All posts by aliyamustafina1

Digital Disease

w--my_pictures-sittingdisease

Inspired by ‘s post about internetization and computerization, I have decided to raise the issue of youngster’s health problems caused by these technologies.

Recently I have read an article (I couldn’t find it! Sorry!) where scientists alarmed about a new disease of our era caused by digital devices such as computers, tablet PCs, smart phones, i-phones, i-pats, etc. The assertion was made on the result of a recent research based on medical tests which confirmed that young generation’s health problems were the result of passive way of life: sitting in front of the computer and wasting time watching TV-shows.

Psychologists reported that analyses proved their worries about emotional instabilities and mental disorders of the patients (almost all of them were teenagers) that led them to greater levels of obesity, diabetes and other health issues. Consequently, people became unsocialized and addicted to the virtual world (this was also mentioned by ) that isolated them from the reality.

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Psychotherapists suggested parents to be stricter in controlling their children. One of the solutions was to limit the time a child spent in Web. However, the experts pointed out that it would be impossible to prison them (children) completely.

Another negative fact is that most of individuals are visuals (have visual way of thinking), and thanks to this, the spheres of digital entertainment became profitable. Recognizing the thread, the governments in different countries endorsed an agreement with some broadcast companies and Internet providers. After these actions, a number of programmes and sites were under a ban and a restriction for general access. Nowadays a special commission keeps a watchful eye in controlling this process (which is not actually bad…).

In conclusion I would say that scientists are right. We have to save our children from a future disaster. Psychotherapists tried to uphold alternative methods acceptable in serious cases (such as gadgetomania, SMSmania, Mexican Syndrome, etc). In my opinion, a lot of the work have already been done. What we can do now is to follow their (specialists’) suggestions and take part in youngsters’ lives to fill the emptiness in their hearts. May be in this way, they will have no time for computer games…

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The Difference Between Policy and Reality

crossroads

This section is dedicated to my personal reaction to the informatization policy from the student, teacher and researcher perspectives. The critique toward schools’ coverage with computers, the effectiveness of ICT trainings, creation of digital resources and broadband internet provision is provided.

As a student, I can say that there is a huge difference between what is reported in the National Reports about the implementation of computerization, and what the country has in reality. The most obvious discrepancy is seen in the percentage of school coverage with computers. As an experienced pupil who changed several schools and who also had an opportunity to see the situation in rural areas, I can say that two of urban schools and two rural schools in Pavlodar where I studied, were not equipped with computers during her schooling years, taking into account that it were 1999-2007 years, while the National Report – 2006 (Damitov et al, 2006) stated that approximately 100% of schools were equipped with PCs.

As a teacher at school, I state that teachers’ trainings which were organized in order to reduce computer illiteracy and raise the ICT competence of teachers were ineffective. The trainings were oriented to memorizing the theoretical information rather than to examining the practical skills which ICT users must possess. In this way, many teachers were able to pass the examination successfully and finally got the certificate, but still they are not able to utilize this knowledge in the class. Also, the point that I would like to point out is the absence of monitoring of those teachers who completed ICT courses. As if nobody cares about the effectiveness of these courses; as if courses are run only for the sake of formalities.

As a researcher (future), I would put in question the Ministry’s intent to create interactive and intellectual digital academic resources for each subject studied at the secondary and profession-oriented schools (National Education Development Program, 2011).  The reason is that the analysis of scholarly researches shows that even taking into account the fact that 50 packages of off-line electronic teaching aids covering 465 topics (National Center of Informatization, 2010) have already been created, this educational content is used only by 5% (Sapargaliyev, 2012). The first suggestion made by me will be to investigate the reasons why these digital resources are not in use, and only then move to ambitious plans to cover all school subjects with digital academic resources. Otherwise, the problem will remain unchanged, and, definitely, the increased number of subjects covered with digital resources is not going to solve the issue.

100% schools’ provision with broadband internet also generates doubts from the researcher’s perspective. Even considering that approximately 45 schools have already been connected to high speed internet, other 7515 schools struggle with low speed connection (Kaskatayeva, 2014). After analyzing the data which show that the connection of these 45 schools to broadband internet took almost 4 years, it can be expected that the realization of government’s plan to provide all 7515 secondary schools with the same internet connection will take nearly 600 years. These are my own calculations (45 – 4, 7515 – x, then x = (7515 * 4)/45 = 668) which show that the government’s aim to cover all schools is unfeasible. That is one of the reasons why I do not agree with the policy objectives. These objectives seem to be unrealistic and delusory.

