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Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre Teaching International Students Workshop Supporting the Journey to Independent Scholarship: Supervising International.

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Presentation on theme: "Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre Teaching International Students Workshop Supporting the Journey to Independent Scholarship: Supervising International."— Presentation transcript:

1 Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre Teaching International Students Workshop Supporting the Journey to Independent Scholarship: Supervising International Doctoral Students in Healthcare Disciplines 17/02/2011 Dr. Catrin Evans University of Nottingham

2 Supporting the Journey to Independent Scholarship: Supervising International Doctoral Students in Healthcare Disciplines Dr. Catrin Evans HEA, February 2011

3 Transitions and Challenges in International Doctoral Study in the Healthcare Disciplines 1.Transition to life in the UK 2.Transition from Masters to Doctoral level study 3.Engagement with UK academic culture & practices (including supervision practice) 4.Understanding of UK healthcare context 5.(For some) learning in a second language

4 Objectives of the Presentation 1.To explore the meaning of doctoral supervision from the perspective of international doctoral nursing students: - – expectations of the doctorate & of supervision – the evolving supervision relationship – the contradictions of supervisory guidance in supporting autonomous scholarship 2.To identify good practice in supporting and supervising international doctoral students 3.In the context of the doctorate, to explore ways in which doctoral students engage with practice contexts & make suggestions for facilitating knowledge transfer

5 Background Nursing faces a critical human resource crisis, including a shortage of educators and researchers A key strategy to develop nursing capacity in many countries is to support nurses to obtain doctoral degrees. Rationale for the PhD will vary depending on the national context of nursing careers (practice/policy/education/administration) Currently, only 32 countries offer doctoral programmes in nursing (INDEN, 2005) Many nurses need to go overseas for a PhD UK is a popular destination

6 UK Context 124 out of 692 doctoral nursing students are ‘international’ (EU & Non-EU) - approx. 15% of the total (HESA 2007/08) Majority of international students undertake the ‘traditional’ PhD – research focused, self-directed, no mandatory taught courses, dual supervision, substantial dissertation, emphasis on development of transferable skills Massive financial investment: minimum of £56,700 – (£10,500 per year tuition fees + £8,500 per year subsistence). Duration is usually 3-4 years, so also massive personal investment. Lack of evidence on the learning experiences of international doctoral nursing students in the UK & lack of evidence on what they do when they return home

7 QAA (2008): What are the Outcomes of Doctoral Level Study? the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication; a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice; the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems; a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry. make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences; continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas, or approaches; and will have: the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments. Autonomy, criticality, problem solving, new applications, working in a context of uncertainty

8 Doctoral Training Context Factors that support doctoral study……. Research training Transferable skills training Peer support Research environment – socialisation, formation of disciplinary identity, role modelling, formation of key networks Supervision – the ‘black box’ Key Question for Supervisors……. How to teach and guide whilst simultaneously supporting the development of autonomous scholarship? Presentation Focus How do international doctoral nursing students experience doctoral supervision?

9 Insights/Reflections Based on 2 Research Studies + Personal Experience 1.Qualitative interviews (in 2008/09) with 17 international doctoral nursing students from 6 different universities across the UK (perspectives of the current PhD journey) 2.Qualitative interviews (in 2009/10) with 16 graduates from UK nursing PhD programmes, now all working in Jordan (looking back at the PhD & perspectives on knowledge transfer back home) 3.5 years experience running a PhD programme (95 students, approximately one third are international) 4.Personal experience of being a supervisor to 8 international PhD students

10 Expectations of the Doctorate Taught Programmes When I came and start doing my PhD I never thought it would become purely dependent on the student, and the supervisor just will give you headings, or guidelines, I thought it was like, just a total programme……... I didn’t think it would be pure research, just by learning by yourself. I was expecting research courses, nursing courses…….(Mona, Jordan) Professional Focus This is the problem we all have now. If we go back to our country someone will say ‘what is UK healthcare system’? We don’t know, because we don’t have a chance to go into the field, we didn’t have a chance to observe. It will be very useful because we are looking for international comparisons... especially for me as a change agent. My government to send me here to the UK, so it’s expected when I go back to my home country I will make some changes and so would like to learn more about what is going on in the UK here so I can transfer that knowledge to my home country (Emma, China)

