A Scaffold towards the Clarity of Ideas: Reflections on the First Year Annual Review

Before the Annual Review, I had a mixed of feeling: nervous, curious, worried and excited.

Although I already had some information in hand about what happened in my colleagues’ AR, preparing for mine was still quite daunting. “Have I prepared enough? What questions will the reviewer ask? Will I be able to answer the questions? Have I had enough knowledge about my research?”  All those questions dawdled in my mind especially minutes before the actual AR. However, I was also curious about those questions and the actual atmosphere of the AR. Feeling excited? Yeah, I was also excited that I was going to talk about my study from the very beginning up to my current stance, and about the new topic that I have been living with for a couple of months. Though I was also worried at the same time :D.

Although I have known DR. Juup Stelma, my external reviewer, and have talked to him many many times before especially during my Master program (also in this university), he is a totally new person to my research. I started the AR by explicating about my study, the original topic, the shift in my study, the tentative new topic, and why there has been a change in my topic. Then the discussion went on. Juup asked what I know about the teachers in the ISS (International Standard School – Indonesian public schools with CLIL/ EMI) -the focus of my study, the ISS policy, the history of ISS, the language policy, how teachers with different characters, personality, interests, and qualifications might response to the policy reversal, etc. Those questions have helped me visualise the world surrounding my research: the context, the schools, the teachers, the students, parents, environments, policy, and all other elements concerning my research.

It was interesting that the discussion also touched the issues of the potential death of my native language, Javanese, and other Indonesian local languages which made me realise how complicated the language policy issues in my country is. This is an issue that is relevant to two of the minor areas of my topic which I am currently developing, the politics of language policy and the Englishisation vs Internalisation. Before the review, I was thinking more about English vs. Bahasa Indonesia, my national language, as much of the literature discusses. I almost forgot to include the discussion of Indonesian local languages, the endangered and almost forgotten heritage (especially in our big cities).

After the AR, I realise that the university devised AR to help scaffold the junior researchers, like me, to articulate our ideas about our research to ‘a fresh pair of ears’ (borrowing Richard’s term) so that we are aware of our current position in our research journey and are able to locate areas that we need to explore more. As what Richard says, AR is also very helpful to spot any potential problem in our study and our research so that we can act quickly to fix it. “A stitch in time saves nine”.

The whole AR process has helped me feel more confident about my skill and knowledge to continue my research process and develop the sense of ownership of my research. Now I can sail through the second year with more confident and perseverance. I do hope I can make significant progresses after this point.