HEFi Reading Group: Supporting students' transition into higher education

Tuesday 31 May 2022 (10:00-11:00)


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Kinsella, M., Wyatt, J., Nestor, N., Rackard, S., & Last, J. (2022). Supporting students’ transition into higher education: Motivation enhancement strategies. ACCESS: Contemporary Issues in Education, 42(1), 3-20. https://doi.org/10.46786/ac22.8193.


In this article, we explore first-year students’ transition into higher education (HE), focusing on the motivational factors that enhance their engagement. We argue that Student Support Professionals (SSPs) can play a pivotal role in heightening student motivation, given the broad range of academic, administrative, and pastoral responsibilities that this role entails. Against this background, we ask two questions: Firstly, how should we understand student motivation with specific regard to its antecedents, manifestations, and consequences? Secondly, what motivation-enhancement strategies can SSPs integrate into their practice to build a productive relationship with students? Drawing on self-determination theory (SDT) insights, we provide a taxonomy of student motivation, arguing that: Motivation exists in a continuum of selfregulation, motivation is contextual, motivation is multidimensional, and motivation is causally significant. Building on this taxonomy we offer practical guidance to SSPs who are looking to catalyse students’ intrinsic motivation, identifying three specific motivational enhancement strategies, namely: Fostering competence by establishing realistic expectations between oneself and students; fostering relatedness by providing resources for holistic student engagement; and fostering autonomy by empowering students in their decision-making. We argue that central to SSPs’ ability to foster engagement is possessing a conceptual and experiential understanding of student  motivation, which can heighten their ability to respond to students’ needs. SSPs should approach this process of motivation enhancement as collaborative—working with students to discover both motivational impediments and motivation enhancing resources to better engage with their HE experience.


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