Engaging With Liminalities and Combating Toxicity
A Compassionate Approach to Developing Professional Identities for Phd Students Who Teach
Keywords:Compassion, identity, doctoral student, teaching PhD students, academic development
The nascent compassionate turn in education demonstrates the importance of contesting market-driven narratives of Higher Education. A key way to position compassion at the centre of Higher Education is through academic development. Compassion is particularly relevant to the training needs of PhD students who teach; they inhabit a liminal position, as both students and teachers. This is one of many stressors and difficulties they are likely to encounter whilst developing their professional identities, and so they are likely to benefit from a focus on both self-compassion and compassion for their own students. This case study describes a new course for doctoral candidates, ‘Establishing a Teaching Persona’, at a UK university; the training focuses on both compassion and identity to better prepare PhD students for teaching in Higher Education. In doing so, it also offers a consideration of the utility of compassion and identity exploration in academic development for all teaching staff in Higher Education.
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