“A place for learning that feels like home”: Meeting diverse students learning needs to promote business sustainability

Book chapter


Wilson, D. 2024. “A place for learning that feels like home”: Meeting diverse students learning needs to promote business sustainability. in: Del Baldo, M., Baldarelli, M-G. and Righini, E. (ed.) Place Based Approaches to Sustainability Volume 1: Ethical and Spiritual Foundations of Sustainability Cham, Switzerland. Palgrave Macmillan.
Chapter title“A place for learning that feels like home”: Meeting diverse students learning needs to promote business sustainability
AuthorsWilson, D.
Abstract

An ability to enable students to feel at home in their learning environment, is intrinsic to educational sustainability. This topic is recognised as being one of the most critical change schemes that challenges learning institutions such as those in the realms of Higher Education (HE), not least universities.
Consequently, it is hardly surprising to learn that there is growing interest in the need to explore issues relating to Sustainability Development in education from the students` perspective. Furthermore, as Jickling (2000), warned, sustainable development is a concept that “critics have argued is an inappropriate focal point for developing curriculum”. This is because it is regarded as being “too normative, ambiguous, and ineffective at solving the complex problems” (Jickling, 2000) that future generations of students are likely to face (Jickling, 2000), particularly from an emotional perspective.
Notwithstanding, this is an area of research recognised as being one that is under-developed. Furthermore, research evidence suggests that within the paradigm of HE, there is a tendency to focus less on affective outcomes such as students’ values, and more on cognitive skills namely, knowledge and understanding. These are research gaps that this paper aims to address, courtesy of the study that reflects its focus.
Nonetheless, an ongoing increase in diversity among cohorts of students in recent times, highlights the need to gain a better understanding of what would encourage students of difference, to want to stay in their chosen learning environment.
The findings of a questionnaire survey initially conducted from 2017 to 2018, which captures the responses of 4,238 national and international undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral Higher Education students, provides some answers to what might be regarded as a pertinent question.
The aim of this study was to identify diverse university students preferred learning and teaching approaches and methods, what they regarded as learning effectively, what they believed motivates them to want to learn and, what they perceived as the barriers to their learning.
The findings of this qualitative and quantitative study, revealed that respect recognised as a culturally situated, core commonly shared value for all, was ranked in the top three most significant factors in enabling diverse university students to feel at home in their learning environment, which also nurtured a sense of belonging.
The students who participated in this study confirmed that being taught by someone who respects them was their preferred teaching and learning approach. They also said learning effectively was subject to their teachers treating them with respect, which they said would also motivate them to want to learn.
Respect or lack thereof primarily from the participants teachers, was ranked by the students in this study, as being one of the key barriers to their ability to learn effectively in the classroom.
The researcher was able to draw on these findings to promote greater awareness and understanding of cultural meanings of respect among diverse university students. They also helped to identify how these meanings manifest in behaviours in the classroom to inform teaching practices.
These findings were also used to develop the range of inclusive interventions created by the researcher. These were piloted among lecturers to enable universities to know how to make students feel that they belong, and in so doing, promote sustainability in education.
This is an ongoing study consequently additional data will be utilised to add to future sustainability development discourses and diversity debates.

KeywordsEducation, Sustainability, Respect, Belonging
Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Research GroupDiversity and Gender group
Book titlePlace Based Approaches to Sustainability Volume 1: Ethical and Spiritual Foundations of Sustainability
EditorsDel Baldo, M., Baldarelli, M-G. and Righini, E.
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of publicationCham, Switzerland.
SeriesPalgrave Studies in Sustainable Business In Association with Future Earth
ISBN
Hardcover9783031416057
Paperback9783031416088
Electronic9783031416064
ISSN2662-1320
Electronic2662-1339
Publication dates
Print07 Apr 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Mar 2023
Accepted22 Dec 2022
Output statusAccepted
Copyright Statement

This version of the chapter has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use (https://www.springernature.com/gp/open-research/policies/accepted-ma...), but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections.

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LanguageEnglish
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