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Reframing the ‘traditional learner’ into the ‘partner’ in higher education: Conflicting subjectivities and behavioural expectations of the undergraduate ‘student’ in UK universities

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter



The partnership model of learning, in which undergraduates and academics embark on collaborative learning processes and share responsibility for the creation of knowledge, is becoming increasingly popular within UK higher education (HE) institutions. The literature, though, often details barriers for the implementation of effective partnership models and one frequently cited barrier is the traditional hierarchy of teacher-learner relationships. This chapter explores that barrier by detailing the conflict of positioning undergraduates within two opposing subjectivities: the ‘traditional learner’ and the ‘partner’. It discusses the notion of subjectivity and details the construction of what is meant by both the ‘traditional learner’ subjectivity and the ‘partner’ subjectivity. In so doing, the chapter explores the conflict of the two subjectivities in terms of their socially constructed behavioural expectations. This chapter demonstrates a significant conflict between these two subject positions for undergraduates in two post-1992 UK universities. It questions the ability for undergraduates to reconcile the opposing behaviours of these two distinct social roles and demonstrates the necessity of addressing these conflicts in attempts to foster effective partnerships between undergraduates and academics.