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Frailty in transition? Troubling the norms, boundaries and limitations of transition theory and practice

Gravett, Karen, Kinchin, Ian and Winstone, Naomi (2020) Frailty in transition? Troubling the norms, boundaries and limitations of transition theory and practice Higher Education Research & Development.

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This article focuses on ‘transition’ and how it is understood within higher education. Drawing on data from concept map-mediated interviews at two institutions, we examine the conceptions of transition held by academic and professional staff, who work to support students’ learning into and through higher education. We suggest that normative understandings of transition often draw upon a grand-narrative that orchestrates and reiterates a stereotypic understanding of students’ experiences. Often this narrative involves students’ interpellation into a field of discourse where the subject is constructed as both homogeneous and in deficit: ill-prepared, lacking in independence, as vulnerable and in need of support. However, this study suggests that beneath this discourse lies a more nuanced picture: one where students’ experiences can be conceptualised as diverse and fluid. Moreover, we employ the concept of pedagogic ‘frailty’ to expose the significance of the environments and wider contexts in which students ‘transition’, and to explore the impact of systemic tensions upon students’ experiences. This article further argues that future research should shift discussions away from the deficits of students, and examine how we can make underlying environmental and systemic challenges more explicit, in order to widen our understanding and discussions of these constraints.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Department of Higher Education
Authors :
Date : 10 February 2020
DOI : doi.10.1080/07294360.2020.1721442
OA Location :
Uncontrolled Keywords : Student transition; higher education; pedagogic frailty; concept mapping
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 13 Feb 2020 14:22
Last Modified : 13 Feb 2020 14:22

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