11 Expectations of Supervision and Development of Inter-Cultural Understanding In my culture, we don’t talk out, I don’t know if it’s good or not, because we are afraid to confront teacher, yes. And because I’m afraid that she think that I’m kind of like challenging her or something, but maybe they don’t think that way, but we, I think she will kind of like feel differently with me. (Ling Ling, Taiwan) In my country, if I was doing a Masters or PhD your supervisor would tell you what to do, but here it’s different, so I’m kind of like waiting for my supervisor to tell me what to do, but my supervisor is waiting for me to tell them what I’m going to do. (Sam, India)

12 Supervisory Style & Relationship Person Centred They were friendly, if I want to speak to them for my research or ask a question, first they ask me about myself, about my family and everything, how I’m living, what I’m doing, if everything is OK..…………this make me believe in my supervisors. When it was critical for me, when I had blocks and couldn’t move forward, I trusted their suggestions………The trust is the first important thing and I had that experience in fact, and it helped me to progress with them (Ahmad, Saudi Arabia) Task Focused I didn’t have any interest from my supervisors in terms of sort of emotional support, they were more concerned about research and research only, but not ‘is she feeling ok, is she feeling settled’? There are loads and loads of issues, and I think that I wasn’t given that much attention from that particular side. You know when there’s not that much interest in the student or in their work, you know, how to explain it, the student cannot trust that supervisor (George, Greece) Emotional support as well as academic guidance Trust as the foundation

13 Good quality supervisionPoor quality supervision Takes a personal interest in the student & in the country and culture Understands the particular challenges for international students Accessible (answers s, is willing to have the odd one-off meeting when needed) Reads work & provides detailed and specific feedback Provides a way forward – suggests new avenues of inquiry Provides clear guidance Suggests reading material Encourages & welcomes debate Is an expert in the subject area Provides access to wider research networks and conferences Too busy Task focused, does not take a personal interest Provides inconsistent advice Inaccessible, doesn’t reply to s Doesn’t read work Feedback is too general Throws back questions to the student rather than suggesting possible new directions Gives criticism in an insensitive or destructive way Is not an expert in the subject area

14 Supervisory Guidance & Development of Autonomous Research Skills To begin with, students want: Structure Direction Support with task management (step by step approach) I think I spent quite a lot of time to understand what I need to do because we don’t have to attend classes. The project is specific just for me, so I cannot ask anything from my classmates. Then, I cannot make this plan because I want my supervisor to tell me it’s right or wrong, or it’s actually the next stage I need to do, or something like that, so every time my supervisor asked me what are you going to do next? What’s your plan next? And I just can’t think, oh I don’t know, I thought you would tell me, you know, like that (John, Kenya)

15 Giving Feedback My supervisor used to tell me, “be more critical, be more critical” but I didn’t know what he meant, how can I be more critical?………. I felt very frustrated. But, you know, in those days, I used to used to prepare assignments from taking paragraphs from different books, this one here and that one there – a collection of paragraphs – that was my assignment. I had to learn how to create, how to critique, how to put forward original ideas – this took me about 2 years (Heera, India) I mean he never tells me that, no what you’re thinking is wrong, or you should be doing that this way; he’s always flexible, but he always offers me advice. If I got stuck, which was often, he was very, very helpful…..then he gave me the directions I wanted, when he could see that I couldn’t, that I was finding myself in a dead end, it was always like “you should read that, or read this paper, and maybe change your mind, or it will help you, it can give you the answers. Next time, we’ll talk about this…..” - he helped me see for myself without telling me what to think. I like that (Rita, Taiwan)

