All posts by asselt

Extended family is a powerful language source for children

Do you know how extended family members influence children’s language repertoire?

Sometimes parents consider themselves to be the most influential agencies to children’s learning languages because they are always told about that by educators, psychologists and many other people. However, not many people understand that children’s communication with extended family members including grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins appears to be crucial for their language practices in the society. This communication, as Baker (2011) states, prepares children for different outside community practices in various domains apart from home environment. Children’s language educational practices at school vary from those in playgrounds, entertainment places, shopping centers and family or community events where they make a particular language choice, in most cases in favour of a dominant language. Family members’ understanding and support of this issue help to develop children’s confidence in their language repertoires and communication skills in the society.  The mismatch between parents and extended family views on children’s language practices results in children’s emotional stress about their own language proficiency, diminishes their communication with entire families and/or limits their social interaction.    

The difference between grandparents and parents’ views on children’s language practices is usually about mother-tongue practices in multilingual and multicultural societies. Grandparents tend to preserve mother-tongue practices and develop grandchildren’s ethnic identity by encouraging them not to mix languages in communication (Lotherington & Eamer, 2008). Elderly generation strongly assumes that fostering children’s mother-tongue practices and national identity will help to transfer linguistic and cultural heritage to future generations. However, current youth may resist these ideologies because they try to adapt to the society by communicating in languages their peers speak. The solution for this problem may be extended family involvement in school and community activities in which children’s multilingual practices are clearly observed. Thus, the whole family might change their attitudes and understand how to develop children’s language practices without generating an additional pressure to children who try to adjust to the society.

The research on Chinese family members engagement in their children’s language education in Canada has revealed that grandparents’ frequency of meeting their grandchildren directly influenced their attitudes to children’s multilingual practices of Chinese, Cantonese and English (Taylor, Bernhard, Garg, & Cummins, 2008). Grandparents who live with their children and help to raise their grandchildren communicate only in Chinese, but can understand English. On the contrary, grandparents who live separately from their children and rarely meet grandchildren appear to speak only Cantonese. Taylor et al. highlight the importance of extended family involvement and understanding of children’s multilingual and multicultural practices which develops “transnational and transgenerational webs of kinship, and cultural and faith-based communities of practice” and promotes children’s initiation in “shared ways of knowing, remembering and imagining vital to the multiple affiliations and semiotic economies through which their identities are constituted” (p. 289). Hence, language practices and ideologies, that extended family use, straightly effects to children’s development of language repertoires and identities which consequently easens or hardens their adaptation in multilingual and multicultural society.  

Do you have any personal experiences or observations of how extended family members influence children’s language repertoire?


Baker, C. (2011). Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Fifth edition (Eds.). Bristol, UK; Multilingual Matters.

Lotherington, H., & Eamer, A. (2008). Successful Kids from Immigrant Families: An Investigation of the Complex Multilingual Worlds of 10-Year-Old Gifted Writers in Suburban Toronto. International Journal of Multilingualism, 5(2), 100-121. doi:10.1080/14790710802152297

Taylor, L. K., Bernhard, J. K., Garg, S., & Cummins, J. (2008). Affirming plural belonging: Building on students’ family-based cultural and linguistic capital through multiliteracies pedagogy. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 8(3), 269-294.

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Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?

“Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?”, Season 5, Episode 42, August 5, 2016 @ 6:30pm by Freakonomics

The podcast conveys the important issue of educating child at home involving parents as  main educators. The title of the podcast questions the audience about early education period and gives opportunity to think about the terms of educating child. But it does not specify the environment and site, keeping a kind of mystery. A short description of the podcast raises several issues concerning the research studies done by a scholar (D. Suskind) and economists (P. Glewwe and A. Park). Further on, the podcast introduces the research studies and explains conclusions which I, being a parent myself, find them to be informative with a little persuasion in sense.

The podcast justifies the arguments with fruitful research evidences and facts which involved the case study in poor rural area, Gansu (China), high technology to record the details of parent – baby child communication at home.


The first issue the podcast addresses is supply and demand sides of acquisition in education. Educators (the supply side) are being well-prepared for giving the best knowledge at school in 3-4 hours a day. Parents, being an important educational resource for children in home environment, are non-actively involved in children’s education. Children (the demand side) are being struggling to perform better at school with parents’ weak help because illiterate parents have “less vocabulary and far less complex vocabulary”, i.e. make poor quality input of language.

