22 SES 02 A, Academic Careers: PhD's and Doctorates
This presentation builds on an earlier study (Greenwood, 2017) of the postdoctoral career aspirations and experiences of two doctoral students from a developing country. Both of those students had a degree of employment security before beginning their doctoral studies, although one had no security about future placement. This study investigates the case of two students from the same developing country who had no such security. They began their doctoral candidacy in the hope that it would lead to academic employment. After their submitting their thesis both began a frantic search for employment. At the time of presenting this proposal one has succeeded in gaining a sound academic position; the other is still in the process of searching.
This study contributes a further detailed layer to investigation of the situation wherein a steadily increasing number of early career educators from developing countries apply for doctoral study at western universities, and to the question of what happens to them when they graduate. It examines how they see themselves able to use the knowledge and skills they gained as well as the paper qualification. It also examines how they continue to navigate the differences between the western academy where they studied and their future work context. It also explores their dilemma of whether they should look for work overseas or return home.
The paper presents a case study through three interwoven narratives: two from doctoral graduates and one from their former supervisor. Both graduates are also still both involved in collaboration with their former doctoral supervisor.
The paper reports:
- The initial tensions and discoveries experienced in navigating between the values, needs and local perspectives of the students’ local contexts and the expectations of western scholarship.
- The varying expectations of their examiners in terms of how they treated the local (home) context.
- The students’ practical and emotional experiences of job seeking, making decisions about whether or not to return home, whether or not to bring their families to their university town after graduation.
- Two different accounts of seeking work, and implications of each account
- Questions about the transferability of knowledge and skills gained
- Continuing collaboration, in research and writing, between graduates and supervisor
- The role of an international postgraduate learning community
- Exploration of the continuing tensions between western and local approaches to education and research.
The case study research that informs this paper follows from previous research from the three authors that has been presented at ECER in previous conferences and at AARE (Al-Amin, 2015, 2017; Hasnat, 2015, 2017; Greenwood et al 2017; Greenwood, 2016).
In particular the research builds on understandings of the importance of place in doctoral study (Greenwood, 2016) and on the concept of a fair academic trade in education between western and developing countries (Greenwood, Alam & Kabir, 2014; Greenwood, Alam, Salahuddin and Rasheed 2015). It also draws on understandings of learning communities (Wenger 1998; Greenwood, 2016) and the role they can play not only in supporting doctoral research but also in supporting post-doctoral collaborations.
The methodological approach is one of case study (Stake, 2003), with a focus on two aligned cases of doctoral graduates. The primary method of data collection and analysis is that of critical reflective practice (Schön, 1983) by the two graduates and their formal supervisor. The three strands of critical reflection on practice as well as the continuing collaboration of the three authors constitute a form of participatory action research (Brydon-Miller, Kral , Maguire, Noffke, & Sabhlok 2011) . This methodological approach was chosen because it allows us to examine the particularities of particular situated experiences in rich and critically analytic detail and in ways that are true to the experiences of the participants and that allow evolving discoveries and shifting understandings. The account is presented in the form of three interwoven narratives (Clandinin & Connelly; 2004; Denzin & Lincoln, 2005) in order to capture the detail and complexity of questionings, tensions, exploratory strategies and discoveries of the participants. This stage of the research project covers the period 2016-2018. The participants are two doctoral graduates, one who is now working in education in his ome country, the other seeking a post-doctoral placement in a western university, and their former supervisor, a senior university academic.
These particular narratives report the degree of risk some students venture in undertaking doctoral study, the strategies they take to overcome risk, and their shifting attitudes to their vulnerability they examine what they gained through doctoral study –in addition to the degree itself, and how those skills and the degree have opened pathways to publication, job interviews and applications for post-doctoral study. One graduate has returned to this home country; the other hope to find work or postdoctoral research opportunity overseas. The narratives report the struggles and tensions involved in navigating between the research approaches, educational values and knowledge systems of two very different contexts, the learning involved and the ways they prepare, or do not prepare, graduates for finding employment. The narratives also report collaborations that have continued after the completion of the doctorate, including individual and joint publications, and on-going professional dialogue and co-critiquing of current and planned projects. The value of this account for ECER is that, while in the nature of case study the specific findings are particular to the participants, it offers an examination of how graduates can utilise and adapt their doctoral learning to leadership within their home country and how the supervisor can also learn through the continuing collaboration. This has relevance to Europe whose universities host increasing numbers of international students. In this way, it adds further dimension to the conference theme of inclusion and exclusion, considering not only who is included and excluded from immediate career success after completing a doctorate, but also how doctoral studies can be inclusive of students from developing countries conceptualisations and needs.
Al-Amin, M. (2017).Charting the river: A case study of English language teaching in Bangladesh. AARE, 2017. Al-Amin, M. (2015). What is effective English teaching? Investigating teaching practices in secondary schools in Bangladesh, ECER, 2015. Brydon-Miller, M., Kral , M., Maguire, P., Noffke, S. & Sabhlok, A. (2011). Jazz and the banyan tree: Roots and riffs on participatory action research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.) Strategies of qualitative inquiry. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Clandinin, D. & Connelly, F. (2004). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc Denzin, N. & Lincoln,Y. (2005). Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds), The Sage handbook of qualitative research. 3rd edition.pp1-32. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Greenwood, J., Alam. S. & Salahuddin, A. (2017). After the doctorate: Reflective practice accounts of two international doctoral graduates and their former supervisor. ECER 2017. Greenwood, J. (2016) Internationalisation without homogenisation. ECER 2016 Greenwood, J. (2016). The where of doctoral research: the role of place in creating meaning. Greenwood, J., Alam, S. and Kabir, A. (2014). Educational change and international trade in teacher development: Achieving local goals within/despite a transnational context. Journal of Studies in International Education, 18 (4):345-361 Greenwood, J., Alam, S., Salahuddin,A. & Rasheed, H. (2015). Learning communities and fair trade in doctorates, and partnerships for development: Report of a collaborative project. Globalisation, Societies and Education. DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2015.1051001 Environmental Education Research · May 2016DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1190958, Greenwood, J., Alam, S.,Salahuddin, A., Barrett, T., Nawi, A. & Rasheed,H. (2014). Learning communities and the doctoral journey: Developing interaction, criticality and collaboration. Paper presented at ECER, Porto. Hasnat, M. (2015). A case study on stakeholder’s engagement in rural secondary schools in Bangladesh. ECER, 2015. Hasnat, M. (2017). Rural parents’ engagement in education in Bangladesh: Problems & possibilities. AARE, 2017. Schön, D. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner, How Professionals Think In Action. New York: Basic Books. Stake, R. (2003). Case studies. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of qualitative inquiry Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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