Advising-in-action: an exploratory study of the inner dialogue of eight learning advisors
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 21:48 authored by Tanya Miranda McCarthy
The analysis of advising sessions have identified common standards of the profession in areas such as advising skills and tools employed, communicative practices and procedures. There are however numerous variations in advisor behavior due to differences in cognitive processes. That is, in a similar advising situation, at a critical point in the discourse, two advisors may take opposite approaches. How advisors make decisions during advising sessions is a question that has not been fully explored in research literature. The purpose of this research was thus to explore the cognitive processes of learning advisors-in-action. Four research questions sought to 1) determine the content of learning advisor thoughts in order to catalogue advisor experiences; 2) uncover the underlying factors guiding the decision-making process; 3) identify sources of knowledge advisors drew upon to assist them in guiding the learner; and 4) compare less and more experienced advisors to identify any commonalities in decision making and knowledge accessed. It was felt that by answering these research questions, it would lead to a more accurate and detailed picture of language advising based on empirical research. Theories from teaching and counseling disciplines that have been used to understand other professionals' practices were introduced in order to ascertain a model that would best represent the cognitive process of an advisor-in-action. The study employed data collection techniques such as stimulated audio recall interviews, semi-structured interviews and a research journal containing details of the data collection and analysis procedures to identify the inner dialogic thoughts of a team of eight practicing learning advisors. Qualitative analysis further employed the use of constant-comparison analysis to find commonalities and differences between advisors. Through a grounded theory approach, five main and fourteen sub-categories explaining advisor inner dialogic process were brought to light. The conclusion of the thesis proposed that by tapping into the cognitive processes of advisors-in-action, firstly, practitioners would be able to increase their cognitive awareness, thereby improving advising practices; and secondly, a more complete picture of advising would emerge which could influence changes in current methods of advisor training.