Professional belonging in education and work

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


In this paper, we address the challenges of recruitment and drop-outs in the so-called “welfare” educations (teacher-, preschool-, social work-, and nursing educations). High turnover rates among students and newly educated professionals are consistently described as a profound problem in the Nordic countries challenging the ambition of high quality welfare institutions (Damvad, 2021; Nordregio, 2021). Political measures to reduce retention primarily focus on preventing student drop-out, ignoring the importance of professional development. In this paper, we argue that studies of professional retention must include both perspectives. Hence, the research question driving this paper is: How can the ”welfare” educations support students’ sense of belonging in education and professions in ways that contributes to both retention and professional development?

The study departures in Vincent Tinto’ paradigmatic theory on student how academic and social integration foster retention (Tinto 1993, 2017). However, the work of Tinto is developed in an American context of higher education and is insensitive to the context of professional programs in higher education (Roberts, 2013). In order to overcome this blind spot in sociological retention theory, this paper develops a new theoretical framework that combines Tinto’s theoretical model with theories on educational coherence, professions and professionality (Freidson, 2001; Grimen, 2008; Hjort, 2005; Heggen and Terum, 2013; Smeby and Heggen 2013). We argue that while a student may thrive socially and academically, incongruence and lack of professional coherence in educational trajectories may result in turnover intentions or even drop-out. To further develop this argument, the paper explores how professional integration in addition to academic and social integration, contributes to students sense of belonging as well as their professional development.

By bridging the literature on academic, social and professional integration with the literature on coherence and professional development this study contributes to the important debate on high quality professional education in the Nordic countries.

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Publikationsdato16 mar. 2023
StatusUdgivet - 16 mar. 2023
BegivenhedNERA Conference 2023: Digitalization and Technologies in Education Opportunities and Challenges - OsloMet, Oslo, Norge
Varighed: 15 mar. 202317 mar. 2023
Konferencens nummer: 2023


KonferenceNERA Conference 2023