I always thought I would detest writing a thesis. I thought dissertations would be dire and that if I even had to write one more essay, I would probably be sick. All over that nonfiction textbook I had to read by Thursday and make notes on.
But, I think I have found the key to potentially changing all that. And here it is:
I am currently in the throes of researching and reading for my Literature Review as part of the NZ Mind Lab course in Applied Practice (Digital and Collaborative Learning). Now, don’t get me wrong, this is no thesis level piece of work. It is a mere (!) 2000 – 3000 words and we are “allowed” to use only 5 sources to draw on (I’m hoping to use more). However, it is still a pretty big deal as it is worth 60% of the grade for this paper, and, as I hinted at before, I’m not particularly fond of nonfiction reading.
But here’s the thing. I’m on holiday at the moment, due to start my new job in Term 3. So, I’m enjoying spending time with the family and reading for this review is the last thing I particularly want to be doing when fun can be being had. I decided I would set aside 30 minutes a day (timed!) to find articles, read them, and make notes on them.
And guess what? I’m really enjoying myself! Sometimes I find myself wanting to continue and after 45 minutes or so my husband will come and make me come out of my room to join the family. I’m fascinated by what I’m reading and the challenge of finding an answer to the question I have asked of myself. I even find myself mulling over things I have read and waking in the night with redefinitions of my research question.
To get to my point, I think that is the key. A lot is being talked about at the moment about personalising PD for teachers and after this experience, I feel like a prime example for it’s benefits. I feel inspired about what I am researching, it is relevant to what and who I am teaching and it will make a direct difference to my practice. If it had been something I was told to investigate, I’m not sure I would have had the same experience at all.
This correlates to our students as well. If they are given more freedom to investigate what they are interested in, it should follow that they are more self-motivated to get started and produce work. Another thing for me to research perhaps! (In all my spare time…)
It has also been invaluable to have all the support on how to develop and research a question as well as how to write a literature review. That has made the experience less daunting and it feels more doable certainly. Big thanks also to a colleague for showing me her awesome colour-coded note taking technique which is proving extremely useful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be applying for a Masters or PhD anytime soon, but hey, who knows? Watch this space…