Ph.D. Researchers in a Changing World: A Self-Critical Reflection of the CES Conference 2017
The theme of this year’s Centre for Education Studies Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference, now in its fifth year, is 'Education in a Changing World'. I attended the conference as a paper presenter and a conference attendee. My personal goals were to develop confidence as an oral presenter, seek professional development opportunities, and engage critically and reflectively with my work and the work of others. My relativist epistemological beliefs define knowledge as uncertain, context-bound, fallible, defeasible and therefore changeable, and are compatible with my personal goals. Both the goals and beliefs led to the adoption of knowledge co-constructor, communicator, and analyst roles. Beliefs, goals and adopted roles led to the identification of points of fallibility in my own knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of interest. Therefore, I formed a perspective of conferences as enabling and facilitating knowledge construction between presenter and audience. Being reflective, critical, adaptable, creative, intuitive, flexible, and open minded are key attitudinal attributes of postgraduates, leading to positive conference experiences and increased self-awareness of own emerging identity as a social scientist. Increasing self-awareness of own identity is important for graduates, as on a broader scale this assists in keeping pace with an ever-changing world.
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