I tried to answer my question about the difference between the policy and reality regarding the implementation of informatization reform in secondary schools in Kazakhstan. The analyses had shown that there is a huge discrepancy in what was reported and what was actually done during these seventeen years. This does not necessarily mean that the informatization reform failed to reach its objectives. It means that there are things that Kazakhstan still should work on. The policy makers have a lofty aim to improve the education system of the country by adopting info-communicational technologies. The national experts agree that the government succeeded in establishing the policy which is irreproachable in theory, but, unfortunately, is not applicable in practice due to inaccurate planning and absence of systematic coordination (Sapargaliyev, 2012; Nurgalieva, 2012; Nurgalieva, Aktybayeva, 2010; Akhmetova, Issayev, 2013; Mamykova, 2014; Khalikova, 2013; Kaskatayeva, 2014, Kerimbayev, Akramova, Suleimenova, 2014). I am sure that it is important to take into account the results obtained by Kazakhstani scholars in order to avoid future mistakes in planning for further reforms.

Reference:

Damitov, B.K., Ermekov, N.T., Mozhaeva, O.I., Golovataya, G.I., Egimbaeva, Zh.K., Nogaibalanova, S.Zh., Suleimenova, Sh.A., Makhmetova, G.P., and Tekesheva, T.U. (2006). Natsional’nyi doklad o sostoyanii i razvitii obrazovaniya (National Report on the Status and Development of Education), Astana: National Center for Assessment of the Quality of Education.

Kaskatayeva, B. (2014). Informatization of education in the Republic of Kazakhstan: current status and future prospects. Global Journal for Research Analysis4, 1-4.

Kazakhstan. The Ministry of Education and Science (2011). The state program of education development till 2020. Astana: the Ministry of Education and Science. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from <http://www.edu.gov.kz/en&gt;.

Kerimbayev, N., Akramova, A., Suleimenova, J. (2014). E-learning for ungraded schools of Kazakhstan: Experience, implementation, and innovation. Springer Science+Business Media9, 22-31

Khalikova, K. (2013). E-portfolio as a mean of students’ achievements assessment in the training of future teachers in the field of informatics. Tradition and Reform, 10, 209-219.

Mamykova, Z. (2014). IT decisions for education. The East Kazakhstan State Technical University named after D.Serikbayev, 4, 1-4.

Nurgalieva, G., Aktykbayeva, E. (2010). Content provision for information and educational environment in the Republic of Kazakhstan. UNESCO, 5, 112-117.

Sapargaliyev, D. (2012). E-Learning in Kazakhstan: Stages of Formation and Prospects for Development. Astana: Eurasian National University4, 1-4.

The National Center of Informatization (JSC) (2010). Informatization of education in Kazakhstan.

Transformational Leadership is the “magic wand”:

transformational-leadership-questionnaire

This post I dedicate to Aisara (yessenova) and those who answered “Yes”, “No” or “Don’t know” =)))

After receiving several comments about my “comment”, I have decided to follow all your advice and to transform it into a post.

As far as you all remember (or maybe do not remember), I pointed out that in Educational leadership it is very important to know about the style that the leader uses. According to Aisara’s description (Post about “A Businessman and a aschool leader: the new concept of school leadership in the USA”), I came into conclusion that the style of that businessman was Transformational Leadership (for more information, please, go and read Aisara’s post). Now, I will explain you this notion in more details:

Transformational Leader is motivated by his/her followers, and followers are motivated by their leader who uses their ideas and skills to create something valuable for all the members of these reciprocal relationships (Dems, K., 2011). Famous examples of this type of leaders are Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney.

This kind of leadership is believed to be the most effective one owing to the fact that this model creates an enthusiastic work environment and drives its members to a better future. High productivity is guaranteed in this case. One of the positive sides of this type is that the leader creates learning opportunities for his/her followers stimulating them to solve problems. Moreover, in that way, the leader who forms new expectations is able to develop future leaders from his/her followers who then will continue to share their vision of success. That is what this entrepreneur did – he established the Broad Center to bring up a new generation of leaders. What I wanted to say by this is that maybe the style of his leadership played a significant role in the success of this Broad Center? Who knows?