16 Supervisory Styles High Support Pastoral Style Low structure and high support Candidate has personal low management skill but takes advantage of all the support facilities that are on offer Supervisor provides considerable personal care and support but not necessarily in a task- driven, directive capacity Contractual Style High structure and high support Candidate highly motivated and able to take direction and to act on own initiative Supervisor able to administer direction and exercises good management skills and interpersonal relationships Low Support Laissez-faire Style Low structure low support Candidate has limited levels of motivation and management skills Supervisor is non-directive and not committed to high levels of personal interaction Supervisor may appear uncaring and uninvolved Directorial Style High structure and low support Candidate highly motivated and sees the necessity to take advantage of engaging in high structural activities such as setting objectives, completing and submitting work on time on own initiative without taking advantage of institutional support Supervisor has a close and regular interactive relationship with the candidate, but avoids non-task issues Low StructureHigh Structure Gatfield, T. (2005). An investigation into PhD supervisory management styles: Development of a dynamic conceptual model and its managerial implications. Journal of Higher Education and Policy Management 27(3): An investigation into PhD supervisory management styles: Development of a dynamic conceptual model and its managerial implications

17 But, Looking Back……….. Evolving, Contradictory Needs There are times when you feel you are very vulnerable with your supervisor. I think for all first year and maybe second year students, they feel they are more led by their supervisors rather than they are in control, but once you sort of gain that sort of confidence and experience and you know your topic which I think you will know your topic more than your supervisors, in that sense you will be able to lead the way (George, Uganda) In the beginning I thought like oh I’m lost, everything you have to find it out... sometimes my supervisor he’s knowing the answer but he’s like go read, and sometimes I’m giving a wrong answer, but he will not tell me no, you don’t know the answer, he will tell me ok, go on with it, and see what consequences will have for this action, and by this like by trial and error I learned many things. Now I’m so thankful to them (Asmaa, Jordan). At the beginning I found it was very bad, it was a horrible experience, but now when I reflect back I think it was a very helpful, yes it taught me how to be independent, how to look for information, how to keep looking, how to keep reading and then not to be satisfied and not depending on others to tell me this is right or wrong, which is very important I think at the PhD level (Maya, Jordan).

18 Looking Back: Transformation Well it’s been a massive experience for me. I mean personally, emotionally, intellectually, mentally, I think I have grown up a lot. My confidence has increased most. Being on my own in the UK all these years, I think that was the biggest challenge and that taught me a lot. I think I will definitely apply the skills that I have gained from living here, whether it is in building my confidence, whether it is interpersonal skills, communication skills, Now I’m totally independent person. (Mahmoud, Jordan) After you have completed your PhD, you are different than when you started. You have a different way of analysing, you see different perspectives, and you learn how the others think about the same events. I have learnt how to be a high professional person, I learnt how to present myself at my study, I learnt also how to be open and accept the others opinions, accept the criticism. I feel like I really become a different person than when I just came here. (Mona, Jordan)

19 Looking Back: Knowledge Transfer Now I am using this methods, or these ways, with my Masters students and I taught them how to summarise the article, how to critique the articles, how to put their ideas, how to put their words, their own words, not just to take the words of the other authors, in order to see how they think, and how they can reflect their ideas (Sonia, Jordan). My vision has broadened and I can say that I get a lot of important positive ideas that I can implement in my place or at my country with my students and during my teaching experiences while I am back so I gave my students examples of what I have learnt before at these places (Eman, Jordan).

20 Recommendations Provide ‘scaffolding’ in 1 st year Clarify mutual expectations, roles, interpersonal conventions - get to know your students Explain & be prepared to repeat/reinforce information about the programme structure & process Give highly specific feedback Be proactive Help to engage with practice contexts (teaching as well as nursing)

21 Questions What is supervisor’s role in the first stages of the PhD? How does the supervisor’s role change over time? How much should the supervisor be expected to do? What is the role of the institution in supporting international doctoral students? How best to develop pedagogical supervisory skills in feedback and guidance? How to facilitate engagement with practice contexts (healthcare or teaching)?

22 Contact Us Health Sciences and Practice Subject Centre


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