In 2011, the Irish government published the ‘National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030’ which made two recommendations related to the area of transition to third-level education. The first of these stated that:
- Higher education institutions should prepare first-year students better for their learning experience, so they can engage with it more successfully (p.18).
The second (recommendation number 6), recommends that:
- Both undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes should develop the generic skills needed for effective engagement in society and in the workplace (p.18).
Although these recommendations are incorporated across undergraduate modules, a need was identified to have an accompanying module that explicitly addressed these goals in students’ first semester in college. This module examines how to guide students towards the effective management of their own learning and development. It introduces students to the academic and broader skills required for success in their new academic journey and beyond.
It also examines the language that is used in education so that students better understand the language and become more sensitive to how it influences thinking. Education texts and
programmes contain many terms that can be confusing for those who are new to the area. Examples of such terms are child-centred, active learning, ability grouping. Other terms are
familiar but shape our understanding of education in ways that are often unquestioned. Knowing the language of education and how it shapes our thinking about education is important for people who work in any area of education.