A Phenomenology of Student Success: Compassionate approaches for building confidence and supporting transitions

Katherine Kruger (University of Sussex)
Emily Baker (University of Sussex)

Monday, April 4, 2022 4:00 PM - 4:45 PM

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Session Outline

Relationship building between students and their academic advisors is crucial to the process of academic socialisation, promotion of authentic graduate attributes, and for students to manage key points of transition in their academic journey. This workshop considers how Hao’s (2011) “critical, compassionate pedagogies" can be viewed through a phenomenological lens in advising sessions, to both recognise structural disadvantage, take action to reduce it and transform student experience.

Our experience with Foundation Year students is that they arrive at University with different histories and habits which orientate them in specific directions and fix their expectations. This workshop will explore the potential of ‘critical/compassionate’ advising in practice to reorient students by fostering a working relationship centred around familiarity, trust and connection. Workshop participants will unpack the mechanics of confidence building by using storytelling as a method for reframing histories and habits to grow the advising relationship. Workshop content will draw on our own experiences of successful techniques for supporting the transition of Foundation Year students into Higher Education, whilst providing participants with an opportunity to share case studies of best practice around the role of trusting relationships and compassion in confidence building.

Through a combination of whole group discussion, Padlet contributions, and small group activities focused on example case studies this workshop aims to:

  1. Discuss the uses of critical/compassionate pedagogy for fostering a strong and trusting relationship between advisors and students.
  2. Explore how storytelling works in practice as a technique for supporting students to manage their expectations and build confidence in transition.
  3. Share best practice around how the advising relationship can be used to grow student confidence, with a particular focus on supporting students to manage their expectations and build confidence in transition.

Workshop Outline

  • 5-min presentation: outlines the necessity of confidence building in supporting students to manage transitions. Provides examples of how we have used critical/compassionate pedagogy in our own advising.
  • 10-min break out room discussion: share best practice on how participants have used a compassionate approach in their advising. To support discussion participants will be asked to complete prompting questions on a Padlet wall.
  • 15-min feedback: whole group discussion.
  • 10-min try the storytelling technique in breakout rooms: participants given 3 different student case studies and asked to choose one and tell the story using a strengths-based approach to reframe that student’s experiences.
  • 5-min feedback: how useful they found that activity and share other tips for confidence building techniques that work to change the story that the student tells about themselves.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
R1 - Build advising and tutoring relationships through empathetic listening and compassion for students, and be accessible in ways that challenge, support, nurture, and teach
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality