Reframing as Defining in Student Affairs: Co-Curricular Learning Through a Different Lens

Reframing as Defining in Student Affairs: Co-Curricular Learning Through a Different Lens

Melissa L. Rands (Minneapolis College of Art and Design, USA) and Ann M. Gansemer-Topf (Iowa State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7768-4.ch005
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the design concept of framing and the ways in which student affairs practitioners can apply the process of reframing in their work with students and in their assessment efforts. Similar to the way designers use frames to define the problem situation, students can be prompted and coached to view their curricular and co-curricular learning experiences in new ways. This chapter applies learning sciences theory and design concepts to student affairs assessment practice, beginning with the importance of reframing for student affairs and student learning. The chapter then employs transformative learning theory and Fink's taxonomy to understand and explain the use and importance of reframing. The authors utilize literature from the design and architecture fields to describe and illustrate the concept of reframing, drawing parallels to how student affairs practitioners can apply these concepts to assess and improve student learning.
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Main Focus Of The Chapter

Students’ definitions and sense-making of their learning experiences influence their personal and educational goals and their evaluation of their progress towards these goals (Mezirow, 1997). Within the classroom, students use scores on assignments and grades as proxies for learning and goal achievement. Student affairs professionals also provide significant learning experiences but may lack these formal systems that help students recognize or evaluate their learning (Kerr et al., 2020). Students may fail to consider the learning they gain from their co-curricular activities; thus, overlooking or minimizing the value of these experiences. Additionally, when this learning is not made explicit or documented, administrators and faculty often undervalue the importance of student affairs within their institutions. We posit that through the process of reframing (Dorst, 2010; Schön, 1984), student affairs professionals can address both of these challenges: (a) assisting students to identify their co-curricular learning experiences, and (b) demonstrating the value of student affairs. Reframing affords opportunities for students to design and articulate their own transformative, co-curricular experiential learning opportunities according to their own interests, meanings, and purposes. By documenting this learning, student affairs professionals can illustrate their role in educating students and, subsequently, can more comprehensively demonstrate the value of a postsecondary education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Fink’s Taxonomy: A classification of types of learning that includes six categories of learning: foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring, learning how to learn.

Assessment: The systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improvement (formative assessment) or to judge the quality or worth of the program (summative assessment).

Design Thinking: A framework of mental processes designers go through to solve design problems (Kimball, 2011 AU33: The in-text citation "Kimball, 2011" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Transformative Learning: The process of effecting change in a frame of reference or the structure of assumptions and belief systems through which meaning is made from experience ( Mezirow, 1997 ).

Reflective Practice: The ability to reflect on and learn from experience in a process of continuous learning ( Schön 1984 AU34: The citation "Schön 1984" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Reframing: Viewing situations, events, relationships, and experiences through a different perspective that results in new thinking or behaviors.

Donald Schön: (1930-1997). A philosopher and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who developed the concept of reflective practice and researched learning systems within organizations and communities.

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