All posts by aigerimkazhigaliyeva

Freakonomics radio “Is Learning a Foreign Language Really worth It?


In this Freakonomics radio “Is Learning a Foreign Language Really worth It?” Stephen Dubner listens to different people, including young learners and adults who explain their values and views on second language learning. In this podcast the creators try to inform and persuade listeners by sharing people’s ideas about the importance of learning a second language at schools and pre-kindergartens. The main idea of this episode is that learning a second language changes people’s brain.  As evidence people share their ideas about bilingual children who have a good memory, prosper in their life, and have a good psychological reaction.

The first episode is about  the young learners at Little Red School House who expresses their positive views on learning a second language by enumerating reasons such as finding a good job, having a good salary, and finally being smarter than those who don’t speak a second language. Another episode with Professor Boaz Keyser tells about some evidence that the foreign language is much less emotional than a native language. As an example he gives a word love and amour. These words identical in meaning but a native English speaker perceives a lot more from the English word rather than the French word in relation to its meaning. Therefore, in his opinion it demonstrates a psychological reaction to the emotional related words.  I think that this study makes sense because if I see a sign which says “Опасно” or “Dangerous”. I would say that I will be more frightened of a word “Опасно” because it is more familiar to me and I associate it with different situations.

Finally, the episode with Albert Saiz, an economist from MIT is about his research findings on the benefits of learning a language in relation to the income. He tells that bilingual graduates earn more that monolinguals. I think that it is true due to the fact that bilinguals have more opportunities to find a better job in different national and international companies.

In conclusion, it was rather easy and interesting to listen to this podcast due to the debate about the different views on learning a foreign language. In my opinion, this episode incorporates arguments, reasons, and evidences by sharing all the information which was listed above. The young learners as well as researchers managed to persuade the listeners about the advantages of learning a second language. I would say that learning a second language stretches our minds, develops our executive function, and helps us to learn a new culture.

How do you think is learning a second language worth it?


My favourite research author






Ofelia Garcia

Being an MA student at Nazarbayev University and doing my thesis work on multilingual education is not an easy task. Writing thesis is such a creative piece of work which helps you discover and investigate different concerns of knowledge. However, it is such an interesting journey to write your thesis work and read bunch of works which were written by different authors. Among them is my favorite author Ofelia Garcia. She is  Professor in the Ph.D. programs of Urban Education and of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her focus of interest is similar to my own research on multilingual practices in higher education. She is a well-known author who works on bilingual education, multilingualism, and language policy. Her works has a focus on the concept of translanguaging, codemixing, codeswitching, bilingualism, language sociology.

Ofelia Garcia is an author of more than 36 works such as Bilingual Community Education and Multilingualism: Beyond Herritage Languages in a Global City (2012), Handbook on Language and Ethnic Identity (2011), and Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education (2013). These works as well as her other works help me to delve and understand the complex nature of the linguistic practices of monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual students.

Her works inspires me as a researcher to identify some key elements, factors of the multilingual education within the informal and formal context of the educational context in Europe, the USA. Ofelia Garcia presents different programs of bilingual education, looks at current pedagogical and assessment practices. I find it very interesting because she has a good experience in presenting fresh, modern views for policy makers and administrators. Her theoretical framework helps me to find the new alternative ways of multilingual practices within the context of the Kazakhstani multilingual policy such as different global issues, concerns in the framework of her concepts and works. Her works provoke my further interest in doing the research project in bilingual and multilingual educational context in Kazakhstan.

Have you read her works? If yes please feel free to write your feedback…

Be a Better Student. Go Beyond the Curriculum: Keshav Bhatt at TEDx University of Strathclyde (Deconstruction blog)

unnamed (1) is the main claim the speaker/writer is making?

This video is a TEDx talk presented by Keshav Bhatt who is a 24 year-old youth coach, speaker and founder of a social enterprise called Revolution Hive. His claim is that the dynamic enterprise (higher education) does not prepare young people for real life that can make them think beyond the average.  Keshav Bhatt believes that higher education is no longer able to develop the social reformers we once knew, and that there is a gap between what you pay for and what you really get out of university. By taking education into one’s own hands and understanding the core of what needs to be changed is what he envisions will spawn the leaders of tomorrow. Using real life examples, he explains how the university curriculum diminishes our critical thinking skills.