The second thing the podcast strives to explain is that education starts from the infant ages. “When we talk about learning …, we think too much about cognitive skills and not too much about non-cognitive skills”. It means that emotional rapport and psychological approach should be taken into better consideration by educators and parents from early childhood.


It was interesting to listen to the podcast as it recollects that parent-child conversation is “highest perform of the language acquisition” and it is necessary to teach parents to communicate effectively with children in a critical period. I like the idea of the Parent Academy and 3T model (Tuning, Talking, Take Turns) for improving parent-child collaboration as well as saying “teacher-parent is the better mantra for education”.

In general, the podcast has impacted positively to my previous knowledge about parent involvement and warned me not to forget about non-cognitive approach in educating child. I would highly recommend to listen to this podcast as it brings the initial sense of educating children at home and understand that child’s academic success lies in good parent involvement, i.e. hard work and sacrifice from parents in early childhood. 


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An outstanding researcher in education

I am doing my second year of MA Multilingual Education at Nazarbayev University. The MA courses consider reading, analysing and synthesizing literature on multilingual education. For that reason I have reviewed many sources and was amazed how different authors define this topic from different perspectives in the regional context. However,  a deluge of sources might not be all relevant for my research and available for discussion in Astana.   


Dr. Peeter Mehisto is one of the outstanding researchers of bilingual and trilingual educational programs development and management in the world. Presently, Dr. Mehisto is being a lecturer at the University College London, the Institute of Education. He has been working with the wide range of stakeholders who are interested in the creation of strategic plans and teacher-training programs. Dr. Mehisto is also engaged in managing public relations and improving learning materials. He has been awarded several times for his tremendous work in the educational field. He has got an extensive experience in working with teachers and supporting them in the classroom of bilingual programs practice. Furthermore, he is also engaged with the work of program administrators.


All his work has been mirrored in his publications: co-authored book Uncovering CLIL in which he addressed important issues to educators, administrators and researchers in education. In the latest co-authored book Building Bilingual Education Systems: Forces, mechanisms and counterweights, he raises the questions of systems balancing the bilingual educational system. Mentioning his research papers, I should say the conclusions are directly connected with education stakeholders practices, feeling, and discussed properly in place. All his work is a valuable source for educational field and community practices not only in Europe, but also other countries which experience bilingual and trilingual practices.  


I am glad we have chance to meet him in person and participate his workshops at NIS conferences in Astana every year. The session discussions are usually very hot and engages all interested parties at the conference. I am sure everyone is happy to be a part of them and feels revelation and efficacy of information for their research.


Reading research authors like Dr. Mehisto and participating lucrative discussions help to accrue the knowledge and  research practice and evade the research fallacy. 


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Some issues of the intercultural communication competence

The intercultural communication competence is closely connected with the value-laden practices based on real life experiences. Education system might provide creation of good professionals in different fields, but it is not enough if the population is not aware of the cultural peculiarities which should be taught to the population. European countries included studying cultures to the curriculum of educational establishments, i.e. education system introduces different cultures to learners.

The necessity of an appropriate education context for plurilingualism of individuals is well-written by Byram (2009). The author explains intercultural education and effective support which learners need for their plurilingual repertoire. In the same vein, COE (2009) comments about the absence of a unique model for all countries because “teaching in/of the mother tongue of minorities and the official/national language(s) will vary according to the situation of the languages concerned, the socio-political setting and the individual school context.” (p. 3). They raise the issues of well-qualified teachers and suitable textbooks in a particular socio-political context. Solving these issues would help to deal smoothly with sociopolitical structure and standards of the country. The authors mention the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages. I consider it to be well-organized policy documents which regulate and foster of the development and preservation of plurilingualism in a multilingual society.

According to Byram, “there is also a demotic discourse, the language of culture making, which is often used when people from different backgrounds interact in discussing issues of common concern or engaging in projects of mutual interest” (p. 5).  However, the important factor of this interaction is not only economic and financial benefits of both countries, but sensitive feature of language user’s linguistic repertoire which is mentioned by Kalliokoski (2011) “plurilingual competence serves interpersonal, emotional, poetic and textual functions.” It provides participants with necessary information interpretation from the socializing context. Thus, it functions as a powerful source for developing “(g)local identities in our changing globalized world” (p. 106).

Consequently, even plurilingual identities are considered to be endangered if there is no mutual understanding, respect to the other in an intercultural dialogue.



