Monthly Archives: April 2016

Language revitalization of minorities

Language is a unique creation from the ancestors; it presents our history, our culture, and our identity.  All living languages constitute the diverse ecology of the languages. However, some languages are threatened due to various reasons. The main reason for endangerment is somehow political. Taking into consideration of prediction of the languages decline, there is an urgent need for revitalizing the languages. These languages are often assumed as the languages of indigenous minorities and immigrant minorities. In order to revive the languages of the minorities, specific language revitalization methods and programs need to be added to the educational agenda.

Different language revitalization methods defined by Tsunoda (2006) have emerged in various settings. For instance, the bilingual method focuses on the instruction of minority language and dominant language which does not mean teaching the language (Tsunoda, 2006). While the bilingual method is related to mediums of instruction in education, other methods illustrate the daily learning in different contexts such as social communication and media use. Other methods can be neighborhood method, telephone method, radio method, multimedia method, and so forth (Tsunoda, 2006). Neighbourhood and telephone method occur in the conversation with the speakers from that particular language community; radio method and multimedia method implicate language learning through listening. All these simple methods are aimed at revitalizing languages through different ways, and some of them are applicable to the education.

Language revitalization programs designated for schools can be either bilingual programs or multilingual programs. These programs are found so as to preserve the minority languages and promote their use in education. Considering the successful language revitalization program of the Maori language in New Zealand, from the 1980s the Maori community set up the Maori-medium pre-schools, and then gradually opened the secondary schools and tertiary institutions. The school program is additive bilingualism, which is aimed at maintaining the Maori language, in Maori and English (Weber & Horner, 2012). Obviously, languages of minority groups can be effectively revitalized through educational programs.

To conclude, language revitalization can be achieved by implementing the specific bilingual/multilingual programs and by means of different methods. Minority languages are opposed to the language of the powerful group which indeed lack some support from the government in some countries. On the other hand, there are international organizations that endeavor to preserve and revitalize the languages.

Reference:

Tsunoda, T. (2006). Language revitalization: maintenance and revival.Language endangerment and language revitalization: an introduction (Vol. 148). Walter de Gruyter.

Weber J.J. & Horner K. (2012). Revitalization of endangered languages. Introducing Multilingualism a Social Approach.(p. 53.).Routledge.

Being a student again

I applied for a master degree at Nazarbayev University because I felt that I need to grow as a professional, to learn something new, to look for opportunities which exist beyond my surroundings. I am definitely reaching those goals and enjoying my student life. However, I am also noticing the things that I did not expected and I would not be able to notice them if I was not a student. Particularly, I have started to reflect on how I teach.

I have three years of teaching experience but I did not realize how being a student yourself can make you think about effective teaching. I observe how my instructors structure the lesson and deliver the content and I see how my groupmates and I react to it. In some cases I notice positive atmosphere and attitude, relevance of every assignment and activity, clear goals and diversity on the sessions. When I see that I immediately think that I should try it on my lessons and take those faculty members as role models in teaching. I enjoy those lessons as a student but also as a teacher.

There are also the cases when I am not satisfied with how a session went or how a particular professor or instructor act. Sometimes I and my groupmates feel that we are uncomfortable or bored or dissatisfied during our sessions. Professors might be very good at their areas of expertise but not all of them are good teachers and sometimes it has an effect on our study. I have noticed that I make the same mistakes as my instructors or professors. Sometimes I overuse a particular type of activity, presentation on posters for example, or ask too many questions from students, or give a task which is not very relevant and important. I could understand it only when I became a student myself.

It is interesting to be a student again after being a teacher for a long time. I am glad that I learnt many lessons from this experience. What are the things that you did not expect to learn while being a student?

Plenary or reflection: what is the need for?

images

To be a teacher is a very easy task but teaching is the most difficult process. Teachers cannot see the results of their work immediately unlike their colleagues – artists or constructors – who creates something and after some time vo a la the masterpiece is ready to be purchased or simply admired by the lovers. No panic! There is a solution for teachers to know what went well during the lesson and what should be improved next time. It`s plenary time! or five minutes activity at the end of each lesson for reflection. Why do teachers need it? What benefits students will gain completing this task? What are the functions of plenary tasks? Is it a new method or no? Here I will try to answer the following questions and explicate them for you.

