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Prudence Fry

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Acquiring a new discourse: Using action research to explore a study group for mature-aged open entry students in their first semesters at university

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Many mature-aged open-entry students are very apprehensive about what, for them, is the unknown practice of writing for university. Over three years of action research, Ms Fry developed a study group concurrent with students’ first semesters. The group was designed to address some of the sociocultural, academic, and attitudinal challenges these students experienced as they engaged with their academic writing. Pedagogy involved working together through a writing process, using guided discovery learning, reflecting collaboratively about university practices. The study group provided the most effective support for developing students’ confidence as writers when the first meeting preceded the semester. As participants joined with a community of like-minded peers, many began to negotiate new identities as successful students who belonged on a university campus. Ms Fry's research highlighted the need to address mature-aged students’ transitions as a holistic process of acquiring familiarity with the values and practices of a new culture.

Professor Lisa Emerson
Dr Gillian Skyrme

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