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Building relationships. Between supervisors and supervisees Aim of session: Understanding of how to build a working relationship with PhD students and how this affects success. Supervisor’s toolbox. Approaches / styles Adapting style Co-creating style Gatfield

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building relationships
Department of Science EducationBuilding relationships
  • Between supervisors and supervisees

Aim of session:

Understanding of how to build a workingrelationshipwith PhD students and howthisaffectssuccess

supervisor s toolbox
Enhedens navnSupervisor’s toolbox

Approaches / styles

Adapting style

Co-creating style


situational leadership

Talk about the talk (Gurr’s toolkit)

Practice triangle

Power relations

authentic you


Markers, control unit, levels of communication, progression within dialogue

Perspectives and Caps

The evil-minded reviewer

someone outside of the room

Feedback and Assessment

(Written) feed-back on written work – formative

Balance between formative and summative assessment

Role as assessor

Themes and progression

Not only lab practice and results, but also aligning expectations, career, research competences

The whole three-year process

advice to doctoral students
Sofie Kobayashi CRS-NRAdvice to doctoral students...
  • Some classic ways to undermine your relationship with your supervisor
  • Hiding (yourself or real or imagined problems)
  • Ignoring (advice you don’t understand or don’t like)
  • Mixing (business with personal issues)
  • Gossiping (about your supervisor or colleagues)
  • Bypassing (your supervisor, by making decisions on your own)
  • Assuming (what something meant, what you’re entitled to do)
  • Sinning (illegal or unethical acts)
  • Translate into advice for supervisors...
  • Do some points only apply to PhD students?
  • Are other points relevant for supervisors?


Rugg, G. and M. Petre (2004) The unwritten rules of PhD research. Pp 44-45. Open University Press.

building relationships1
Sofie Kobayashi CRS-NRBuilding relationships
  • Clarify mutual expectations
  • Regular feedback between supervisor and PhD
  • Reviewing progress
  • Reviewing supervision – talk about the talk
  • Resolving conflict – before it becomes a conflict!
  • When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective
  • When trust is low, even the most simple communications can feel strained
different approaches to start a new phd student
Department of Science EducationDifferent approaches to start a new PhD Student

1)State-of-the-art descriptionread this and find out what you want to doget acquainted with the research field

Sofie Kobayashi - Graduate School of Life Sciences

2) Discuss experimental designand consult a statistician

3) Find out who this person isand how we can work together

What do you do?

build trust in the relationship
Sofie Kobayashi CRS-NRBuild trust in the relationship
  • Nurturing a good relationship is essential


Relationship develops through negotiations



When trust is broken only formal contracts are left

what can you do to build trust?

exercise aligning expectations
Sofie KobayashiExercise: Aligning expectations
  • Go through the statements and mark you position
  • Compare with your neighbour positions and look for mismatches
  • Discuss your understanding of the statement and reasons for diverging positions


approaches to learning
Department of Science EducationApproaches to learning

Aim of session:

Understanding of howones perception of learningcaninfluencehowonesees supervision

when do we learn
Department of Science EducationWhen do welearn?
  • Individually: Reflect on what you mean by ‘learning’. When has someone learned something?

2. Exchange your reflections in groups of three

3. Try to arrange your different conceptions of learning in a hierarchy with the most simple in the bottom and the most advanced at top.

six conceptions of learning
Six conceptions of learning

Students say that learning is …

1. A quantitative increase of knowledge

2. Memorising

3. The acquisition of facts and procedures for later use

4. The abstraction of meaning

5. An interpretative process for understanding reality

6. Changing as a person

The outcomes of learning

The processes of learning

Therearestrongconnectionsbetween a person’sconceptions of learning and the person’schoice of studystrategies:

The conceptions of learningco-determine the learningoutcome!

surface vs deep approach towards learning
Surface vs. Deep approach towards learning

Deep approach

Students focus their attention on the overall meaning or message in a class session, text or situation. They attempt to relate ideas together and construct their own meaning, possibly in relation to their own experience.

Surface approach

Students focus their attention on the details and information in a class session or text. They are trying to memorise these individual details in the form they appear in the class or text or to list the features of the situation in order to pass the examinations.

constructivist learning
Constructivist learning


The learner

What has to be learned

Existing knowledge

New information

New phenomenon



New knowledge

Individual process?

Social process?