Kazakhstan is facing various changes in the educational reform such as the implementation of a trilingual policy, development of e-learning, maintenance of life-long learning in all levels of education, etc. However, before talking about any educational change, have you thought about “support” that comes from these changes? Do you know that individual’s support and a strong belief in someone or something is stronger and better than any educational reform change?
The above-mentioned questions came to my mind when I first watched Nadia Lopez’s speech on Ted talks. She impressed me with her support and the strong belief in creating a life-changing environment for children from violent neighborhoods. In 2010, she opened Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, New York City with a simple goal in her mind: to close a prison. The school had numerous problems such as lack of teachers, low parental involvement, lack of funding, even neighborhood gangs living in that violent area where the school is located. Nadia Lopez, the principal of this school, once was shocked to hear some children’s responses about their future life. Most of them had doubts about whether they will live for more than 5 years or not. She reached her goal of showing those children that there are opportunities outside this violent area. Teachers call their students scholars, as they are life-long learners. Funding raised for this school resulted in organizing field trips to the best universities. Finally, students started to realize that studying in the university such as Harvard was a real possibility. Nadia is always available for her students, she even gave them her mobile number. Her belief in students’ brilliance strengthens every time she looks at them.
What does this story tell us? Nadia’s belief obviously played a vital role in opening this school. The same can refer to our educational change happening in Kazakhstan. Why should we follow changes just because we need to or someone told us? I think any change comes from deeper roots, most probably from someone who is motivated and believes in a bright future. But another thing is to feel that support. I believe that our country can learn things on how to support educators beyond telling them to follow rules.