Byram, M. (2009). Multicultural societies, pluricultural people and the project of intercultural education. Council of Europe Publishing. Retrieved from

COE. (2009). Regional, minority and migration languages. Council of Europe Publishing. Retrieved from

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Promotion of plurilingualism in a multilingual society

Plurilingualism issues are natural today because every country in the world embraces more than one nationality whose language, culture, history, and education influence the development of the country and intercultural communication within the country.

The promotion of plurilingualism in a multilingual society is seen in two ways (Boeckmann et al., 2011). Firstly, they stress the attention on the secondary school education in which students are taught in the majority language as a medium of instruction. Secondly, they discuss the issues of plurilingualism and language hierarchy in teaching; how they are perceived by the representatives of school management and the necessity of students’ awareness about these serious questions. They urge to consider not only linguistic questions, but also the cultural diversity of a multilingual society. I see their point in teaching and directing the present generation to the right understanding of these serious issues in promoting plurilingualism, since, it is the core criteria in achieving future understanding and peace between different nations living in a country.

In the same vein, Boutillier (2012) suggests a bottom-up approach for plurilingualism. According to him, the population of a country plays an important role as well as the government of the country. It is the essential factor because citizens should understand their obligations in the society. He investigates the strengths and weaknesses of three countries’ past experiences (Canada, Kenya, and Kyrgyzstan) and comes to the conclusion that “The politics of accommodation begins at home (p. 11). I believe this is absolutely true because many outside factors might influence the stability of a country, but nothing is worse than inside misbalance and conflicts.

Finally, the population has some power which should be encouraged by the government and foster the citizens’ desire to support multilingualism. The policy makers should provide necessary resources, and, certainly, make every effort to achieve the goals together with its citizens. Although different obstacles are going to prevent a successful promotion of plurilingualism, there is a good saying by Boutillier (2012) “Learning to live together peaceably with disagreement is an achievement” (p. 14).


Boeckmann et al. (2011). Promoting Plurilingualism: Majority Language in Multilingual Settings. TESOL Quarterly. 654-657. doi: 10.1002/tesq.106

Boutillier (2012). Defining Plurilingualism. Pluralism Papers No. 1. 1-14. Global Centre for Pluralism.

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3 ways to spot a bad statistics by M. Chalabi (Deconstruction)

Statistics takes an important role in our life. It gives us information about the things and events we are interested in, it somehow directs us to make right decisions about social-political field, for instance, voting in elections, or everyday life like shopping for goods. A data journalist, Mona Chalabi, makes the TedTalk speech about statistics and three ways of identifying bad numbers. She claims that checking the statistics for accuracy about the issues we are interested is crucial nowadays because numbers might lie for someone’s private interests.

She brings a lot of examples of situations in which statistics might be biased. One of the important types of the data which influence population is the government statistics. She suggests to see the uncertainty in the visualized numbers and check them for accuracy. But I think that she should have mentioned that the majority of population not only believe in visualized numbers, they just do not care about anything else except their everyday life, work, and family issues because they do not have time for being so skeptical about numbers. Of course, that does not characterize them from the best site, but this is true for the developing countries.

I find this topic applicable for certain professionals who deal with numbers in their daily working lives. For instance, specialists of statistics agencies, information analytical centers, and scholars of different fields need figures to speculate about various issues of social and political life. However, I doubt about their frequent checking these numbers for accuracy. Most of the time they tend to use the information with certain figures to surprise or persuade somebody. More often it appears that they even exaggerate approximate numbers to influence people’s opinion. That is why, Chalabi three tips are right at hand when people need to check if private interests are hidden under the figures.


Maikel Akkermans. (2017, March 25). Mona Chalabi 3 ways to spot a bad statistic. Retrieved on April 20 2017 from

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The triangulation masters

Do you find it difficult to make an excuse for not telling some issues which you would not like to share even with close people?

It might be easy to recollect the time when your friends or parents were constantly asking different questions about an obscure issue. You see their eyes full of increasing curiosity and their attempts to paraphrase the question prompts afresh. You also guess that the meaning is unchangeable. Once you weaken the caution on the secret matter, you are caught. In this case the winners (your friends/parents) might celebrate their successful method of triangulation. People can use the triangulation method without learning a qualitative research design for discovering the truth.

Denzin (1978) identified four basic types of triangulation: data triangulation, investigator triangulation, theory triangulation, and method triangulation. However, there are people who use this methods without even knowing how scientists and scholars call them.  

