I think that one of the main characteristics of research is its reliability. KZ educational professionals are most interested in the research with practical significance, i.e. the one which can provide clear instructions and guidelines for future policies. My attitude toward research changed after last couple of months. In particular, I understood that research is even more complex activity than I thought. All the readings and writing activities that we have done by this point have shown me that research is not only about asking right questions and finding answers for them with help of relevant methodology and analysis of existing literature on the theme. Before, I thought that the ultimate aim of research is its results, finding sufficient evidence for you thesis and building a coherent, valid and reliable argument. Now I see that presenting your research to the public is also one of the most important aims of a research. It may be not sufficient to prove the hypothesis and support you thesis with robust thesis. It is no less important to present your argument; to create your paper in a way that the essence of your research, its main idea and ways of how I came to it and what follows from it would be clear for the reader. Now, after having being engaged in the process of research more deeply, I start to notice that finding evidence is half of the work if not less. What is more difficult and more important is to incorporate each piece of the evidence into your writing so that a solid and concrete argument is built. I prefer to rely on in-depth information so I prefer qualitative methods, in particular, interviews. I think that my vision of research would fit into my community, because I believe that high-quality dissimilation and presentation of found results is important for all scholars.
Writing a literature review is one of the most challenging parts of a project because it is necessary to chose out all the information that exists on a given topic the one which is the most relevant to my project. After finding and reading all these sources, it is also important to present them in a coherent and logical way so that the reader would understand the background and actuality of the theme which I study, as well as why this theme is worth of studying. Organization of the main ideas plays an important role here. After reading a number of sources I decided to structure my paper in the following way. First of all, I would like to begin my literature review from defining main notions and terms which I use in it. So, I start from explaining what dyslexia is, what are its main symptoms, characteristics and causes. Then I move on to presenting the bigger picture about it, in particular, to what extent it is wide spread in the world. After that I narrow my focus to Kazakhstan. Due to the reason that it is extremely difficult to find material on dyscalculia among Kazakhstani population I provide an overview of attitudes and strategies concerning inclusive education in general in our country. I end my literature review with looking at how others countries deal with student who suffer from it, what are the special programs for these students and what place students with dyscalculia have in inclusive education settings.
The main challenges in finding resources were about finding information in Kazakhstan. Also, there is not enough data on effectiveness of some programs, as many of them have been launched quite recently.
Now I am in the middle of the process. I found all my main sources, but I did not write much about situation in Kazakhstan and I need to revise the part about programs used in other countries because I constantly keep finding some new material.
The texts which I would like to share with you are “Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Mathematics: A practical guide” and “Dyscalculia: From Brain to Education” by Brian Butterworth, Sashank Varma and Diana Laurillard.
The first one provides a detailed and very clear overview of dyscalculia as well as some useful strategies about how to deal with students who suffer from it. In particular, this book provides detailed guidelines on how to deal with various Math topics, for example, fractions, operations with numbers and so on. Also it constantly emphasizes importance of raising awareness about dyscalculia among the teachers. The second text provides a useful insight about the causes of dyscalculia from the neural perspective, in particular what changes happen in the brain of a child with dyscalculia. It also provides details on how special software, such as Number Race and Graphogame Maths can be used to help such students.
Butterworth, Varma and Laurillard. (2011). “Dyscalculia: From Brain to Education” by Brian Scienc”, 332, 1049-1053.
Henderson, A. (2014). Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Mathematics: A practical guide. London: Routlege.
My thesis topic is “How well are teachers aware about dyscalculia in Kazakhstan”
I chose this topic because during studying for my bachelor degree I was majoring in Math, now I study the inclusive education and dyscalculia is one of the special needs which can be found in children who have difficulties with solving Math problems. Usually Math is considered to be one of the most difficult subjects in school and many students struggle with it, so sometimes it may be challenging to identify a child with dyscalculia, as teachers may mistakenly think that a child does not work hard enough. In, reality, however, these children need a special approach and different methods of explaining Math to them. In addition to this problem, not so many teachers are aware that dyscalculia exists. So, before developing and promoting different methods and strategies of helping to children to dyscalculia I think, we need to provide teachers with information about what it is and how such children should be treated. So, I decided to work on this question about to what extent Kazakhstani tutors are aware of dyscalculia as I think finding answer to this question would be the first step in tackling the problem of dyscalculia.
One of the sides who would benefit from my research will be children, because after the degree of awareness about dyscalculia among teachers will be found and some methods to increase the awareness about it will be proposed, children will have the special assistance in studying Math, which they really need. Teachers will also benefit from my research as they will be more confident after expanding their knowledge about dyscalculia and learning about how to help children with it.
I think that this problem of dyscalculia is really relevant for me because in searching the ways and methods of how to increase awareness about it I can apply both the knowledge which I received during my bachelor years and the knowledge that I am receiving now studying inclusive education.
As I am learning about how to be a leader in inclusive education, I think this research will be a useful practice for me. Doing this project I will create statistics on problem of dyscalculia in Kazakhstani schools. I will try to raise awareness about it among public. Finally, I will try to bring some changes to the existing system and focusing on children with dyscalculia I will try to find methods of including this group of children into inclusive system of education, protecting their rights and promoting their interests.