Yesterday I took part in my first ever Doctorial Colloqiuim and I really enjoyed it! I was understandably nervous before my presentation as I didn’t know what to expect but I was very happy with how it went and I received some very useful and interesting feedback.
A number of the other participants in the DC asked mw questions which forced me to stop and think and comments were also added to an online Google Doc. The panel of Geraldine, Michael, Jackie and Nervo also provided god feedback. Some of the feedback is listed below:
- Be realistic about my expectations – what if I don’t build a COP? It is a very hard, lenghty process. I can’t keep going foorever, I have to finish my PhD in 4 years and I will need to write my thesis so I should think about what the minimum ‘thing’ I need to achieve in order to complete my PhD on schedule.
- In relation to point one, I should think about the enablers and barriers to building a COP.
- Geraldine asked why I chose Communties of Practice and I explained it was part of the European project. She suggested that maybe I should seperate “how to improve and enhance STEM learning” from the COP a bit more; the community could include people who have tried certain things out with their students and they cann share that knowledge with other teachers. She doesn’t see how a COP can improve STEM learning. She was confused by that concept!
- Jackie suggested that I should use much broader questions when I interview teachers. I should ask them about their school day, the time they spend on teaching, how much spare time they have to themselves each day, etc. I should ask these questions because it takes time and committment to join a new community.
- It was suggested I get in and talk to teachers as soon as possible because they will have a different motivation for how they teach STEM compared to Coderdojo mentors/champions
- Sally (a DC Participant) recommended I go in and talk to the students as well as the teachers and get their perspectives on STEM. I was telling them about bringing the prototyping workshop into schools and coderdojo classes as well.
- Michael Muller suggested that I could make a very good contribution by making comparisons between a structured COP which I am looking to create and an unstructured, self-evolving COP
- I should think about how my COP is structured – what do I want it to look like and how do I want it to work?
These are all points I look forward to discussing with my supervisors when I return to college next week. Following the DC presentations, we had an open discussion where we discussed writing strategies, methods, research questions, etc. in a brainstorming exercise. We also discussed career trajectories which is something I really want to start moving in on. Work experience/internships/part-time jobs in academia is where I hope to work after my PhD but I need to start putting in the ground work now.
After the DC, we all went for a meal in Sheffield City Centre and I have exchanged contact details with a number of the participants.