#Day51 – Getting to know myself better

Well I am just over half way in the 100 days of writing, still trying to forge ahead, even though I have been  feeling very off-form over the past 10 days.

So here is what I have been doing, thinking and writing about over the past 2 weeks:

After reading They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing I returned to my literature review and started to use  templates resommended by this book to reshape aspects of writing, trying to bring more argument and voice into my writing (I love this book for that reason!)

Also I’ve been visiting and listening into the MOOC How to Survive Your PhD discussing the topics of confidence, frustration and loneliness. The most interesting thing for me has been the discussion about supervision and relationships with supervisors. I have supervised Masters students over the past 5 years and from my experience I think that while it is important to provide dialogue and questions to a student to ensure a rigorous research approach, it is equally, if not more, important to establish positive relationships with students, establishing trust is very important. As a supervisor I am interested in getting to know the students from a professional point of view but also I believe that is important to listen and hear what is going on for students in their lives as from my experience this has an impact on their studies and research.

Furthermore I value interpersonal relationships and getting to know others and acknowledging how they see and understand the world. The ‘How to Survive Your PhD’ MOOC really highlighted that as a student I do not have this type of relationship with my supervisors, but I acknowledge a number of reasons for this: I am a student working at a distance, we don’t share common research interests, possibly different outlooks on what a supervisory relationship is, power relationships and undoubtedly other reasons…

However the process of doing this EdD has helped become more aware of what I need as a learner and as an apprentice researcher.

If I was to embark all over again I would have that conversation at the beginning to manage expectations better, although I acknowledge I don’t think I would have been able to set out my expectations at the beginning, because I have only identified my needs through the experience of being a research student.

As a supervisor myself into the future I will make to sure to outline expectations that I have with as a supervisor and encourage open conversation in as much as possible with students.

Finally while ‘The How to Survive Your PhD’ MOOC emphasizes the emotional rollercoaster of the Doctoral journey I think challenges will always be present despite models of supervision.


About Muireann O'Keeffe

I am an educational developer currently working at DCU. I have a passion for researching and evaluating technology that can support and enhance learning. In the past I have taught on Masters programmes (Msc Applied elearning & Postgraduate Diploma in Third level Learning and Teaching) as well as Leadership development programmes.
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