprehensive account of the resources and cultural capital that disadvantaged students bring with them to university study. This is based on the view that disadvantaged students possess valuable resources and assets that are not recognised by higher education institutions. The dissertation is presented in the form of three articles and an Introduction and Conclusion chapter, which serve as its wraparound chapters. The Introduction chapter gives an account of the conceptual underpinnings of the dissertation as well as the rationale and aims for the study. The Conclusion chapter provides an analysis of the main conceptual arguments of the dissertation in response to the main research question. It includes a summary of the intellectual contribution of the research study on which the dissertation is based. Methodologically, the three articles are based on a qualitative study on selected students at one university in Cape Town. The first article focused on the pre-university pathways of disadvantaged students for gaining entry into university study. The second article discussed the ways in which the students engaged with the institutional spaces of the university to establish their educational engagements. The third article concentrated on how the students engaged in their learning at the university. The theoretical framework for the study was informed by Bourdieu’s theory of practice and the associated concepts of field, hysteresis, capital and habitus. Based on the three articles, I offer the view that the selected disadvantaged students developed a particular ‘logic of educational engagement practice’ which placed them in a position to construct a pathway for successful engagement at the university. I conclude the dissertation by arguing that the students in this study developed mediating capacity to engage in their university education and that they went on to establish horizontal field-based engagement practices that enabled them accumulate the capital necessary to engage with the university’s formal educational processes. Finally, I present the argument that the students worked out how to achieve success in their studies via embodied learning practices that were key to the formation of a successful learning habitus at the university.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie verhandeling fokus op die opvoedkundige betrokkenheidspraktyke van eerste generasie benadeelde studente by ʼn hoër onderwysinrigting. Dit is in reaksie op die vraag: Hoe gebruik benadeelde studente hul hulpbronne om hul opsies by die universiteit te verken ten einde hul opvoeding te maksimaliseer? Die uitgangspunt van hierdie studie is dat navorsing in hoëronderwys nie ʼn omvattende weergawe bied omtrent die hulpbronne en kulturele kapitaal wat benadeelde studente vir hul studies na die universiteit bring nie. Dit is gebaseer op die siening dat benadeelde studente waardevolle hulpbronne en bates besit wat nie erken word binne hoër onderwysinstellings nie. Die studie word in die vorm van drie artikels, sowel as ʼn Inleiding en Slothoofstuk aangebied, wat die bevindinge van die tesis samevat en afrond. Die Inleidingshoofstuk bied ʼn uiteensetting van die konseptuele onderbou van die studie, asook die rasionaal en doelstellings van die studie. Die Slothoofstuk is ‘n aanbieding van die gevolgtrekkings en verskaf ʼn ontleding van die belangrikste konseptuele argumente van die verhandeling in antwoord op die hoofnavorsingsvraag. Dit sluit in ʼn opsomming van die intellektuele bydrae van die navorsing waarop die verhandeling gebaseer is. Metodologies is die drie artikels gebaseer op kwalitatiewe navorsing oor geselekteerde studente by ʼn universiteit in Kaapstad. Die eerste artikel fokus op die uitdagings wat benadeelde studente moes oorkom ten einde toegang tot universiteitstudie te verkry. Die tweede artikel bespreek die maniere waarop hierdie studente betrokke raak in die institusionele ruimtes van die universiteit om hul opvoedkundige betrokkenheid te vestig. Die derde artikel konsentreer op hoe die studente betrokke geraak het by hul leer en onderrig aan die universiteit. Die teoretiese raamwerk van die studie is gebaseer op Bourdieu se praktykteorie, sowel as die gepaardgaande konsepte van veld, histerese, kapitaal en habitus. Op grond van die drie artikels, kom ek tot die slotsom dat die geselekteerde benadeelde studente ʼn bepaalde ‘logika van opvoedkundige betrokkenheidspraktyke’ ontwikkel het, wat hulle in staat stel om ʼn basis te skep vir suksesvolle betrokkenheid by die universiteit. Ek sluit die studie af deur aan te voer dat die studente in hierdie studie die kapasiteit vir bemiddeling suksesvol ontwikkel het om aktief betrokke te raak in hul universiteitsopleiding. Voorts is hulle in staat om horisontale veldgebaseerde betrokkenheidspraktyke te vestig wat hulle in staat stel om die kapitaal te verwerf wat benodig was om betrokke te raak by formele opvoedkundige prosesse. Ten slotte, argumenteer ek dat hierdie studente strategieë ontwerp hoe om sukses in hul studies te behaal via beliggaamde leerpraktyke wat die sleutel is tot die vorming van ʼn suksesvolle leerhabitus aan die universiteit.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100175
This item appears in the following collections: