engage - Is ‘mattering’ a more helpful way of thinking about student belonging at university?
From Andrew Street
Peter Felten, Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and Professor of History, Elon University, USA and Heidi Weston, Undergraduate Researcher, Elon class of 2023 (History and Education), Elon University, USA
The construct of “belonging” is commonly used to understand and explain student learning and experiences at university, but belonging has limitations, perhaps most significantly related to students with historically marginalized identities in higher education. In this talk we explore “mattering,” a concept related to but distinct from belonging: “Mattering is the feeling of being significant and important to other people” (Flett et al., 2019, p. 667), with implications for student learning and well-being. Drawing on interviews with students from historically marginalized identities at three U.S. institutions, we will consider what contributes to students’ sense of mattering, the implications of mattering for equity, teaching, and student experiences in higher education, and also how mattering, unlike belonging, appears to be transferable between and beyond academic contexts.