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A personal approach to research degree supervision: from practice to adult learning theory Four useful Chinese sayings and connections to the “Great Tradition”


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1 A personal approach to research degree supervision: from practice to adult learning theory Four useful Chinese sayings and connections to the “Great Tradition” in adult education

2 Differences in the approach to research doctorate supervision: financial & economic educational & learning The doctoral learning journey & the student/supervisor relationship

3 Financial & economic An administrative perspective: Cost-based approach to service provision “One size fits all” management ethos Ration the amount of personal contact between student and supervisor The doctoral learning journey & the student/supervisor relationship

4 The doctoral learning journey & the student/supervisor relationship Learner-centred approach Based on adult learning theory Focused on the learning process & individual learner needs Focused on natural development of learning capability and ‘warming up’ through delayed selection. Supervisor-centred approach Focused more on knowledge acquisition than the adult learner or the learning process Focused on early assessment and ‘cooling out’ selection. Educational & learning

5 Adult learning issues: what role for supervisors? Most students can only study part-time and have heavy responsibilities elsewhere. Some students underestimate the commitment of time, energy, intellectual and emotional resources required. Many students have limited experience of thinking, writing and operating in academic research mode. Sometimes it is well into the supervision process before ‘cognitive click’ occurs and students really understand what they want to know. Many students lose momentum, often feeling lonely and isolated.

6 Mao Zedong “ ภาระผูกพันระยะยาว ” sustain the commitment The “Long March” “ 万里长征 ”-- Mao Zedong “ ภาระผูกพันระยะยาว ” sustain the commitment มีความเข้าใจว่า การทำวิจัยเป็นกระบวนการที่ต้องอาศัย เวลากว่าจะเสร็จสมบูรณ์ และให้ความสนับสนุนผู้เรียนอย่าง ต่อเนื่อง

7 “Stretch and bend” “ 能屈能伸 ” “ มีความยืดหยุ่น เข้าใจ รวมถึงมุ่งที่ ส่งเสริมผู้เรียน ” enable learner to work in partnership with the supervisor, comprehend Western mode of discourse and submit to the ‘dictatorship of the academic’ มีความเข้าใจในการทำงาน ปรับตัวให้สอดคล้องสถานการณ์ ของผู้เรียนและส่งเสริมการพัฒนาองค์ความรู้ของผู้เรียน

8 “Walk on two legs” “ 两条腿走路 ” “ สร้างความสมดุลระหว่างทฤษฏีและ ปฏิบัติ ” balance between theory & practice, evidence & interpretation สามารถนำความรู้ทางทฤษฏี มาประยุกต์กับสถานการณ์จริง ได้เหมาะสม อันนี้หมายรวมถึง กระบวนการคิด วิเคราะห์ และการปฏิบัติ

9 “Guide, philosopher and friend” “ 良师益友 ” ให้คำแนะนำ เป็นผู้รอบรู้ และ มนุษย์สัมพันธ์ที่ดี sustain the working relationship ที่ปรึกษา ต้องสามารถให้คำแนะนำ ปรึกษา แก้ปัญหาใน กระบวนการทำวิจัย ให้ผู้เรียนอย่างเต็มใจ และสอดคล้องกับ ความเป็นจริง

10 Balance in supervision Knowing and liking the person Facilitating the learning process Focus on task performance and knowledge accumulation มุ่งไปที่คุณภาพของงานและการ เพิ่มพูนความรู้ สนับสนุนกระบวนการเรียนรู้ เข้าใจและยอมรับในความเป็นไป ของแต่ละบุคคล

11 Supervision: what philosophy and working practice to adopt? The liberal- humanist & cosmopolitan knowledge camp The didactic- instructional & functional knowledge camp

12 Two forms of knowledge in the ‘Age of Industry’ and their influence on supervision and learning Functional: related to science and technology, instrumental in purpose, didactic and instructional in the transfer of knowledge. Cosmopolitan: related to the idea of progress and improvement in human affairs (political, economic and cultural), expressive in purpose with a preference for a learner-centred and empowering approach to acquiring knowledge

