Contesting 'transitions' and (re-)engaging with 'subjectivities' : locating and celebrating the habitus in three versions of 'the first year experience' at Central Queensland University
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Jennifer Simpson, Jeanne Mcconachie, Phyllida Coombes, Geoffrey Danaher, Roberta Harreveld, Patrick Danaher
Instead of the homogeneous and undifferentiated view of ‘the first year experience’ implied by the term ‘transitions’, we prefer to emphasise diversity and heterogeneity in mapping multiple experiences of university life, particularly in ‘the first year’. This mapping includes – in the context of Central Queensland University (CQU) – students in a pre-undergraduate preparatory program with rich life experiences but limited formal education; school leavers and mature age students in a first year undergraduate program; and students with industry and professional experience in a pre-service teacher education program with both undergraduate and graduate entry points. Despite the considerable differences among these ‘first year experiences’, they have in common a focus on the habitus (Bourdieu, 1977, 1990) as a framework for locating and celebrating student and staff subjectivities and hence for maximising student (re-)engagements with university life. The paper illustrates these crucial processes in each of these versions of ‘the first year experience’.