Defining the doctorate with Asian research students

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The aim of supervision is to support a student's development to become a competent, autonomous researcher. This requires supervisors to have a wide range of responsibilities, abilities balanced views and practices to deal with intellectual, psychological and cultural issues. The challenge for Asian students is the developing subtly in language, thinking and autonomy. Supervisors should be aware of philosophical and pragmatic levels. First, the magnitude of the language barrier should be recognised as it affects all academic practice; speed of absorption and thinking and quality of comprehension, besides difficulties in academic writing. Second, different ways of thinking should be understood not as cultural and/or personal immaturity, inability but as difference. Third, student's heavy dependence on their supervisors, a serious obstacle for the development of their autonomy, is deeply rooted in their customary perspective and practice that the respect for others is expressed as their full trust and obedience. In short, it is crucial for supervisors to recognise the difference between students capability and intellectual capacity as researcher, their attitude and practice stemming from their culture, and to help students holistic development, not replacing one culture to another, but based on their native culture to nurture their multicultural intellectualities. This paper will discuss the difficulties experienced by Asian research students developing into competent researchers in the Western academic environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAARE Mini-conference 2003
Subtitle of host publicationconference papers
EditorsPeter L. Jeffery
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)095859032X
Publication statusPublished - 2003
EventAARE Mini-conference 2003 - Newcastle
Duration: 2 Oct 20034 Oct 2003


ConferenceAARE Mini-conference 2003

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