Feedback Makes Me Squirm

I have been onBute Park, Cardiff strike today – I may even get on the telly (see if you can spot me in this tweet). I was on strike yesterday but the weather was cold!!! Today it was warm and sunny – perfect for a trip around Bute Park (pictured left) after the picket-line.

I found a shaded spot and finally summoned up the courage to open an email my supor (this is a truncation of ‘supervisor’ – a bad habit I’m getting from my kids, see this tweet for another one, i.e. #mobent). My supor is a very approachable person but I’d been avoiding their email for days. This time, the email did not contain any feedback – phew!

I am not proud of the fact that even the thought of a message containing feedback makes me squirm, even though it is exactly what I need. It’s ironic really, as I’m a lecturer for the day-job…, ie. someone who is entirely unafraid of dishing out feedback. Thus, if I ever do get over this phobia I promise to nail a little bit of it into the part of my brain that deals with marking.

Back to the phobia. I am really not sure what it going on. Is it related to ‘impostor syndrome‘?  Unlikely, that only applies to ‘high achieving individuals’. I usually blame this kind of thing on being the youngest kid of five siblings… Probably that’s not it this time. Is it something to do with the sheer challenge feedback could drive into my plans and the subsequent work it will involve? Or is it the naked, didactic text that begs questions I can’t answer or to which I have no means/right of reply…

All this leaves me thinking: Does anyone else get this and, if so, what have you done about it?

(Mike is in Cohort 7 of the PhD in Technology Enhanced Learning and E-Research and blogs occasionally at


Book Reviewing

Amazon image of the Willis 2014 Action Research book

I’ve recently published a review in BJET of a book about Action Research aimed at doctoral students. I did find Willis & Edwards’ book useful where the SAGE handbook can be a bit intimidating… Amazon are selling it for about £40. Sadly, it’s not in the Lancaster library :/ (at the moment! – but I must say I’ve found the library refreshingly receptive to recommendations in the past).

This sort of highlights the significant perk of getting into book reviewing… You get to keep the book! I know that’s stating the obvious, but I do enjoy a real paper book, on a substantial topic, ‘to have and to hold’ (I do think e-books are very useful, not least for the capacity to search the full text).

Continue reading Book Reviewing