Using Social Identity Mapping in Personal Tutoring to aid students in transition into and throughout HE

Alison Raby (University of Lincoln)
Ian Pownall (University of Lincoln)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

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Session Outline

Background: The idea of social identity was introduced by Tajfel (1972) to consider how people see themselves in intergroup contexts and how that defines their position in society. Each group that a person is a member of holds significance and value. A person’s social identity recognises that who they are is partly determined by group memberships which internalise into values, beliefs and norms or behaviour (Tajfel, 1972). When someone experiences a sense of identity within a group, they are more inclined to both give and receive support and help from that group. According to Ng et al (2018), this then leads to a sense of acceptance and self-worth. An international student’s values and norms are likely to be different from those in the new groups they will encounter at university, and this can lead to both negative and positive feelings, in a similar way to the experience of culture shock. SIM could therefore have a part in helping students to transition into their new social and learning environments. SIM is currently being used within personal tutoring at Lincoln with the aim of helping students (both international and home) to transition successfully into HE culture. The SIM activities encourage students to identify, e.g., gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, that can define who a person is, aiming to raise consciousness of a sense of self and identity within different contexts. Some individuals may challenge and question norms of group behaviour whilst others do not, possibly due to strong personal conviction, caring for others, the need for individuality and at the same time group affiliations, and how individuals then process information from new environments (Pownall, Kennedy and Acquaye, 2019).

The presentation will describe the activities carried out:
The student activities used at Lincoln involve the students identifying the different groups they are a part of and how much that helps or hinders their studies. The aim is to promote student understanding of identity and sense of self, and how this is developed over time, especially within the context of learning. The activities encourage reflection and discussion that should enable students to recognise how identities are socially constructed. Where they identify difficulties, personal tutors could propose actions to address these with them.

  • Background around Social Identity Mapping
  • Description of the activities carried out
  • Data gathered from student activities
  • Evaluation of data/activities
  • Conclusion – key learning points: how SIM can be used to aid student transition, how students from different cultures respond differently , how this can aid tutors to support students more effectively

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
P2 - Appreciate students’ views and cultures, maintain a student-centred approach and mindset, and treat students with sensitivity and fairness
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
P1 - Create and support environments that consider the needs and perspectives of students, and respect individual learners