13 “The Great Tradition” liberal-humanism in adult education Some key writers & practitioners: R H Tawney and University Extension A H Mansbridge and the W E A R B Madgwick and Australian Army Education Bishop Grundtvig and the Danish Folk High Schools R Tagore, Indian poet and philosopher Cardinal Newman and “The Idea of a University” M S Knowles and adult learning theory and many more of my heroic figures

14 Contributions made to adult education in the ‘Great Tradition’: Cosmopolitan knowledge and “the search for social relevance”. Education for all and the ladder of opportunity. Adult education and the ‘second chance’ for the ‘late developer’ (or delayed selection and continuous ‘warming up’ to prevent premature ‘cooling out’). Andragogy and a person-centred, experiential approach to knowledge with the role of the teacher/supervisor as an empowering learning facilitator.

15 Cardinal John Newman ( ) A truly liberal education is the best aid to professional and scientific study…learning to think and reason.. and to analyse…form judgements and sharpen mental vision

16 Rabindranath Tagore ( ) The idea of adult education is to learn to think independently and express oneself freely using the personal relationship between teacher and student as the catalyst to discover one’s own style of learning

17 WRONG WAY GO BACK By tightening up with early assessment we replace a ‘late developer’ ethos with a ‘front-end’, early selection and ‘cooling out’ model of adult learning, and go back to the elitism of the 1950s and a narrow, instrumental university culture.

18 We reduce the person and learner-centred ‘nurturing’ model of supervision with a performance-assessment model that is more focused on functional knowledge outcomes than the adult learning and maturation process needed and valued by mid-career professional people. WRONG WAY GO BACK

19 How to make a research proposal in easy steps Think about the importance of having a cognitive roadmap before your journey begins. Don’t rely on inspiration and luck!

20 Some key learning principles of the ‘cognitive apprenticeship’ Higher degrees, especially research-based ones, develop capability in independent, self-directed learning. They also move the learner from a consumer to a producer of knowledge. You learn to take full responsibility for your own learning (a Buddhist precept) and not become dependent on your supervisor.

21 Some background ideas Eventually your proposal should pass the test of plausibility (does it make sense?) and manageability (can it be done in a reasonable time?). You can either design a very detailed research plan (or roadmap) or one that is flexible enough to develop as you go further. This will depend on how you learn.

22 Step one: what do you want to know? Start with the most basic question: What do you want to know? Translate the question into a problem statement. Explain why research on your topic is useful and required. Explain what contribution to knowledge your research will make. Is it more about theory or practical application?

23 Step one (continued) Produce the core research questions. Make use of the six ‘friends’ to create the research questions: 1.What? 2.Why? 3.How? 4.Where? 5.When? 6.Who?

24 Step two: the literature Who else has written on your topic? Identify the ‘need to know’ literature that can help you do these things- 1.Express the research problem more fully 2.Provide conceptual frameworks 3.Provide examples of research design & methods 4.Data to compare and contrast your own 5.Ideas on how to generalise your research

25 Step three: research design & methods “Let the problem drive the method” Explain, justify and defend whatever research design & methods you take (eg. Case study) How are you going to collect data? Pay special attention to your population sample (if applicable). How representative? How are you going to process and analyse your data? Advise on your research limitations Is your research ethical?

26 Step four: the research plan Provide an outline structure and content plan of the entire work. The plan is certain to change as you discover and learn more but it is still a useful exercise to think ahead

27 Step five: the research timetable Provide an outline timetable of your research management plan. 1.How long on the overall research plan? 2.How long on reviewing the literature? 3.How long on getting the fieldwork completed? 4.How long on data-set analysis? 5.How long to write up your research?

28 Step six: is the proposal presentable? Check through the proposal carefully for simple errors of presentation Pay special attention to your- 1.Problem statement 2.Core research questions 3.Key concepts and theories, 4.The literature review & ‘knowledge gap’ 5.Research design & methods

ดาวน์โหลด ppt A personal approach to research degree supervision: from practice to adult learning theory Four useful Chinese sayings and connections to the “Great Tradition”


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