The role of approachability in fostering student-centred learning in Indonesian undergraduate graphic design courses

  • Rosa Karnita

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research looks at the need to create a better implementation of student-centred learning in Indonesia by creating a ‘safe and comfortable psychological’ space for Indonesian students working independently and collaboratively at individual or group level in undergraduate graphic design courses. It is argued that without such a safe space, students may feel unable to present their work
to its fullest and unable to disclose their ideas or learning issues. This research has identified the approachability of the tutor as a key element of this space, as it allows a trusting relationship to be developed between the student and tutor. Without a good relationship, feedback provided by tutors may be seen as hostile and critical by students who may, in turn, become disheartened and not
then reflect on recommendations, creating a cycle of mutual dissatisfaction.

Initial observations, interviews and questionnaire in Indonesia and the UK, and focus groups and a teaching intervention in Indonesia, all pointed to the need to provide an environment in which students felt able to share their thoughts about design and the learning process. A questionnaire developed by Schaub-De Jong et al. (2011) was used to examine how tutors provide reflective learning in small groups. The results showed that tutors, especially in Indonesia maintained a
‘distance’ from their students, who in turn rated them as unapproachable.

Therefore, this research aimed to understand more about how approachability is viewed by Indonesian undergraduate graphic design students and how this could be used to develop safe learning environments. Mindful of the need to develop culturally sensitive interventions to foster approachability, the results from an online survey designed to capture Indonesian students’ views concerning approachability, were fed back to tutors during action learning sets, providing them with an opportunity to discuss their teaching styles and develop ways of increasing approachability. Following the tutors’ efforts to improve this, qualitative research instruments were used to gather student feedback. The results showed that students valued the changes the tutors had made and
that the perceived increase in approachability had enhanced their confidence and motivation to reflect on their work. It is therefore concluded that fostering approachability is an essential step in creating safe learning environments.

The contributions to knowledge include: the identification of shortcomings of ‘traditional’ Indonesian approaches to teaching in graphic design and the use of reflective learning as a means of developing SCL in Indonesia; the identification of approachability as a key element in improving student-tutor relationships with regards to establishing safe learning environments to enable reflection; and the use of Action Learning Sets (ALS) in Indonesia as a means of reforming individual
teaching practice.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SponsorsMinistry of Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia
SupervisorAndree Woodcock (Supervisor) & Kollette Super (Supervisor)

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