• Self-agency and Academically High-performing Students’ Success: Towards a Praxis for Academic Support in one South African University

    Samukelisiwe Khumalo, Victor Nnadozie (see profile)
    Digital Humanists, Education and Pedagogy, Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Global & Transnational Studies, Open Access Books Network
    Education, Higher, Student growth (Academic achievement), Bandura, Albert, 1925-2021, Self-efficacy, Ubuntu (Philosophy), South Africa
    Item Type:
    Student agency, academic perfornance, Peer mentoring, student academic development, habitus, student expereince, student success
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    Globally, student support mechanisms focus almost exclusively on academically 'under-performing' students, especially as insofar as academic development practices are concerned. This article makes a case for a shift in approach. Using the context of one country, South Africa, we sought to better understand the strengths that academically high-performing students (AHSs) employ in order to succeed. We drew on a conceptual lens based on Bandura’s theory of the self. Data was collected by means of document analysis, individual interviews and focus group interviews with ten ( n = 10) purposively selected academically high-performing fourth-year undergraduate students in a school of education at one university. The findings show that beyond typical family and institutional factors, the students’ capability of effecting change through intentional and cognitive agentic influences is critical to their success. Importantly though, in finding their self-agentic capabilities, some found mutual support with and for peers who shared in their passion for success. This asserts the relevance of Ubuntu as a concept that underpins the understanding of ‘self’ in this context. The findings are important for theory in problematising Bandura’s self-agentic theory and expounding its application to peer learning support. It is also important for practice because understanding the AHSs’ negotiation of self-agency brings refreshing insight to the student success conundrum.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago


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