Reply To: 9. Sep 22nd – Mentorship in environmental history: case studies

Start Forums Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History 2015 9. Sep 22nd – Mentorship in environmental history: case studies Reply To: 9. Sep 22nd – Mentorship in environmental history: case studies

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Lauri Jokinen # Posted on September 27, 2015 at 15:45

Reflections by Lauri

I would like to begin by stating that all in all it was a very good idea to have us from the master’s programme to meet the students of the undergraduate course. I am not sure how much the students would feel they benefited from that day, but I would say that I got good experiences. I found that first as the groups described me their topics and ideas so far, I had to be very careful of not putting out too much of my own ideas when I gave recommendations on how they could continue developing theirs. I feel that I should have stated more specifically to every group that they should also be critical about what I am saying, but I think (and hope) that in the end they will follow their own ideas, perhaps inspired partly by what I had to say.

Towards the end of the day I found that my comments had changed from discussing the content of their projects to discussing research questions. More specifically I was telling them to try to formulate a research question already now in the beginning of the work, and then adapting or changing that question if (and when) they would need to do so as the work progresses. I was also telling them to consider how they will motivate their choice of angle to approach the given topics so to say. I feel that this latter approach might have been more useful to the students since it was more about raising questions than trying to give any kind of answer to what they should look into or how they might structure their work.

I think this way to arrange the mentoring was good as it didn’t demand too much from us, but still created contact between the undergraduate students and us. However, I felt at least myself that I was expected, by myself and others, to be in some sort of an expert role, and in some ways that makes sense, but it could be good to think of ways to help close the socially constructed gap between master’s and undergraduate students.