Rethinking how we learn

Learning involves the adaptation of existing knowledge to accommodate new information, and is ultimately at the heart of a person's capacity to change. Yet, we often know little about why this process sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, and failures in learning are often deemed to be the sole responsibility of the learner. My research explores learning outcomes as a result of the social dynamic between the learner and their learning environment – considered broadly in terms of the teacher, the learning environment, or peer dynamics. Using a social identity approach, I propose that the socially constituted nature of the self provides important insights into the ability of the self to acquire and retain new information, in other words,
to learn. 

– Sarah Bentley, 2016


Read more about my research here

Read more about my field work here

find out MORE ABOUT MY collaborators HERE

This web site is authored by Sarah Bentley, who is currently conducting her PhD at The University of Queensland, and under the supervision of Alex Haslam and Katie Greenaway. The research described here is championed by Sarah, but represents the collaborative input of her supervisors, mentors and colleagues. 

For ‘knowledge’ is never neutral: it carries the interests and concerns of particular sociocultural groupings. For school learners the knowledge offered in their classroom appears at first sight to ‘belong’ to the teachers who convey it. As such it may seem attractive to some pupils for the very same reason that it seems alien to others.
— Phillida Salmon, 2003
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So what are we doing to try and improve the learning outcomes of students who may be more vulnerable in a traditional educational setting? Read about an applied intervention which we have trialled at
The University of Queensland...

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Watch my latest 3MT presentation – 'Learning from a Social Perspective' 

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