The first reason for using this method is a simple human relationship which is connected with psychology. Close people are not usually unreasonably curious. They are eager to figure out important information for protecting and supporting you. It proves their care about you. In psychology “triangulation occurs when an outside person intervenes or is drawn into a conflicted or stressful relationship in an attempt to ease tension and facilitate communication.” (Triangulation, 2016, para. 1). This is mostly assumed to be the family therapy conducted by a professional therapist in a psychological council. However, close friends could also replace the therapist council if they are involved into problematic relationship. It is not mandatory to be a professional psychologist for urgent investigating and supporting a close friend or relative in need.  

Secondly, another field in which triangulation is widely practiced is the case investigation made by police officers. In order to identify important facts about a criminal case, inspectors use simple triangulation method for asking several questions repeatedly. Aftermath they check the suspects’ stability or changeability in responding. For instance, the triangulation of interests is a deep model applicable for a criminal court work. Altrichter et al. (2008) state that triangulation “gives a more detailed and balanced picture of the situation.” (p. 147). Although the aim of the usage is almost the same, we can say it is more serious since it decides whether the accused person is guilty or not. In parallel, this might remind you of the situation in school years when your parents were asking you a lot of questions about the broken vase or window at home, etc. aiming to figure out who was guilty. At that time they might seem to be police inspectors for you.

Thirdly, popular researchers Cohen and Manion (2000) determine the triangulation as an “attempt to map out, or explain more fully, the richness and complexity of human behavior by studying it from more than one standpoint.” (p. 254). The triangulation is taught in the research classes in higher educational institutions in order to teach students to conduct qualitative interviews. Using this method appears to be easy to understand and implement in practice for students as they used to do it habitually in informal everyday communication.  

Summing up we can state that time passes and triangulation becomes more and more popular among professionals of different fields. However, people automatically use triangulation methods successfully in everyday practice to solve their family or other issues for centuries because all methods are justified if they solve vital issues.

By the way, thank you to my mother who unintentionally encouraged me to choose the title of this blog post while our breakfast conversation recently.     


Cohen, L., & Manion, L. (2000). Research methods in education (5th ed.). UK: Routledge.

Denzin, N. (2006). Sociological methods: A sourcebook. Chicago, USA: Aldine Transaction.

Altrichter, H., Feldman, A., Posch, P. & Somekh, B. (2008). Teachers Investigate Their Work: An introduction to action research across the professions (2nd ed.). Oxon, USA: Routledge.

Mathias, D. (2004, September 3). The triangulation of interests fallacy. Retrieved March 2 2017 from  

Triangulation. (2016, August 1). Retrieved March 2 2017 from  

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Smart Jumping

My daughter’s jumping has developed this idea for the blog post. I see how happy she feels herself when she jumps on the sofa or ‘soars’ on the trampoline, therefore I was interested if jumping somehow might be either unilateral or multilateral, i.e. beneficial not only for physical health, but also for the child cognitive development.

So I found out that jumping has several types like jumping jacks, jump rope, trampoline jumping, rebounding which influence positively on human health and brain activity.

Firstly, let us see how jumping helps in gaining better health conditions. In this regard, Quietadove (2010) espouses the benefits of jumping or rebounding as a great way to keep fit: to lose weight and have fun at the same time. The author also recommends to consult the therapist first for starting a serious weight-loss in regular jumping. In the same vein, Makovsky (2015) suggests us jumping jacks as being an advantageous way “to burn calories”. (para. 1). In addition to losing weight, she depicts its cardiovascular, strengthening and stress-relieving functions. It could be said that it is a nice start for thinking not only about losing weight, but also cognitive development which is positively affected by jumping.

Secondly, it is worth to underpin intellectual advantages of jumping. Kenny Hogan (n.d.) explicates that jumping rope makes people smarter. “Jumping aids in the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which further enhances spacial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory and makes you more mentally alert.” (para. 13). Another article about benefits of jumping mentions that children control their body movements while jumping, so it helps them develop control on coordination, consequently the improvement in their learning success. (“8 Benefits,” n.d.). Furthermore, the research study done by Pesce et al. (2012) manifests and demystifies that physical education, including low jumping, creates favorable conditions for memory performance in school-age children. That is very important to know for parents who restrict any kind of jumping, being meticulous in promoting safer conditions for children.

In conclusion it is useful to say that jumping brings not only happiness and physical health, but it also influences human cognitive development and affects learning success. You might have a monism about ideas mentioned above and share your own views or experience about jumping. It could help to identify more benefits of either one, two, or both ideas.