Not everything depends on the style of leadership, of course. The chosen style can serve as a good foundation for further development of educational system of a country or a center (in our case). However, the historical background, social, economical and political conditions of the country where one or another style of leadership will be implemented can become impediments to positive changes. That is why I think the Broad Center succeeded – it was built in the USA. Kazakhstan is a different country. Let me be more specific…

  • As far as you know, Kazakhstan is a very young country that gained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. During these 24 years Kazakhstan went through substantial changes in social, economical and political spheres which brought several alterations in its educational system. Soviet Education aimed to form a communist society where all citizens had an equal status. Communism had taught people that religious was the “opium of the masses” (Marx, 1867). In that way atheism emerged. Ideology stated that collective needs came first, excluding any individual needs. People were supposed to be free, but in fact, the government’s total control meant that freedom was the one thing that people lost. Education was also strictly controlled by the state. In 1932, a rigid program of education was introduced where books were censored and children were expected to join youth organizations that propagated government ideology (Yakavets, 2013). These organizations were established in order to bring up loyal party members among youngsters. Government used schools as an important instrument for promoting policies of the Soviet leadership – Indoctrination (Ross, 1960).
  • Money did not play a significant role in these relationships. However, the economical conditions left much to be desired. Obvious problems with food, housing and shortages in all spheres of life remained to be great problems of that time.In spite of all these, Soviet education brought some positive changes: education was free of charge; girls were also allowed to attend classes on equal ranks with boys (which was almost impossible for any eastern country); a well-developed infrastructure for educational provision, and the quality of education was high.After 1991 soviet budgeting was cut and schools left without any financial support. Kazakhstan decided to bring some changes in educational expectations. A turning point was shift from command to market economics (Bridges, 2014). This was widely seen as having important implications for the education system: education became a privilege of rich people; private sector appeared which led to the phenomenon of privatization of education, etc. Now money play significant role in all spheres of modern life. Social structure of communism was replaced by democracy where citizens of the country have voices in decision making. Democracy is also about equal status of people but there the needs of a society are essential for every individual and visa versa; individual needs are valuable for the whole society. However, the attempts to change the political structure were unrewarded by success.

Kazakhstan is a developing country which tries to re-establish its own educational system on the basis of international experience in order to match the needs of globalization (NUGSE Student Handbook, 2014-2015). However, the historical background of Kazakhstan shows that the country is not ready to implement the notion of leadership.

The system still operates in soviet lines.

Current school policies are based on soviet practice where educational leaders are perceived as administrators rather than systematic reformers.

Bureaucracy is still one of the greatest drawbacks that Kazakhstan faces with.

The mentality of Kazakhstani people needs to be challenged, so that communities will realize the need for transformation from managers to visionary leaders who are open to changes and innovations. The first steps toward this direction have already been taken. The government established Decentralization reform in order to overcome this obstacle. One of the breakthroughs was the establishment of Nazarbayev University which is considered to become the leading world-class university in Kazakhstan. As a consequence, this university took risk to open a graduate program on Educational Leadership. We, students of this program are like seeds on fertile soil. Graduate School of Education can provide this ground for learners who single-heartedly sacrifice themselves to the educational development of Kazakhstan. GSE aims to bring up a new generation of leaders who have a sophisticated understanding of how to challenge the postulates of this promising but slowly changing world successfully implementing knowledge and background that we will gain during this experience. We are studying in an enthusiastic atmosphere which is created by best experts who are willing to share with their experience being real examples of transformational leadership for us.

Aisara, you asked a question: “Maybe the concept of the school leader as the CEO will not work for Kazakhstan?” I do really believe that someday all of us will be the witnesses of this concept realization, and I am sure that we would be proud of the fact that we were the part of this success!!!
Good luck to all of us! =)))

Reference:

Bridges, D. (2014). Educational Reform and Internationalization: The Case of School Reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Marx, K. (1867). Capital. New York: Knopf Doubleday.
NUGSE Student Handbook, (2014-2015). Nazarbayev University, 25(1), 5-6.
Ross, L. (1960). Some aspects of soviet education. The Journal of Teacher Education, 11(4), 22-31.
Yakavets, N. (2013). Drivers of innovations in schools in Kazakhstan: a critical element of leadership, presented as part of the symposium ‘Educational Reform in Kazakhstan from the School Perspective’ European Educational Research Association (EERA) Annual Conference, 10-13 September, Istanbul, Turkey.

Leadership: If you are a leader, what is your style?

Leadership

This post I dedicate to  (Aisara, this is for you!!!)))))

