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Learning styles, and the fallibility of grown ups - Sally's Journal
December 12th, 2005
10:40 am

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Learning styles, and the fallibility of grown ups

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From:yrieithydd
Date:December 12th, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
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[hugs] I relate to a lot of that myself, although I have a hatred of asked stupid questions so deal with that point differently (and live in terror of being wrong).

The other point that should have been obvious but wasn't, is that the matter at hand isn't as blindingly obvious to the "grown up" as it used to be.

Indeed. You are supposed to be becoming the expert on the area. This is a big shift from even undergrad life, although I think more for mathmos than for other subjects. I wrote an 8-10,000 word dissertation in my fourth year as an undergraduate which was beginning to be that I knew more about it than my supervisor, I then had the 10-15,000 word MPhil dissertation which was even more then case so I've had a bit more of a chance to get used to it. Though I'm still (secretly) terrified of having to back up my answers. Other subjects seem to have similar things (for example Engineers have 4th year projects to do), but Mathmos get to the end of Part 3 with very little experience of it; the optional Essay which is basically a lit review is their only real non-taught element as far as I can tell. This seems to be because there is an awful lot of really complicated stuff you need to know before you have a chance of doing anything original. This means that the shift to PhD is much bigger for them. I suspect that Maths supervisors are aware of this and hope that this enables them to support their students better. But because you switched to engineering, you missed out on this support because engineers have been doing independent stuff for a while and so are expected to know how it works. It's worked particularly badly for you because you lack the self-confidence to believe that you are right. TBH, your supervisor should have worked this out in order to give you better support, but he too is a frail human being!

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