His opinion is based on his own experience and following his advice may not give the same outcomes. The intended audience is university students at the age 18-23 as he wants to persuade them to persuade the education of freedom which comes from students intellectual beliefs.  His tone makes him appear to be looking down on the entire higher education system which cannot meet the social needs of the World.

Keshav Bhatt is very straight to the point. He states his opinion towards the educational system at universities. He gives examples on the failing, incomplete system of education at universities and answers the questions “How to understand this system?” “What is missing in curriculum?” He felt at the pinnacle of his education that something is missing. He states that the higher education needs to be more resourceful, curriculum does not exist and educational institutions do not create the social reformers. He states that people should challenge not to conform to the formal education. However, he looks a bit unconfident and that makes him difficult to watch as he constantly moves his arms, legs. He talks a little bit too fast which makes his speech unclear and causes distraction. As a hook into his presentation, he asks, “How to find answers to the real life questions?”, “How to become mentally strong?”

Keshav tells stories, examples to show why he is qualified to be explaining this topic. However, his claims and arguments are based on his personal experience. He worked in Barcelona, Bangladesh as a volunteer. He states that the quarter life crisis consists of the civic and the personal parts. People tend to be more civic minded.  30 % of students spent their free time volunteering in the UK. People are struggling paying for the universities. Civic includes pollution, conflicts, HIV, AIDS, resource crisis. He tells that education does not address these things. Education should include 3 qualities such as drawing out the natural resources, act like great equalizer, and liberate people and others (critical thinking skills). Instead, he believes that formal education is just the peel of the fruit and we should squeeze that juice out.  It’s time for responsibility and it comes from the students’ intellectual skills. We should trigger different parts of the brain by working hard.

I enjoyed watching it and I agree that the university curriculum should be reviewed and include some of the real life topics and skills. I believe that universities should offer a more rounded curriculum, less focused on the facts and more on developing individual, critical thinking skills.

What is Blended Learning?


Blended learning is a combination of e-learning and the traditional on-site learning in a classroom. Learners have more or less fixed schedule to attend some of the classes at the educational institution and for the rest; they can make their own schedule. Students can attend the rest of the classes and complete their assignments online.

It is a student-centered approach which builds up a productive learning experience for learners who can interact with the instructors, students, and with content through integration of face-to-face and online environments (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). It incorporates, builds and creates new materials, content, and activities in the classroom by a variety of modes such as traditional lectures and online tutorials. Blended learning can come in numerous shapes and sizes.  According to Masie (2002), blended learning can be of different models such as:


  • Online: Instruction occurs via an online platform, with periodic face-to-face meetings.
  • Rotation: Student rotates between self-paced online learning and face-to-face instruction.
  • Flex: Most instruction is delivered online, with teachers providing as needed support in small-group settings.
  • Personalized blend: Teacher designs face-to-face learning options. Learning is the constant and time is the variable.
  • Online lab: Instructions takes place in a  lab. Delivered by an online teacher.
  • Self-blend: Students take online courses to supplement their tradition schools face to face course catalogue.
  • Face-to-face: Teacher face-to-face instruction, supplemented with technology in the classroom or computer lab.

These multiple modals of blended learning in contrast to teacher-centered approach, provide different ways to access content. A blended approach gives learners the opportunity to become more responsible for their learning, which creates a meaningful learning on an individual level. Learners construct knowledge through personal efforts, demonstrate a thorough understanding beyond memorization, and transfer what they have learnt to new settings (Massie, 2002). Blended learning clearly brings more engaged students, motivates students for a deeper learning, and finally  extends time for learning new knowledge.

What do you think of blended learning?


Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The internet and higher education7(2), 95-105.

Masie, E. Blended Learning: the magic is in the mix. The ASTD E-Learning Handbook. Edited by: Rossett A. 2002.

What is the role of linguistic imperialism and language in shaping the linguistic human rights?


It is important to analyze and raise the points of linguistic human rights, linguistic imperialism, and the role of language in the Kazakhstan’s context due to diversity of the people of Kazakhstan and the postcolonial past of our country.

