This morning I had a meeting with Dr Jan Herrington, Professor of Education at Murdoch University here in Perth, Western Australia. It was a very friendly, honest, open, productive and, as tweeted straight afterwards, a “frightfully successful” meeting about the potential of me starting to work towards a PhD degree, supervised by Dr Herrington. Her research interests read much like an awesomely researched, thoughtful academic version of my passionate scribbles here (on my blog). In conversation, we have traversed so much of edu(tech) territory with an amazing ease and understanding of two people ‘in the field’. Within an hour, we have mapped out a rough outline of the project, theoretical framework and possible methodology (freakish! – more on that another time). Dr Herrington’s methodical approach to completing a thesis project and her philosophy on writing were music to my ears after the six years (or seven, forgot it myself) part-time effort of an arduous Masters research thesis. Over Twitter, I even got high recommendations about Dr Herrington by one of her former PhD students. Not to mention I would probably be working closely with my best friend Dr Greg Thompson, who actually introduced me to Dr Herrington. And more. It all looks so seductively ready to go…
My modus operandi has long been “why not?” in many things. But this one is a big chunk, big enough to ask: “Why do it?” (My wife asked me the same question, rightly so.). Here are my top reasons, all with their positive spin and endless question marks not stated but assumed:
- I am curious and love learning, thinking and doing what I believe in.
- I love pushing the boundaries.
- I am passionate about technology being the catalyst for not just how we learn but what we (never cease to) become as a result of using it.
- I am uncomfortable with the prevalent mainstream, myopic schooling system mired in technicalities that change nothing that really matters.
- I like creative yet disciplined, logical, thoughtful effort that makes sense to people and ends up being significant.
- I am slightly mad (a necessary pre-condition many PhD/EdD candidates tell me… 🙂 )
- I know I can do it.
- I would have an excellent supervisor and mentor.
Yes, the title and job prospects and all that are nothing to be sneezed at and I don’t pretend I would not like them but I recognise the foolishness of it. Because there will always be more …
And while I ask myself ‘can I endure the endless hours of research, painstaking editing, drafting, re-shaping and processing things, can our bank balance cope with such a project, can I sacrifice hundreds of hours I would otherwise spend with my family, are there alternatives etc etc …’, please feel free to either advise me with a reasonable encouragement or a sobering kick in the butt, or generally share your views on the question: To PhD or Not To PhD?
Thank you. Sincerely.
PS. Our “Why is everyone an expert in education?” series will continue very soon. Last two weeks have been crazy for the three of us writing. Coming up!