Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Providing Culturally Sensitive Feedback to Higher Degree Students

Yesterday I attended one of a series of workshops being given by Dr Sylvia Alston and Dr Elke Stracke, as part of the Office of Learning and Teaching  (OLT) funded project "Giving and receiving written feedback in HDR supervision: enhancing supervisors' and candidates' skills in a cross-cultural context".

The attendees were divided into groups of about five, who undertook a series of activities. These generally involved first filling in a one page paper activity sheet and then discussing the results. First there were two questionnaires, one for supervisors of Higher Degree Research (HDR) and one for students. The workshop activities were then on topics such as the effect the medium used for student-supervisor communication has (such as oral face to face versus email) and the possible tone of supervisor feedback. One topic which came up in discussion was dealing with students (and supervisors) who have English as a second language.

What struck me was that while this discussion was interesting, none of it was new. This was covered in the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education I undertook last year. Some of this was covered in the course I took on supervision (requiring preparation of a "Statement of Supervisory Expectations"), but also the skills on teaching generally are applicable. It is not clear what it is intended to accomplish with these workshops, beyond what is already provided in coursework.

Also the workshop was presented as a curiously old fashioned way, with no on-line resources and paper handouts. At the end we were handed a sheet of references, which might be very useful, but why do I have to type in the URLs from a sheet of paper? The workshop would be improved by applying 20th century techniques, having on-line resources before, during and after the workshop.
Workshop facilitated by Elke Stracke, Sylvia Alston and Joelle Vandermensbrugghe ...
Description: This interactive workshop examines traps to avoid and offers tips to ensure successful feedback practice in HDR supervision across cultures.

Feedback lies at the heart of any learning experience, and giving and receiving feedback is an important and integral part of postgraduate supervision practice. However, its complexity is not always recognized and the practice not discussed by candidates and supervisors. Students tend to be concerned by a lack of clear directions, while supervisors tend to complain about the lack of take-up of feedback. Often, cross-cultural differences between supervisors and candidates can add to such mismatches.

Find out more about feedback in this interactive workshop that draws on recent research in the field. In this 2-hour workshop you will
- explore how to give and receive oral and written feedback;
- examine supervisors' written language use and candidates'reactions;
- develop critical awareness of potential conflict due to language use and cross-cultural differences;
- increase your skills (as supervisor or candidate) in giving and receiving feedback in a cross-cultural context.

This workshop provides an opportunity to think about how you, as supervisor or HDR candidate, go about giving, receiving and responding to feedback, and to find out what works best for you. ...

This workshop is part of the OLT-funded project - Giving and Receiving Written Feedback in HDR Supervision: Enhancing Supervisors' and Candidates' Skills in a Cross-Cultural Context - led by Associate Professor Elke Stracke (UC, Faculty of Arts and Design) with Dr Theresa Winchester-Seeto (Macquarie University, Learning and Teaching Centre), Dr Joelle Vandermensbrugghe (UC, Graduate Research Office), and Dr Sylvia Alston (UC, Faculty of Arts and Design)

No comments:

Post a Comment