I would like to begin with the book which was written by Derrida in 1998 “The monolingualism of the other.” Derrida (1998) has analyzed his relationship to the French language, acculturation as an Algerian with respect to his experience of language acquisition (French, Arabic).  He says that he has no mother-tongue because he grew up in a colonized country speaking and learning French in Algeria. Therefore, he never had a mother-tongue language in relation to his national identity. Therefore, Derrida states that “he only has one language yet it is not his.” He described the issues of multiculturalism, cultural, linguistic identity in the context of colonialism. This book has generated a great discussion among different scholars, including Denise Egea-Kuehne (1999). According to Denise Egea-Kuehne (1999), not all minority groups seek assimilation. Some of them tend to maintain their culture and language to the next generation. However, minorities have to use the dominant language of a country they live in. For instance, Africans in North America have to speak English only. The first African writers were considered as people who did not have enough attributes, qualities of men. It was due to an endless fight for their independence with dictators. Denise Egea-Kuehne (1999) describes the progress of linguistic rights in education, the dominance of English in the USA context. Thus, the American law on linguistic rights is rather vague. On the contrary, the situation in Europe is more systematic in terms of linguistic rights. According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1996), linguistic minorities shall not be deprived from their own culture and language.

Gail Prasad (2014) conducted a research on linguistic and cultural identities of children, youth in one of the Canadian schools which supports plurilingualism. Students reflected their feelings, beliefs on languages, and culture through self-portraits where they represented their identities. This helps teachers to identify the students’ plurilingual repertoires. Some students identified themselves as French, German, English speakers, others as Korean, English, French speakers and etc. According to Gail Prasad (2014), the visual methodologies encouraged learners to express themselves without limiting students to communicate in a language.

The Republic of Kazakhstan is a diverse, postcolonial, multilingual country which is currently implementing the new language policy. The diversity of people of Kazakhstan can be seen as a resource which should be supported by the government. In accordance with the Constitution, the Law on Languages, the Law on Education, the government provides and creates favorable conditions to study in all the languages of multiethnic people. Each ethnic group has the right to build its own cultural identity which in a way contributes to the development and the revival of the languages, traditions, and cultures. However, there are some concern regarding graduates of minority schools who must take the entrance examination to university in Kazakh or Russian languages as well as they don’t have an opportunity to study in their native language.  I believe that a greater awareness of minority groups, languages will help stakeholders shape and formulate an adequate language policy to create favorable conditions for minority groups in the Kazakhstani context.


Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other: Or, The Prosthesis of Origin . Trans. Patrick Mensah. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1998.

Egea-Kuehne (1999) Derrida’s Le Monolinguisme de l’Autre: Linguistic Educational Rights File: Philosophy of Education, 1999

Prasad, G. (2014). “Portraits of Plurilingualism in a French International School in

Toronto: Exploring the role of the visual methods to access students’ representations of

their linguistically diverse identities.” Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17 (1),




What are the interrelations between language, culture, and literacy practices…?


It is important to analyze and raise the points of plurilingualism and its role in diverse communities. This is relevant for the Kazakhstani context due to the implementation of the trilingual policy. Therefore, i would like to examine the interrelation between languages, cultures, and literacies in the framework of the context of education.

To begin with, the question “What are the interrelations between language, culture, and literacy practices?” has generated a great discussion among different scholars, including Meilan P. Ehlert and  Leannne Boschmar (2014).  On the one hand, Ehlert (2013) introduced the concept of plurilinguals in motion in order to strengthen and acknowledge the multilingual individuals with different linguistic, cultural repertoires. For example, according to Ehlert, this concept PIM strategically enables individuals to use their full cultural and linguistic backgrounds in a multilingual society.

Based on their social experience,a number of learners around the world can be associated with the concept of plurilingualism. According to Moore (2006) and Gajo (2011), bilinguals, plurilinguals, and monolinguals develop languages based on their social experiences. They call it a “plurilingual strategic box” or “plurilingual assets.”(Moore, 2006). These concepts relate to the problem solving approach in the process of language learning. I support the concept that facilitating an accumulation of? “plurilingual assets” in the educational context depends on the educative culture of learners and their experiences as well as on a proper planning of the curricula, including reflection on language learning in a diverse, multicultural classroom environment.

