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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


BLOSE, Sibonelo; MSIZA, Vusi  and  CHIORORO, Freedom. Developing a supervisor identity through experiential learning: Narratives of three novice academics working in a South African University. Journal of Education [online]. 2021, n.82, pp.28-43. ISSN 2520-9868.

One of the critical tasks of academics in any research-intensive university is the supervision of postgraduate students. Given the central role of this activity, how novice academics learn to supervise is significant. In this paper, we present our narratives as novice academics, and we focus on our learning of the supervision role. We drew from experiential learning and role identity theories to frame our understanding of this process. Using a narrative inquiry methodology, we shared and examined our narratives of lived experiences as novice supervisors. Upon examining our narratives, we identified four sources of learning that were significant in developing our supervisor identity: our current or previous supervisors; senior colleagues; meaningful corridor talks; and the practice of reflexivity. We recommend that institutions of higher learning pay added attention to the development of novice supervisors. Although structured programmes are significant, other learning avenues need to be explored to assist novice supervisors to develop a supervisor identity.

Keywords : supervision; novice supervisor; experiential learning; narrative inquiry; role identity.

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