Self, Social Identity & Education

Issues of identity have long been a topic of research in the education context in the sociology of education and pedagogy, but the social identity perspective has some new insights to offer this domain through a social psychological understanding of the self, groups and social systems that is complementary to the sociological and pedagogical perspective.  One main area of activity in this domain has involved examining how our approaches to learning are linked to our discipline-based social identities and dynamically influence each other throughout a course of study (LACES).  We are also interested in the implications of how our discipline-based social identity fits within the self, and the implications for well-being, particularly in intense learning domains such as medical education (Prevalence to Process).

Learning Approaches, Course Experience, and the Self (LACES)

The LACES project is exploring the role of discipline-based social identity, and the normative beliefs about the collective learning approach in a given course, on an individual’s approach to learning in a course, their experience of the course and their learning outcomes, as well as the reciprocal effects on the learner’s integration of the discipline identity into the self.  We examine these effects in the context of many other traditional predictors of learning approach, and int the context of traditional classrooms as well as problem-based learning settings. Read more.

From Prevalence to Process:
Understanding the role of Self and Identity in Medical student Wellbeing

Within the intense domain of medical education it has been known for some time that medical students often experience high levels of stress and also higher negative consequences for wellbeing.  Our interest is in progressing beyond these acknowledgments of prevalence and applying social psychological models to understanding the processes that might buffer or intensify these effects.  We have been examining models of broad self-complexity as well as the specific effects of a strong identification as a medical student.