After my first post (“Educational leadership: a Myth or a Reality?”), you asked me to explain in more details the main styles of Leadership. I wanted to do it face-to-face, but then, other people from Multilingual cohort asked me to share this information with them too. Actually, that is the reason, why I am publishing this post here, on nuwriters.wordpress.com. I hope, every student who wants to know about Leadership styles will be able to read, and then to use this information somewhere in the future =)))

Depending on circumstances, believes, attitudes, values and people being involved, 7 different styles of leadership namely charismatic, participative, situational, transactional, servant, quite and transformational appeared.

Let me explain all of them, except transformational (if you are interested in this style of leadership, please go to Aisara’s post about “A businessman and a school leader: the new concept of school leadership in the USA” and read my Loooooooong comment! Aisara, sorry for that!)

Charismatic Leadership is one of the most popular styles where the leader uses charm to attract and conquer the followers’ attention creating friendly atmosphere by making the followers feel that the leader is listening to them and that they have a voice in decision making (Dems, K., 2011). However, it is not always true, that is why this style of leadership isn’t considered to be the one that can be successfully utilized in Education. Famous examples of charismatic leaders are: Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler (who is also not the best example for students).

Participative Leadership is different from a previous one. In this case, the leader acts more like a “facilitator” than a dictator, who collects the mind of the group under his or her leadership, but after all, the final word always rests with the leader (Dems, K., 2011). This type of leadership can be used in Education, but in reality it will not make any sense of change owing to the fact that teacher-student model will just copy the administrator-educator model. A famous example of the participative leadership is Donald Trump.

Situational Leadership emerges during a particular situation. The leaders need to be adaptable and dynamic as the different situations they are facing with (Dems, K., 2011). This type is effective only in some cases and cannot be generalized. I think that all of us are looking for a common style which can be used in different educational cases (situations). An example of the situational leadership is Dwight Eisenhower.

Transactional Leader motivates the followers (“subordinates”) by presenting them rewards and punishments depending on their ability to satisfy the stated requirements (Dems, K., 2011). By using this type, the dictatorship in education will never be won. Examples of such leadership style are McCarthy and Charles de Gaulle.

Quiet Leaders do not force or command people to do something, they do what really needs to be done, inspiring followers to do the same (Dems, K., 2011). I, personally, refer myself to this type of leaders. However, this style does not satisfy the modern world requirement which states that it is time for active actions. Famous example is Abraham Lincoln.

Servant Leader serves his or her followers taking care of these followers’ need before they realize this need themselves (Dems, K., 2011). I confirm that the style that is used nowadays by educators is the servant leadership which must be changed. Famous examples are Gandhi and Washington.

Transformational Leader is motivated by his or her followers, and followers are motivated by their leader who uses their ideas and skills to create something valuable for all the members of these reciprocal relationships (Dems, K., 2011). Famous examples of this type of leaders are Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney. This type of leadership combines the characteristics of all previous ones:

  • taking charismaticness from charismatic leadership,
  • “facilitator” effect from participative leadership,
  • adaptability and dynamic development from situational leadership,
  • rewards for a good job from transactional leadership,
  • self-example from quite leadership,
  • self-dedication and an ability to serve the followers from servant leadership model.

In order to reach the goal, a clear sense of purpose articulated simply is needed, as well as high expectations, insistence, desire for learning, enthusiasm, strategy, emotions, courage, risk-taking and risk-sharing, vision of future success, sense of public need, spirit of cooperation, mentoring and life-long learners who identify themselves as change agents.

I tried not to use long definitions given by famous authors and explained these styles of Leadership in the easiest way. Definitely, other styles of leadership also exist because the world goes around and new leaders come into the arena, these leaders bring us new styles of leadership. Who knows what expects us in the future! I will not be surprised if after 5 years, I would read about Nazarbayev’s Leadership style or Yessenova Leadership style… Let time decide who we really are)))

Reference:

Dems, K. (2011). Famous examples of leadership styles, Bright Hub, 4(1),1-3. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from <http://www.brighthub.com/office/home/articles/76450.aspx&gt;.

