Challenges of teaching and learning English at primary schools in Kazakhstan

The topic of my research is Challenges of teaching and learning English at primary schools in Kazakhstan. Frankly speaking, I took up the decision to investigate this issue last year when we were studying Inquiry Methods Course at the University.

I feel passionate about the topic and I believe that I can contribute to the solution of the existing situation. From communication with practicing teachers I know that teachers and students experience challenges in teaching and learning English at primary school. Teachers find it difficult to enable effective language teaching at primary school. According to international research, it is caused by the fact that “teachers have often received limited specific professional development regarding the teaching of students from non-English speaking backgrounds (Da Silva Iddings & Katz, 2007, Franken & McComish, 2003; Haworth, 2005b, Harvey, Richards & Stacey, 2007 as cited in Yukich, 2013). Moreover, students find it challenging to simultenuously acquire a native a foreign language.

The issues mentioned need deeper consideration, otherwise it will cause failure of the policy implementation. Besides, it will raise disappointment among primary school teachers and students.

In my research I will specifically focus on the first Grade of primary school. My research will aim at answering two main questions: what primary school students in Karaganda region perceive as challenges during the process of learning English, and what teachers perceive as challenges in teaching English at primary schools of Karaganda region?

This research is important, as it will provide insight into the experiences of both teachers and students regarding the challenges faced in the process of teaching and learning the English language.

The research could help to (a) improve the policy of implementing early language learning in Kazakhstani primary schools regarding the existing system of primary school curriculum design, teacher preparation and training, course books design, (b) provide teachers with specific information on what students believe will help them make the process of learning English enjoyable, and (c) further explore the perceptions students and teachers have regarding language teaching and learning.


8 thoughts on “Challenges of teaching and learning English at primary schools in Kazakhstan

  1. Dear Gulnaz,
    thank you for your post. I am very interested in the topic of your research for two reasons. Firstly, I am a teacher of English in the primary school. Secondly, as a young teacher I used to encounter some challenges when teaching English for the children of young age for the first time.
    I consider that finding of your research will contribute to the existing knowledge about teaching English in primary school and will foster the development of language teaching in primary school in Kazakhstan.
    The most interesting part in your research is that you will find out about challenges that both students and teachers will have. That will give us both perspectives on the studied issue. I am sure that teachers will discover new information for their practice after reading your research.

    Good luck with your work.


    1. Dear Miramgul, Thank you for your comments. I agree with you that both teachers and students will, hopefully, benefit from the research. Besides, this is an attempt ‘to give voice’ to these two subjects of the process so that it affect positively the implementation of the policy of early language in KZ.
      Gulnaz Zhukenova.


  2. Dear Gulnaz,
    I have found your topic really interesting for me. I think that the problem of teaching and learning English at primary school is essential. Students start to learn English from the first grade and if they are not treated appropriate this time, as a result they will lose their interest in this subject and then it will be a complicated task to promote a love of English language in a secondary school. I think that the main problem with the challenging of teaching English is that pedagogical universities and institutes do not provide their students with an appropriate courses of teaching young learners, for instance. Students learn different teaching approaches, however, they do not know how to apply them in practice. I hope that your findings will contribute to the teaching process.
    Regards, Aizhan.


    1. Dear Aizhan, Thank you for your comments. I believe, my findings will reveal some causes of the existing situation I probably do not know about. I should look at the teacher’s education background as well. Thank you.
      Gulnaz Zhukenova


  3. Dear Gulnaz,
    The topic that you are trying to develop further is very relevant to the current educational goals that Kazakhstan has on its agenda. Acquiring a foreign language has been a hot topic since the rise of globalization, raising lots of discussions and researches among the teachers, professionals and researchers. Various methods of teaching foreign languages have been developed to this moment. However, we are not yet there, when we can say that our students acquire the foreign language effectively and teachers have the best teaching practices in order for them to succeed. My only concern is whether teachers have enough freedom on their syllabus, and if not, is that syllabus allows them to achieve success in their foreign language class.


  4. Thank you Gulnaz (and commenters) for a great post. You do a nice job introducing your topic clearly, both in terms of its purpose and your personal interest and experience. Blogging is a good platform for exactly this kind of formal/informal writing.

    I see one major issue with the formal part of your writing: APA reference. Every time you use a source, include a reference list at the end of the text. Specifically with this post, your direct quotation doesn’t have an end quotation mark, and your reference is missing a page number. Finally. I recommend reformatting to say that “Many researchers (as cited in Yukisch, 2013) argue that “teachers…backgrounds” (p.#). You only cite the text you read.



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