Student belonging and engagement has received increasedattention in the context of an expanding and more diverse highereducation student population. Student retention is regarded as apriority with many universities augmenting their retentionstrategies to instil a sense of belonging. This article providesinsights into first year Business Management students'experiences of starting their degrees and retention interventionsat a university in the South of England. It is based on findingsfrom an ongoing study that applied Wenger's social theory oflearning and adopted an appreciative inquiry approach to focusgroup interviewing to investigate students' perceptions. Studentsdeveloped a sense of belonging, constructed learner identities,made sense of their learning and gained confidence, but alsoexperienced instances of tension and frustration that raisequestions about the extent to which sociality practices withinevolving communities of practice can address diverseengagement and identity development needs and mitigatedisengagement.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Teaching in Higher Education on 15/12/2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13562517.2015.1122585
- Student belonging
- communities of practice