In anticipation of a remote and highly-sanitised new academic year, with a new cohort of virus-carrying PhDs, Chris wonders:
What do you do if students come from different cultural backgrounds where student participation and discussion is not valued?
Easy: you jump three times and clap with joy as you just hit JACKPOT!
Do you finally have a student who does not question your great wisdom? Good for you, no need to rub it in our faces. Let them think you are great, and not to be contradicted. Enjoy this moment you so much deserve after a restless contribution to the very important field of tracking evolution of echinoid sphincters. Really, what do these young minds think they know anyway? They should consult the great classics of Geology before asking a self-evident question to an expert such as yourself.
Do you have a student who doesn’t think they know the lab machine better than you because they’ve been fiddling with it for the past 3 years, while you were sat at the pub having great debates? Finally! Stop bragging, and tell us where you found that gold mine. Just because they are in the lab 90 hrs a week, doesn’t mean they know the intricacies of the instruments better than you. It’s probably great that they don’t question your advice on sample preparation and data collection, advice you are passing on from the great community of 5 like-minded world-leading scientists you meet once a year at a conference (where frankly, young people ask too many questions).
Since you are quite well travelled yourself, as all reputable academics are, you can also draw on your multicultural experiences around the exotic and remote countries of Western Europe and North America in order to empathise with your student’s cultural shock and experience. Better yet, why don’t you create some extra workload for a more junior academic in your department and ask them to mentor your new PhD student and give them a cultural introduction?! Either way, you are really lucky, my friend!
The Sassy Scientist
PS: This post was written in anticipation of international students actually being able to travel.
PS2: There is this concept of ’empowerment’. I am unsure how it works exactly, but it might be worth looking it up!