Archive | May 2015

Master Class

This week I condensed my thesis project and preliminary results into a 10 minute presentations – 10 minutes! – and presented it at a master class on research on contemporary families, organized by a research partnership on families, to which I am not officially affiliated, at another university. Each of the 6 presenting students had been assigned one or two “masters” to comment the written text (5 to 10 pages) we submitted in February, as well as the oral presentation. I went with one of my colleagues, but he’s in community psychology and I’m in education. We had an official practice in front of 2 of our colleagues/friends the day before – I like to do that, especially when I present in French, but it’s always useful, particularly to avoid nervousness on the day of. The presentation went well and I got useful feedback from both the “masters” and from the rest of the audience. Most important, I need to change my title to better reflect the purpose of my research. So that was great, but the best part was meeeting and listening to students from diverse disciplines (mostly sociology and anthropology) present their projects. At least 3 of us were using narrative methods. As narrative methods are pretty rare in early childhood education, I was thrilled to meet other students using them, and using a similar theoretical framework. It was a great day, and a much needed burst of inspiration as everyone was really positive and interested in my project – which I need for the last 20 interviews transcriptions!

Thesis boot camp and the Master class

So life continues, I am spending the days I had set aside to work on my thesis (which means to finish the transcriptions) correcting my students’ final papers, and I’ve already started teaching another class. My scholarship ran its course so the money I earn is cut in half. I started applying for jobs, and of course I am still working as a research coordinator 18 hours a week. Not to mention my son’s school choir performance at 2:45 in the afternoon, and the volunteer position as administrator for the new university childcare centre which seems to be taking more and more of my time lately, and it is no wonder my project is not advancing quickly. I said I wanted to take the slow route, but I’m not sure this is what I meant. I do have a few events coming up in the next month or so that will force me to get back to work. Next Wednesday I am participating in a master class on the contemporary family that a research centre at another university is organizing. I am not all that sure what a master class is – 6 of us MA and PhD students present our research projects briefly (we have 10 minutes) and then the “masters,” researchers or professors or experts in the field, will comment on the presentation and on the 5-10 page description of our projects that we submitted in February. So it is kind of like a research seminar. I can’t figure out why they’re doing it, unless the research centre is looking for future collaborators, but I’m looking forward to discussing my project. Of course it is next Wednesday and I haven’t started preparing the presentation yet, but I’m not panicking yet…
At the beginning of June I’m presenting preliminary results at a conference. That should motivate me to get back to the transcriptions. Finally, inspired by the Thesis Whisperer, some students in my city have organized a thesis writing retreat over a weekend at an environmental education centre in the country. I am curious about how it’ll work and about the fact that we have to sleep in a dorm (I’m 41!), but I think it could be very helpful. Anyways, I’ll let you all how these events go…I guess it’s time to get back to that pile of corrections before the kids wake up!