Well, I would like to answer the first question first: Why teachers need reflection? Due to reflection or plenary, teachers can check if their endeavour was done not in vain. Moreover, teachers can see the flaws in their teaching methods, styles, analyse the activity for the appropriateness or relevance, or understand the learners` need and abilities better. Next time they will plan their lessons taking into consideration the students feedback and will be able to improve their teaching styles and up-to-date their teaching methods.

Next is what students will win from this? They will learn how to reflect on what they have learnt and assess the situation adequately so that to develop their own skills and habits. It will help them to see their own gaps and mistakes. In addition, it will motivate them to study hard in order not to fail the task or, even more, to get the excellent mark from the teacher next time.

As for the functions of the plenary, it is to help both teachers and students to see their own strengths and weaknesses in teaching and learning process. From topic to topic the content of the plenary should be changed in order not to get bored and to know the accurate situation in the class. It will help them to assess their abilities, try something new, for instance, new teaching method, or a new way of conducting the lesson, etc.

My answer to the last question is here that some educators assume that getting feedback from the students is something new or modern method in education. I argue that this type of reflection existed even in the Soviet period and it is not a new way of concluding the lesson. During the Soviet time teachers simply asked questions orally and students answered them in the same way without writing anything. But now when everything is changed and the era of technology is boosting, it is impossible to imagine a class without smart boards or some electronic devices so teachers use them at its full length, depicting everything in images, charts, tables, etc.

To conclude, I would like to say that with the help of plenaries the voices of the students will be heard, and both the teachers and the students will work hard on their own development. Creative lessons create creative students and will encourage students to think critically, to find out extraordinary solutions and will help to form the future leaders in the walls of the school!

Checkpoint 3 Blog Post

Wow, this has been a very long course, definitely the longest we’ve had as part of our program and probably the longest course I’ve ever taken. I think it is safe to say that all of use learned a lot of new things about writing, whether academic or less formal (like this post, for example). I think I speak for everyone when I say that this course really helped us to improve our writing skills. It was especially useful to me in that it opened my eyes to the flaws in my writing.

What I appreciate about this course it how open everyone was in sharing their experience and parts of the sacred thesis. It was always a pleasure and often a great deal of fun to read your posts and thesis sections.

I really hope that we will have the time and fortitude to actually apply this knowledge in writing our theses, because many of us are very limited in time. I also wish (and this opinion may not be very popular) our supervisors would pay more attention to the writing. Sometimes I know that the flaws in my writing will go unnoticed, and it wakes the lazy person inside of me, so I just ignore them.

I also hope we will continue to post news from our lives through blog posts. They are the one thing I will miss the most about this course.

I wish everyone a good viva. I spoke to some graduates of our school, and they say it really isn’t that scary.

I am a master procrastinator

Urban T.(2016, April 6). Inside the mind of a master procrastinator. [TED talks]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMOHfgKxuYI

Procrastination is a pain for me. I always postpone my work and suffer from such a repeated behavior. Procrastination is an obstacle for me. I hardly achieved the goal as I plan and even I surrender myself for such an insane action. After all, I realized that I am a procrastinator and even a master of it.

Yet, I’m not proud of being a master at procrastinating.  A voice inside my body warns me all the time; he tries to persuade me not to run out of time. “Stop procrastination”. To tell the truth, I so much admire non-procrastinators who indeed effectively manage their time. I was inspired to talk about my experience of being a master procrastinator; and I am still, when I watched the video from one of us. Tim Urban, also a master procrastinator, gave a TED talk about the mind of procrastinators publically. It’s conceivable that procrastinators have vast similarities in their experiences. He completed his senior thesis (90 pages) at two nights. And I have done less but 15 pages over 72 hours. Both papers were unqualified.  For others, I would suggest that never try this and risk yourself.

As a master procrastinator, I performed excellently in both short-term and long-term procrastination. While short-term procrastination has an obvious deadline, long-term procrastination extends without deadlines (Urban, 2016). My rush paper is one example of short-term procrastination where my panic monster woke up, and naughty monkey escaped. Urban (2016) in his presentation explains the three different roles in our brains of procrastinators, for example, rational decision-maker, instant gratification monkey and panic monster. All the fault of procrastination can be blamed at this monkey who only seeks for ease and fun. Once panic monster appears, the decision-maker gets the chance to control the whole system. It seems that everything goes right.