Kennedy Hogan, M. (n.d.). 9 Benefits of Jumping Rope You Probably Don’t Know. Retrieved February 15 2017 from

Makofsky, N. (2015, January 28). Benefits of Jumping Jacks. Retrieved February 15 2017 from

Quietadove. (2010, August 23). Health Benefits of Jumping. Retrieved February 16 2017 from

Pescea, C., Faigenbaumb, A., Crovaa, C., Marchettia, R., & Belluccic, M. (2012). Benefits of multi-sports physical education in the elementary school context. Health Education Journal. 72(3). 326–336. Retrieved February 15 2017 from

8 Benefits of trampolining for kids. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17 2017 from

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Children in a multilingual and multicultural society

Kazakhstan is a multilingual society. That is why it is important to pinpoint the consequences of multilingual and multicultural impacts on the development of the growing generation in present conditions. I would like to depict some advantages of raising children in a multilingual society which can illustrate a real situation happening now.

To begin with pros of a multilingual society which is brightly described in the website of the Multilingual Children’s Association (USA), I should highlight children’s flexibility and adaptability in different environments which are created naturally and unconsciously in early childhood. In comparison with a monolingual society, children are more self-confident in expressing their ideas in public. Multilingual children appreciate different cultures and have better career perspectives in the future.

Similarly, M. Paradowski from the Institute of Applied Linguistics (GB) asserts that multilingual children and adults frequently think more flexibly than monolinguals. They develop richer vocabulary simultaneously in both languages over the years. “They have a better ear for listening and sharper memories”. Thus, he concludes that speaking foreign languages improves the use of the native language.    

In addition to the culture point, children raised in a multilingual society might easily omit the situations of culture clash. “You can understand and appreciate cultural difference and nuances.” (Kruschewsky, 2015). G. Kruschewsky explains that cultures are different and all of them have their peculiar issues which are sometimes hard to perceive. If children are raised in the society in which they socialize with different cultures from early childhood, they have less cultural barriers which usually prevent communication.    

Another important issue of a multilingual society is that it should be maintained not only in the family, but also in the society itself. The National center for multilingual education (Norway) made an informational booklet “Children in multilingual families” which addresses the parents’ issues of children’s multilingual development. It is also designed for the educators at kindergartens, school and family health centers. Since the booklet highlights the importance of languages which is closely connected with identity, socialization and culture. “When kindergartens and schools have a positive attitude towards multilingualism, this reinforces children’s multilingualism.” (p. 2).    

I would be more than happy if you share your ideas or personal experience about advantages of being raised in a multilingual society.  


The Pros and Cons of Raising a Multilingual Child. (2004). In Multilingual Children’s Association. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from    

Paradowski, M.B. (n.d.). The benefits of multilingualism. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

National Center for multicultural education. (n.d.). Children in multicultural families. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from

Kruschewsky, G. (2015, August 12). Multilingual benefits that you only get if you speak another language. Retrieved February 2, 2017, from

Restrictions in childhood – necessary?

Restrictions are always used in upbringing children in their early ages. For sure parents wish all the best in this world for their children, so they try to restrict them from bad things and occupy children with love and care. From my observations, some people use restrictions very often, others do not use them at all. I consider it might be either cultural, ethnical, traditional family peculiarities or personal preference issues which regulate parents’ attitude to restrictions. We can observe several restrictions which parents use in upbringing their children more frequently. Many websites of psychological councils recommend parents to limit, for example, watching TV and Internet, food intake, pocket money issues. However, there are other forms of restrictions which are directed to control children’s behaviour, some sport activities and even creativity.

Why do people use them? I suppose, the first reason is to protect children from immediate danger like falling from a tree or any other physical damages, the second one is to secure them from long-term consequences of the potential psychological danger, the ones they might experience and behave wrongly in their adult life.

However, not every parent thinks about the consequences of many restrictions and precautions in childhood which can reflect to child’s further development at school. Being restricted and limited from expressing himself/herself in childhood, children become shy and unconfident in their actions at school, for instance, while performing in debates and discussions. Of course, there exist natural personality which might be the reason for child’s being shy and introvert. This shyness might disappear if child finds his favorite hobby or activity connected to performing in public. But, if not? If he/she is unable to cope with this problem himself, will parents let him stay silent? I hope they will not.

I suppose if everybody thinks about the level of restrictions which he/she has experienced in childhood, it might be helpful to discover possible answers for performing successfully or unsuccessfully in study.