Undergraduate Student Perception of Caring and Trust: How Those May Relate to Student Engagement in Self-Directed Learning

Undergraduate Student Perception of Caring and Trust: How Those May Relate to Student Engagement in Self-Directed Learning

Pamela Lee Grant (Central Methodist University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8018-8.ch002
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The purpose of this chapter is to provide information about the use of caring and trust within the undergraduate classroom as it may apply to self-directed learning. Some evidence of the relationship between caring and trust is provided through a recent study by the author. Malcolm S. Knowles' Designs for Adult Learning demonstrates the use of both caring and trust within the self-directed learning framework. The method used by Knowles takes a caring approach to student learning that is based in trust between the educator and student.
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March 7th, 2014 concluded a study conducted by Purdue University and Lumina Foundation; it was the inaugural Gallup-Purdue Index. The title of the study was Great Jobs, Great Lives, which had more than 30,000 college graduate participants (typically from their first job out of college) across the United States. There were two elements investigated by the study, workplace engagement and well-being. Workplace engagement had 12 elements that predict workgroup and employee performance. Based on the responses to the 12 elements, workers could be categorized as engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged. Engagement involves employees being intellectually and emotionally connected to workplace. Well-being is about the interaction and interdependency of many aspects in life. There were five views of well-being considered and 10 questions that gauged well-being in those five elements. The five views or elements of well-being are: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. The study provided insight to college graduates experience while they were in school. Where the student attended college hardly mattered compared to the actual experience. For instance, if the student had a professor who cared about them as a person, it more than doubled the odds of their being engaged at work (Gallup-Purdue Index Report, 2014). Ray and Kafka (2014) noted that just 3% of all the graduates studied had the types of experience while in college that Gallup found strongly related to great jobs and great lives after graduation.

Overall, the Gallup-Purdue Index noted that 39% of the college graduates who were employed full time were engaged in the workplace. However, 49% were not engaged and 12% were disengaged from the workplace (Gallup-Purdue Index Report, 2014). Experiences in college that contribute to engagement include: internships or applying what they learned in class to workplace experience; active involvement in extracurricular activities and organizations; working a semester or more on a project that was part of employment preparation. Only 6% of the college graduates strongly agreed that they experienced all three elements during their college education.

“College graduates expect that a college education will lead to a better life” (Gallup-Purdue Index Report, 2014, p. 14). Only 11% of graduates reaped the cumulative advantages of thriving in all five elements of well-being. One in six, graduates are not thriving in any of the elements of well-being. Financial well-being is likely to suffer from student loans and just beginning their professional careers. “Only 4% of graduates who owed between $20,000 and $40,000 are thriving in all areas, compared with 14% of those who did not take out loans” (Gallup-Purdue Index Report, 2014, p. 17). The connection between student debt and college experience may provide insight into student retention, engagement, and overall well-being.

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