Enhancing Success at University: Understanding our Students Through Their Learning Careers
This article discusses a study that started from the premise that we can better support our students when we know who they are. The study used narrative analysis to explore reasons for success for undergraduate business students in a New Zealand university. Drawing on the work of Bourdieu and the concept of learning careers (Bloomer & Hodkinson, 2000) the study gained insights into the students’ educational journeys, the development of an educated habitus (Nash, 2002) and the importance of the development of social, academic and emotional capital on the journey towards success. The study reinforced findings about the non-linear paths to and through university of some students, and the importance of parental emotional support in student success. It demonstrated the usefulness of the concept of learning careers to better understand who our students are, and consequently how to better support them to succeed.