Educational Leadership: a Myth or a Reality?

imagesNX38VAUQDuring these holidays, I went to Pavlodar, to my home town. As far as you know, parents, relatives and other people are very interested in Nazarbayev University, especially in the major we are studying in (*because NU provides majors that are not common for Kazakhstani context). Being a student with the major in Educational Leadership, which is something inexplicable for my parents’ and relatives’ understanding, I was asked to tell “what the real Leadership is”. At this time I thought that I really needed Mr.Gogas classes… Today, when we had Mr.Phil’s class and talked about “the elevator pitch”, I remembered this situation when I also had only 3-5 minutes to persuade people that I am studying something really valuable. That is why I will try to use this blog as my “elevator pitch”.

Leadership is one of the most valuable, but at the same time one of the most complicated notions of a modern world. There is no common definition of this term. Every single person interprets it in his or her own way. As professor Gogas says: “Leaders are those who can lead!”. This quote can be improved by adding John C. Maxwell’s words: “A Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. Thus, it can be concluded that Leader is a person who is given the power by people to lead them along the road which he or she considers to be the best way to achieve their common goal. It is hard to be the leader owing to the fact that followers are waiting when you (as a leader) show them the direction, provide them with guidance or give them inspiration. This pressing responsibility to make difficult decisions, to know and to do what is right for people, makes the leader to be dedicated to those leader-follower relationships.

Many people believe that leaders are born, not made. This theory first surfaced in the writings of early Greeks and Romans and is prevalent today among those who believe that leadership cannot be developed (Hughes and Bush, 1991). There is no doubt that some leadership qualities are innate, but most of the qualities are formed after years of practice and experience. True leaders are shaped through various trials, tortures and tribulations. For instance: Adolf Hitler, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and others. No one can argue that life of those individuals was easy. However, there are two main ideas that are considered to be essential in understanding this phenomenon: 1) Leaders are important and 2) There is always leadership crisis of one kind or another (Heifetz et al, 2009).

Leadership crisis is one of the crucial issues in Educational sphere. The word education comes from the Latin word “educare”, which means “to lead out of” (Urbanski & Nickolaou, 2011). Thus, educators should be leaders by definition. However, this is only the theory which has never been practiced owing to the fact that society cannot accept it as a norm. It is confirmed that the goal of education is learning, and the vehicle used to achieve this goal is teaching (Lunenburg & Irby, 2006). The whole world believes that the emphasis of education must be put in teaching and learning. If these two priorities work in a proper way, the effectiveness of learning process is guaranteed and students are able to maximize their outcomes. However, educators are always perceived more as servants than leaders. There are many reasons why they have not assumed leadership roles in schools and education. I will tell about the three most common ones:

  • The first one is a confusion of the meanings of leadership and management. In order to exclude misunderstanding, leadership in education must be understood as “supervision”, while management as “administration”.
  • Secondly, educators were involved in hierarchal managerial authority system in order to deprive them of the opportunity to question the administration. Hence, any educator became a member of a vulnerable population.
  • Thirdly, the school structure now works against the development of educational leadership. Lack of power made educators be ever dependent on those who possess this power.

The crisis in educational leaders is considered to be one of the substantial problems of our time. There is no doubt that there are leaders among educators, however, they are pressed by the bureaucratic system and authorities who are not ready to share with their power. The mentality of citizens, historical background of a country and its economical, political and social conditions predetermine the speed of which leadership will be implemented. Unfortunately, Kazakhstan is not able to get rid of all elements of soviet system momentary, which definitely thwart the progress. The process will take some time. However, there is hope that the generation which is prepared by the Graduate School of Education at Nazarbayev University will be the future systematic reformers in Educational Leadership. They are supposed to contribute to educational development of their country successfully implementing knowledge given by true leaders (their professors), and to extend this line of leadership where leaders have:

  • a clear sense of purpose which is explained simply to the followers,
  • high expectations of results and vision of future success,
  • desire to learn and to be taught, and
  • cooperation among the members of the team who identify themselves as change agents.

Educational Leadership major is a compass that shows the right direction. And students of NUGSE are equipped with these compasses. However, it is always a personal choice to follow this direction or to move in the opposite one.

Reference:

Heifetz, R., Grashow, A., & Linsky, M. (2009). The practice of adaptive leadership: Tools and tactics for changing your organization and your world. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Hughes, M. and Bush, T. (1991). Theory and research as catalysts for change, in W.Walker, R. Farquhar and M. Hughes (eds), Advancing Education: School Leadership in Action. London: Falmer Press.

Lunenburg, F., & Irby, B. (2006). The principalship: Vision to action. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Urbanski, A. & Nickolaou, B. (2011). Reflections on teachers as leaders. Education Week, 12(1), 1-9.