According to Cope and Kalantzis (2000), the challenges and practices of multiliteracies shift from the local to the global perspective,  which in its turn means that learners should be able to discuss ethnic and  regional dialects, and cultural practices, as well as be able to code-switch in the classroom environment (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000).The multiliteracies approach critically refers to the interrelation between cultures, languages, and literacies.  To illustrate how this approach may work in our country, I would like to refer to the example of the implementation of the trilingual policy in Kazakhstan.

The Republic of Kazakhstan is a diverse, multilingual country which is currently working  on the development of  a new language policy. The diversity of learners can be seen as a resource which should be supported by all stakeholders who are involved in the educational practices. Learners as well as practitioners can use their full linguistic repertoire to support the language learning process by creating a dialogue as a learning platform aimed to develop the language learning process as well as a cultural exchange model to broaden knowledge and resources. For instance, language does not merely mean the use of words: words reflect the history, culture, and beliefs of a certain nation. Therefore, I would also like to refer to the critical examination and challenge of the content of different texts and discourses in the framework of building on the literacy learning theory  These could also bring diverse learners to literacy practices in the socio-cultural domains such as journals and magazines, as well as being acquired from community members, family discourses, and digital resources.

To sum up, after analyzing the views shared and differences among the ideas discussed above, I believe that a greater awareness of plurilingualism in motion, i.e., the importance of  language, culture, and literacy in a diverse society will help stakeholders  understand the nature and the importance of plurilingualism in the formulation of a language policy, such as  the trilingual policy in the Kazakhstani context.

What do you think about the integration of  multiliteracies practices (culture, language, literacies) in the classroom?  Is it possible to implement it within trilingual policy in Kazakhstan?



Cope, B. and Kalantzis, M. (2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Routledge, London.

Ehlert, D. (2013). Plurilinguals in Motion. Retrieved from the website of a non-profit group, Multilingual Forum Canada Society (MFCS; ) on April 18, 2014.

Ehlert, M. & Moore, D. (2014-in Press). Plurilingual Youth in Motion: Navigating and Reconfiguring the “Multi” in Languages and Identities – Six Chao Xian Zu [ethnic Korean Chinese] teenagers in Beijing, China, International Journal of Education for Diversities (IJE4D)

Moore, D. (2006). Plurilingualism and Strategic Competence in Context. International Journal of Multilingualism. Vol. 3, No. 2, 125-138.

BLOGS in Education


Most of us think that social media is a way to connect with family, relatives, and friends. However, the use of social media is not just merely a way for online communication. Nowadays the social media resources are rapidly expanding into the educational field. One of the most popular tools which is being used in education is a  blog. Blogs create new opportunities for students to learn, read, and write.

A blog is a way to publish your own thoughts on a topic. It creates an open dialogue among students who write blogs on different topics, read other students’ blogs, and write comments. Learners have a great opportunity to share their ideas, exchange attitudes, and opinions with their groupmates. According to Bortree blogs give students ownership over their own learning and an authentic voice, allowing them to articulate their needs and inform their own learning (Bortree, D.S., 2005).

Blogging gives students an audience for their work. Having such an audience can result in feedback and greatly increase student motivation to do their best work.  Moreover, blogs develop students’ writing skills, research skills as the students learn how to  evaluate, assess  various online resources. I would say that I started to develop my writing habit due to a number of posts, comments. Every other week I should write a blog, two comments on the other blogs which were written by my groupmates to share opinions with each other and to support each other with questions and answers. It makes my writing process more creative as I have an opportunity to choose any topic which interests me.  I review my blogs and try to improve my weaknesses.

While learners write blogs, teachers can monitor the academic progress of students. Teachers create an online platform for students’ evaluation, feedback.  As a result a teacher can identify learners’ needs. A teacher as a facilitator gives learners a chance to access multiple resources, to facilitate connecting with others,and makes learning more engaging, interesting, efficient. I would say that blogs should be used in education because it makes the learning process more creative, engaging, and stimulating!

What is your opinion on blogging? Don’t you think that blogging  has a positive impact on learning?


Bortree, D.S. (2005). Presentation of self on the Web: an ethnographic study of teenage girls’ weblogs. Education, Communication & Information, 5(1), 25-39

Turnitin technology….What does this mean for me as a student?


