The emergence of “I”, “you” and “us” identities for, in and through work placements

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
0 908557 89 2

A study was conducted into the perceptions of key stakeholders involved in a 12 month co-operative education (co-op) placement program within a business information systems degree found in an Australian-based university. Participants were asked for their views on their needs, expectations and actual outcomes from co-op placement programs. Uncovered was the diversity of co-op placement settings, the uniqueness and value differentiation of individuals involved, and the breadth of opportunities for learning, professional formation and individual development. There was also evidence of the emergence of the relational and social nature of self-determination and multiple “I”, “you” and “us” identities. Students developed senses of self through actively engaging in the co-constructed and co-participative practice of exercising agency, to emerge as young professionals. It is proposed universities look to preparing their students for co-op with curriculum design that builds self-awareness of “I” identities through guided reflection; facilitate the development of ‘you’ identities through active engagement with others; and promote opportunities for developing the ‘us” identities through nurturing and growing communities and practice. Such a model necessitates the involvement of organisations and universities at local (micro), workgroup (meso) and management (macro) levels.

Keywords: identity development, curriculum design, relationship development, agency, co-operative education 

The emergence of “I”, “you” and “us” identities for, in and through work placements

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Henschke, Kathy