Long-term procrastination is endless for all of us. We might put off the plan of travelling for some reasons; we might change schedule which we desire and so on. And we are absolutely aware of no stipulated deadline for us. Thus, we are in the process of procrastination within our monkey. For instance, I hatched some good plans for me such as gym exercise, travelling; however, I did nothing. I am not sure when I can get this work done.

Finally, I said something true about me. I am a master procrastinator.  Being experienced procrastinators, there is a need to think over why we are procrastinating as well as how to stop procrastinating.

 

 

Language loss

Languages loss is not a new phenomenon. Languages faced the challenge of being disappeared historically from the beginning of the human history (Tsunoda, 2006). Krauss (1998) asserts that the languages reached its heyday around 10,000 years ago, and then the number of languages has gradually declined. For me, existing languages are living creatures, and they are struggling in a risky ecological environment. No matter how many of them are alive, they are still in danger of extinction.

The total number of languages is under debate. In accordance with new data from Language Hotspots Project, there are 7,000 languages estimated in the world (Anderson & Harrison, 2006). From the previous research, I have found differences on the total number of languages. 4,500 living and dead languages were listed by researchers (Voegelin and Voegelin, 1977), and Ruhlen (1987) reports that there are 5,000 living languages all over the world. Later on, the figure is increased to 6,000 by Grimese (1988) and changed to 6,500 (as cited in Tsunoda, 2006). Obviously, the number of languages is changing over the time and even slightly increased; you might refute the anticipation of decline of Krauss. To this concern, Krauss (1992) explains that the difference of the number of languages is caused by the definition of “language” and “dialect”.

In fact, the current situation of these languages is not so positive. Languages are in danger of death. Krauss (1998) believes that there will be 300 languages last in the next one and a half centuries. Even it is predicted for the next few decades that one-third of languages are going to be lost(SIL websites, n.d.). Languages seem to suffer from various dangers, linguistic imperialism; invasion of linguistic human rights and so on.

To sum up, this brief information about language loss is aimed to raise the awaerneess of language endangerment.  Of importance, the languages are living creature, and there is still a gleam of hope to save them.

Reference

Anderson, G. D., & Harrison, K. D. (2006). Language hotspots: linking language extinction, biodiversity, & human knowledge base. Retrieved from http://www.livingtongues.org/docs/Hotspots_whitepaper%20copy.pdf

Krauss, M. (1992). The world’s languages in crisis. Language68(1), 4-10. Retreived from http://sustainableunh.unh.edu/sites/sustainableunh.unh.edu/files/images/Krauss(1992).pdf

Krauss,M.(1998). Endangered languages: current issues and future prospects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.361

SIL websites. (n.d.). Endangered languages. Retrieved from:  http://www.sil.org/about/endangered-languages

Tsunoda, T. (2006).Current state of language endangerment. Language endangerment and language revitalization: an introduction (Vol. 148). Walter de Gruyter.

“Leading and Sharing or New model of leadership for better schooling”.

Are there alternative ways of effective leadership that will improve our schools? Of course, there are some other ways leadership and let’s see if our principals can learn from them. As we know, Ministry of Education of Kazakhstan is aiming to improve education management for developing whole schooling system across country (MOES,2011). I think everyone agrees that excellence in education is closely connected with effective leading. Hence, I would like to propose distributed leadership model that embrace both formal and informal leadership practices which co-operate within one organization (Harris, 2014). In order to understand the essence of distributed leadership I will discuss three key features of it, such as building social capital, professional learning communities and professional collaboration with impact.

Alma Harris (2014) believes that, if school principals use strategies of distributed leadership, it enhances building social capital which means “equitable participation in a joint enterprise” and “collaborative learning” (p.78). In other words, equitable participation occurs among staff members by respecting, showing competence, regarding personal issues as well as by ensuring integrity (Bryk and Schneider as cited in Harris,2014). After building such kind of mutual understanding, teachers within administration should be open for “collaborative learning” that leads to collective improvement, effective practice and positive change of the school environment (Harris,2014). Of course, change does not happen overnight or after conducting couple of seminars for teachers, it happens in the context of continuous professional learning communities that will be discussed next.

