Renee has been providing academic performance coaching to various universities since 2017.
Academic writing support
Many students, even those studying at a post-graduate level, still struggle with basic writing and language skills, including grammar, syntax, lexis, and punctuation. This is particularly true for – though certainly not limited to – international students. Similarly, the majority of students I work with have received feedback from supervisors and lecturers about the lack of ‘flow and cohesion’ in their work, but are left wondering how to fix this. My work involves illustrating exactly what these concepts mean and providing clear ways to improve the flow and cohesion of their arguments; from the sentence level, to that of the paragraph, through to the essay, paper, or thesis.
I work one-on-one with students to help facilitate a deeper understanding of the primary issues they face in their writing, so that they are able to recognise and be mindful of these. My approach is also designed to help them develop the skills required to edit their own work moving forward, so as to lessen the burden of this in the final stages of their degree.
I also provide students with the broader skills required for academia, including structuring articles for publication, brainstorming and developing clarity in regard to research topics, understanding the publication process, and networking with academic peers.
Coaching is a collaborative process, in which students are empowered to develop effective pathways through the complex terrain of lengthy post-graduate research projects.
Postgraduate students are particularly susceptible to high levels of stress and anxiety which, if left unchecked, can seriously impede their workflow and levels of productivity. Obviously, during this period of uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, stress and anxiety have been heightened throughout the student body.
Coaching offers a space for students to reflect on obstacles they are facing, as well as tools to overcome these. Every week, I work with post-graduate students facing such issues as burnout, stress, poor time-management, imposter syndrome, and low motivation. Issues of poor communication – particularly with supervisors – is also a common coaching point.
Benefits for students and the university
Benefits to students include
Increased sense of purpose and connection with their research, thus increasing drive and motivation
Increased sense of being part of the academic community, and thus a greater confidence to contribute with publications and research output
Increased communication skills and confidence talking to supervisors
Improved clarity around research topics, thus saving time by not going down ‘rabbit holes’
Greater commitment to personal health through access to wellbeing support
Benefits to the university include
Reduced need for paid editors before submission
Potentially increased research output for the university
Easing of pressure on supervisors
Reduced risk of requests for extension and non-completion
Contributes to the culture of student-centred operations and student wellbeing
Renee enabled me to view my research study in a broader perspective and she validated my initial goals which had become somewhat unstuck as the course work progressed. It was wonderful to have an unbiased person to talk with about my personal concerns in relation to the Master of Research without feeling embarrassed. The two sessions I had with Renee signify a turning point for me believing in myself as worthy of being a part of the Master's program (as one with an overabundance of self doubt that creeps back like the ivy on my garden fence).
Renee was welcoming and supportive of what I was facing as a research student. She assisted both on a logistical level as well as a motivational aspect.
Love the fact that it is easy to have a conversation with Dr Lockwood . I booked for a coaching session and the session turned out to be more than that. She was empathetic and showed genuine concern for my well being.
Renee was most encouraging with regard to my writing and the real bonus was the fact that she took a genuine interest in my research and I found this - and the advice she provided very beneficial - her input increased my confidence.
Renee was exceptional at providing advice about writing and giving valuable feedback. This feedback and advice helped me to feel at ease about my progress, thereby minimising stress and anxiety.
Being able to discuss my ideas with a third party helped me in understanding which areas I needed to work on. It was helpful to talk to an academic and get reassurance in a non-graded way.
Renee has been extremely helpful over this last semester and I couldn't thank her enough for all the time and effort she's put in to help me progress as a student researcher. Renee provides insightful feedback and gives great writing tips and advice.
Renee helps me to clarify and validate my thoughts on my current PhD journey. I feel that it isn't entirely possible to discuss my concerns, thoughts, attitudes freely with my supervisors, so having Renee is a godsend and I honestly know that before this I stressed a lot more!
Having a session with Renee has changed the way I looked at myself as a writer. I feel more confident with my writing now than I did before. She is a very good listener and gives undivided attention to what is being spoken. Given her way of providing feedback, I was very comfortable to speak my heart out with her. Besides tips on academic writing , she is very concerned about well being of a student. Thus, her advice on taking care of myself has changed a lot of things in my life lately. I am trying to reduce my stress and enjoy while I write. All thanks to her!
Given my specific problems during this very challenging Covid-19 period, apart form her support on my writing, Renee has helped me most in dealing with my anxiety and pressure issues by helping me build up a workable life and work routine to meet the new normal for a better survival in my study and personal life.
Renee was able to expertly coach me so that I understood how to better organise my day in support of my well being. Coming from the foundation of positive psychology Renee supported me to recognize and value my strengths so that I was able to feel more confident about myself as an emerging researcher and writer.
This has been a game changer for me. Having someone external to validate my writing and to give me the confidence which I wasn't able to receive from my supervisors was critical. I wish this could be offered to all PhD students so that they had an alternative to their supervisors, when needed, for a complimentary and external viewpoint.