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Strategies for Supervision? Sheila Trahar Graduate School of Education University of Bristol.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategies for Supervision? Sheila Trahar Graduate School of Education University of Bristol."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategies for Supervision? Sheila Trahar Graduate School of Education University of Bristol

2 Strategies for Supervision Common Criticisms – Myths? The Supervisory Relationship and Postcolonial Theory More Practically… Non-UK Supervisors A Supervisor is Someone Who…

3 Common Criticisms – Myths? Difficulty in gaining access – myth? Criticism? Lack of guidance and attention – myth? Criticism? Unequal role relationship in different societies – myth? Criticism? Encouragement of student independence and initiative in Western academic model – myth? Criticism? Need to email supervisor to arrange a meeting – myth? Criticism?

4 The Supervisory Relationship and Postcolonial Theory Personally resistant to a liberal disavowal of difference where authors argue that the needs of all students are the same, regardless of culture (Manathunga, 2007, p.95) This may lead to a failure to address challenging issues of power, identity and culture Postcolonial themes of contact zones, transculturation, unhomeliness allow exploration of how colonial overtones/ stereotypes may subconsciously impact on perceptions

5 The Supervisory Relationship and Postcolonial Theory Contact zone – spaces where disparate cultures meet; possibility for productive dialogue without glossing over difference Transculturation – creation of new cultural possibilities; creative new knowledge can be formed Unhomeliness – ambivalence felt by people – supervisor/ee - adjusting to new cultural practices

6 The Supervisory Relationship and Postcolonial theory Encourage supervisee to challenge academic/cultural conventions – contact zone; encourage a writing style that is congruent with tradition Discover other academic traditions – transculturation Work with your own discomfort to develop new learning – unhomeliness BUT… Be alert to how much influence you may have e.g. methodologically Recognise the potential danger in encouraging supervisees to challenge paradigms dominant in own local context

7 More Practically…. Establish a way of working from the first meeting Regular meetings – monthly for doctoral students – including during research training Respond promptly to emails – especially from Hong Kong Invite supervisee to produce a brief summary of each meeting – enables you to check understanding/identify any differences in perception Digital recording of meeting – can help with language

8 Non-UK Supervisors I was very self-conscious anyway because of my language. But then I realised also the others might have problems, because I might not be speaking clearly enough (Elsa) Oh youre just a European and you do things differently, and we do things differently here. Thats European and we are English (Elsa) Its quite interesting to work outside your cultural boundaries. Its a learning opportunity, because the way you do things thats the end of it - but when you go somewhere else you take new ideas from there. But in doing so you also discover that you have some things to offer as well. So what Im trying to say is that there are advantages of teaching in these types of environments, both to me as a lecturer here, and my coming from other culture also have some advantages to some students too – because Ive brought with me some experience other than the conventional ones they are used to… (Adnan)

9 A Supervisor is Someone Who… Has a cooperative goal – to attain doctoral level work with me Shares my interest in my subject or methodology Is willing to read my writing, however poorly it is written, however messy it is organised Is always available to answer my questions Lends her ear to my difficulties, puzzlements and worries

10 What we can do to attain our goal – informal dimension… Qing – a long-lasting, trusting relationship characterised by a genuine exchange of ideas, resources and concern, can release the tension between supervisor/ee in the formal dimension of the relationship Frankly share our ideas/scope of the study Keep regular contact Share personal background

11 What I find helpful in my supervisor… Points out my concepts that seem muddled Puts me in touch with people, information and reading material Lets me have the sense of different systems, perspectives in different culture Constructive criticism The gentleman agrees with others without being an echo. The small man echoes without being in agreement (Confucius)

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