Professional learning community occurs in the workplace, where group of professionals collaborate to investigate certain aspects of teaching and learning process. As it operates in one school, professional learning community can corporate group of schools which is larger form of collaboration (Harris, 2014). So what do they do? Answer is learning and sharing experience, teachers are busy by reflecting and sharing their experience for improvement of whole school. Harris (2014) stresses that these sort of learning community is much more effective for betterment of practice rather than effect of temporary workshops for teachers. The short-time seminars might illuminate mind of teachers about certain things but they do not have long-term effects or implications in everyday practice. So, professional learning communities can contribute better and make huge influence on things that people do and the impact of collaboration is the next point of discussion.

Being curios about things that teachers do in daily practice, professional collaboration groups can identify problems, by continuous diagnosis and analysis. After identifying problems, they try to find solutions that will be suitable for their unique cases. These solutions are probed, tested and practiced that eventually build knowledge about certain teaching and learning experience. Thus, this circle of actions and investigations make teachers update their knowledge and to be innovative through hands-on experiences and consultation. Innovative and authentic ideas of teachers will eventually lead for desired outcomes of the school (Harris,2014).

To conclude, my purpose is not to idealize distributed leadership but to examine different practices for opting the most suitable ones for local context and educational culture. I think, if school principals enhance trust and positive personal relationship among teachers they can also come up with innovations which were discussed above. I  agree with the author Alma Harris that trust and professional collaboration with clear purposes and shared vision can do lots of positive changes in our schools or across schools. I hope that in this short blog entry I could unpack the notion of distributed leadership by presenting major traits as building social capital, professional learning communitiesa and collaboration with impact. Therefore, it is not just distribution of tasks among  workers, but it is developing proactive members of organization that work and sharpen expertise by collaboration.

References

Harris, A (2014). Distributed leadership matters. Perpectives, practicalities, and potential.

 

 

 

Family Language Policy: Kazakhstani Case

Family language policy (FLP) is a newly emerged concept and King at al. (2008) state that FLP “provides an integrated overview of research on how languages are managed, learned and negotiated within families” (King at al., 20087, p. 907).

Unfortunately, no case studies have been done to research this kind of situation in Kazakhstan. But as a member of a big purely Kazakh origin family, I can say about my own experience. Three languages are spoken by different generation in my family. The older generation, my parents spoke Russian when they were young, later, they changed their attitudes towards the languages and shifted to Kazakh. First reason was when they reached 50 years old, and acknowledged the importance of the mother tongue, and the second reason was when their children (my older siblings used only Russian because they went to Russian kindergartens and schools as there were no Kazakh educational establishments in the village) started to speak Russian more than Kazakh at home. So they decided to send me and my younger sisters to Kazakh kindergarten and school. So, the second generation (my siblings and me) are fluent in both Russian and Kazakh languages. The third generation (grandchildren of my parents) are trilingual; they speak Kazakh and Russian in their own families, and they are acquiring the third language; trilingual policy is embedded in their schools and kindergartens. When the whole family units or their children and grandchildren come to visit my parents, they all try to speak Kazakh because my parents are strict when it comes to the use of language and demand from all of them to speak only Kazakh. The second generation also does good attempts concerning the Kazakh acquisition; using “One Language-One Parent (OPOL)” strategy at home (Braun & Cline, 2014). One of my sisters speaks in Russian to her children and her husband speaks Kazakh to them; they do it unconsciously, because my sister cannot speak Kazakh very well and she prefers Russian and as for my brother-in-law, he just simply does not know Russian very well, that is why he speaks only Kazakh with the children. Children differently respond to both of the parents, mostly in that language that they were addressed to.

This is the only one case, but I am sure there are many cases in Kazakhstan; people simply do not publicise it and maybe they even do not know about the existence of the policy. FLP should be accepted as any language law because the government states to augment the use and status of the Kazakh language. Stakeholders, policy-makers, and researchers must fill this gap and develop not only LP but FLP as well. Adopting some other countries` FLP is not an option because it should be designed according to the Kazakhstani unique experience.

References

Braun, A. & Cline, T. (2014). Language Strategies for Trilingual Families: Parents` Perspective. Great Britain, UK: CPI Group Ltd, Croydon.

King, A.K., Fogle, L., & Logan-Terry, A. (2008). Family language policy. Journal Compilation. Language and Linguistics Compass 2/5. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Smagulova, Zh. (2008). Reforma shkolnogo obrazovaniya: bolshaya peremena [School education reform: big break]. Analytical group “CIPD”. Retrieved from http://agCIPD.kz/archives/602.