The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: Social mobility in the slipstream: first-generation students’ narratives of university participation and family

Emma Wainwright and Mike Watts (Department of Education, Brunel University London)

Published in Educational Review
7 September 2018

Abstract

In recent years, increasing research attention has been devoted to “first-generation” or “first-in-family” university students. For a sizeable cohort of students there is still little or no family tradition of supporting new university entrants into, and few expectations of, the novel and unfamiliar territory of university life and work. Contextualised by UK policy concerns over limited widening participation and social mobility, we extend current research on first-generation university students with an enhanced focus on family and home. Drawing on extended narratives from eight first-generation students, this paper explores the extent to which these students can have a “slipstream” effect back upon the home, on their siblings and, in some instances, on their parents. Informed by understandings of family learning and social learning theory, the concept of familial role-modelling is used to consider the transmission of learning within the family. With familial cultures of learning a key driver for young people’s ambitions and aspirations, by focusing on the under-researched links between home, family, and university, we stress the importance of further exploring the experiences of first-generation students. This, we argue, is necessary for individual universities, the HE sector, and government to better acknowledge and address.

Read the full article here.


View more open access national and international journal articles.

Featured publications
The Critical Interventions Framework Part 3 (CIF 3) focuses on evaluative studies which provide details of the impacts of specific interventions on equity groups in relation to access to and success in higher education.
A case study documenting the transition of one Indigenous student, Robbie, from an underprivileged school located in the Western suburbs of Sydney to an urban Australian university.