Faced with the challenges and complexity of the contemporary world, the Social Educator emerges as a mediator of excellence in the processes of socialization and inclusion of individuals and groups. In this context, it is necessary to perceive the changes and processes involved in the psychosocial development of the young student of the Social Education degree as a result of their experiences in higher education and, thus, to adjust the educational procedures with a view to optimizing student development. It is core function of higher education, with a view to enhancing skills in the framework of a professional profile, preparing for active citizenship, fostering personal and social development and developing a solid and advanced knowledge base (Calvo, 2014; Zabalza, 2011). The scientific literature highlights the positive influence of higher education on the student's psychosocial development, in particular the effect of challenging educational practices and stimulating learning environments (Webber, 2012), the frequency of extracurricular activities, involvement in academic activities, relationships with teachers and peers (Fitch, 1991; Chickering, & Reisser, 1993; Pascarella, 2006; Pascarella, & Terenzini, 2005).
The present study is part of a broader line of research on student maturity processes in order to promote changes in curriculum and pedagogical methods. Therefore, we defined as objectives: i) to understand if there are any significant differences in the autonomy levels (and its dimensions) among 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students; ii) to analyse the autonomy levels, depending on the students' perception of their participation in extracurricular activities; iii) to perceive the autonomy levels, in function of the students' perception of their investment in academic activities; iv) to analyse the autonomy levels, depending on the perception of students interpersonal relations in the institution; v) To delineate strategies of action that promote the development of student autonomy.
Calvo, S. (2014). Evaluando el practicum en Educación Social: acciones de mejora ante la puesta en práctica de los nuevos grados. Revista de Docencia Universitaria, 11 (1), 349-364 Gómez, J. (2008). El grado de educación social en la construcción del espacio europeo de educación superior. Educación XX1, 11, 2008, 103-131. Zazalba, M. (2011). El Practicum en laformación universitária: estado de la cuestión. Revista de Educación, 354, 21-43. Chickering, A. W, & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Fitch, R. T. (1991). The interpersonal values of students at differing levels of extracurricular involvement. Journal of College Student Development, 12, 24-30. Hood, A. B., & Jackson, L. M. (1983). The Iowa Developing Autonomy Inventory (Technical Report). Iowa: University of Iowa, College of Education. Pascarella. T. (2006). How College Affects Students: Ten Directions for Future Research. Journal of College Student Development, 47 (5), 508-520. Pascarella, E., & Terenzini, P. (2005). How college affects students (Vol. 2): A third decade of research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Kuh, G. (2009). What students affairs professionals need to know about student engagement. Journal of College Student Development, 50 (6), 683-706. Ribeiro, E., Amante, M.J., Martins, E., Felizardo, S., Fernandes, R., & Xavier, P. (2016). Student´s perceptions on the personal impact of a social education degree internship. In Z. Bekirogullari, M. Y. Minas, & R. X. Thambusamy (Eds.), The European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 270-277). London: Future Academy. Webber, K. (2012). The Use of Learner-Centered Assessment in US Colleges and Universities. Research in higher education, 53, 201-228.
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