As part of my work contract, I am required to visit the occasional training day. Luckily, I am allowed to pick the topics of these workshops myself, so at least they are about something I am actually interested in.
So today, I spent a day in Dortmund, doing a workshop on how to facilitate the writing process for students, dealing with problems such as identifying research questions, helping students to develop their own writing style, offering the right amount of input without becoming too domineering.
The good news is that I am apparently already doing a lot of things right, at least in terms of structural and motivational support. The bad news is that there is not “one cure for all” when it comes to teaching students how to come up with research ideas, time management, and proper citations: What works for one person might have the opposite effect for another, and in the end you can only do a certain amount of “pushing” in the right direction – learning how to carry out (and communicate!) research is part of the individual academic learning curve, after all.
It still was a pretty good workshop, as it made me realise that I need to revise my presentations on research and academic writing; maybe I am assuming too much foreknowledge by students, which could be the reason why their research papers are not always up to the standards I am aiming for. But for students to understand and meet these standards, I have to explain them more thoroughly. Lesson learned.