Reflective Practice in Improving Doctoral Supervision Skills

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Conference Proceeding
E-BLA > conference title and themes'Traversing the marshes: bridging theory and practice in experience-based learning', 2009, pp. 1 - 7
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This paper proposes that doctoral supervisors could benefit by adopting practices used in personal counselling to achieve a balanced student-supervisor relationship. The processes used in counselling a client â such as preparation, getting started, active listening, problem identification and clarification, reframing and challenging, exploring options and facilitating actions, and termination and handling of ethical issues â are also important in the doctoral supervision process. By adopting good practices used in counselling doctoral supervisors could develop effective boundaries with their students, learn to be more assertive, learn to reflect, and increase their own self-awareness and emotional awareness in the supervision process. This is particularly useful when the candidates have taken up doctoral studies at a mature age and are no longer fulltime students at university, but are doing their doctorate part-time while working fulltime and have a family to support as well. Work-life balance issues add stress to these students preventing them from concentrating on their doctoral research. This paper will describe and reflect on the experiences of a doctoral supervisor who attempted to use some of the concepts he had learnt from attending a postgraduate course on counselling to improve his own doctoral supervision work. The paper will conclude with an evaluation of the experiential learning process and close with some suggestions to doctoral supervisors who would like to take a similar journey.
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