How do students infer learning norms? What happens if not everyone agrees?

Team: Dr Lillian Smyth, Vritika Chandra, Dr Ken Mavor

Photo by Yasin Yusuf on Unsplash

Part of the influence of social identities on student behaviour is driven by what the student thinks that identity means. What are the norms (i.e. what do we DO, what do we VALUE) and expectations associated with being a commerce student? We know, from previous literature that these norms can be inferred from observing behaviour of peers (i.e. what are the OTHER students doing?). We also know that they can be inferred from explicit expectation-setting communications from group leaders (i.e. what senior students, teachers, researchers and practitioners ADVISE that you do). But we were all students once. We know that what your peers say to do (“come to the party and swot for it later!”) and what your lecturer says to do (“read the material as it’s released and complete the quiz before the next class”) are often not even remotely similar. So how do students resolve mismatches between peer and leader communications about learning norms to decide what it is “we” are doing?

Smyth, Chandra & Mavor (2018)

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