The role of reflection after placement experiences to develop self-authorship among higher education students
Enriching Higher Education Students' Learning through Post-work Placement Interventions
School of Business and Law
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020. Innovation calls for graduates to be critical practitioners who can challenge the status quo, engage in complex problem-solving, and create new ideas to enhance economic and social well-being. These capabilities require self-authorship, confidence, maturity and authority to enact their vision in an increasingly complex world of work. According to Baxter Magolda (1998), a self-authored individual is no longer dominated by the ideology of others and can make meaning critically and independently using their own knowledge, an ambitious expectation of new graduates. In this chapter, theoretical ideas about self-authorship are discussed that highlight its complex relationship with social structures and established professional practices. We explore students’ progress towards self-authorship in two Australian universities from those students who recently completed an authentic workplace learning experience. Gathering qualitative data from collaborative reflective activities during workshops, we examined how students interpreted and drew meaning from their workplace experiences. Progression towards self-authorship was evident yet students largely remained bounded by others in their host placement in their thinking and behaviour. Work placements proved useful for gauging and developing self-authorship, exposing students to situations which demanded an internal voice and invoking, in partnership with deliberate reflective activities, complex meaning-making of their learning experiences. We present collaborative strategies for educators and industry to enhance self-authorship among higher education students.