Turnitin was created in 1997 by iParadigms, LLC. Educational institutions purchase licenses in order to submit writing assignments to the program’s website, which in its turn checks essays for unoriginal content. Universities, colleges, and high schools buy licenses to submit essays to the Turnitin website, which checks students’ written documents for unoriginality.

As a graduate student I have experienced all benefits of Turnitin at NUGSE. It helps me to avoid plagiarism as well as it improves my writing skills. All students have to submit essays to Turnitin at NUGSE. I personally have never experienced it before. Unfortunately, most of the Kazakhstani universities do no use this program. Definitely, this program is important for many students. I did not know what plagiarism is or what might constitute plagiarism but with a help of this program as well as with a help of my instructors, I have learnt the APA rules to avoid plagiarism.This program made me think before i write. I can not easily copy and paste someone’s thoughts…  Usually, i find information, then i process it, cite the authors, write the reference list, and only then i start my  writing journey on the flow of my own thoughts of a topic. This  develops the thread of my thoughts. This is a great experience which gives me an opportunity to create,to  think, and to become a good writer.

Turnitin program also helps our instructors to provide a valuable feedback on our writing assignments. It’s a great pleasure to receive automatically constructive feedbacks which helps me to see, understand my mistakes and to avoid these mistakes in the next writing assignments. These feedbacks improve my understanding of writing.

I strongly believe that Turnitin will be used by all universities in Kazakhstanas it helps to improve writing skills as well as it helps to erase a habit to plagiarize among local students. It will really improve the educational system at universities, schools, colleges. Students will not copy, paste and will start work on their own…

What are your thoughts on Turnitin program ….?

What factors impact on the implementation of trilingual education in Kazakhstan?


Current reforms in language policy are focused on the need of trilingual education. The Kazakhstani trilingual policy was reflected in the Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev “New Kazakhstan in a new world” (Nazarbayev, 2007). Moreover, the problem of trilingual policy is mentioned in the policy documents of the State program of education development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020, the State program of languages development and functioning for 2011-2020, the Roadmap of trilingual education for 2015-2020, the law “On languages of the Republic of Kazakhstan”. The educational issues on trilingual policy deserve to be researched due to a number of reasons.

Firstly, the top-down approach should be changed into the bottom-up approach. The policy-makers do not think about the differences between the regional educational institutions in terms of qualified, well-trained teachers who are able to speak equally in three languages (NUGSE, 2014). There is deficiency in teachers who are able to conduct classes in line with the trilingual policy. Moreover, there is a lack of training courses for teachers. This issue is reflected in the Roadmap of trilingual education in Kazakhstan (MES, 2015). The educational institutions cannot train teachers who will be able to teach in three or two languages. This issue is raised in the State program of education development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020 (MES, 2010).

Secondly, lack of teaching materials in English, Kazakh languages. Moreover, the quality of textbooks should be improved and reviewed by the entire stakeholder in education (Bridges, 2014). The other side of the problem is that some of the educational institutions cannot afford buying good quality materials without financial support from the government.

Thirdly, some stakeholders do not want to implement the trilingual education programs. The administration of some educational institutions does not want to change their educational policy as it makes them change a curriculum, hire new staff, spend money. Some parents and students still are not willing to study in several languages.  Finally, the majority of regional institutions are under-equipped (equipment, technology) to support the trilingual education programs.

To conclude, various factors which influence the implementation of this reform within the Kazakhstani education context should be taken into consideration. This is significant because many stakeholders have a different approach in the implementation of this policy reform in Kazakhstan.


 Bridges, D. (2014). (Ed.) Education reform and internationalization. The case of school             reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge Education Research Series.

MES (Ministry for Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan) (2010), State Programme of Education Development for 2011-2020, Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, No. 1118 from December 7, 2010, Astana. Retrieved from

MES. (Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan) (2014). National report on current state and development of education system of Kazakhstan. Retrieved from

Nazarbayev, N.A. (2007). New Kazakhstan in a new world: Address by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the People of Kazakhstan, Astana. Retrieved from

NUGSE (Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education). (2014). Development of strategic directions for education reforms in Kazakhstan for 2015-2020: Diagnostic report. Astana: Indigo Print. Retrieved from