All posts by assemova

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion. (deconstruction)

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Rita Pierson is a professional educator who brings a special energy to her job and a desire to get to know her students, to show how much they matter and to support them in their growth. Rita teaches for 40 years following in the footsteps of her grandmother and both parents that is why she had a chance to look at educational reform from three different perspectives. In her ted talk, she explicates that every single child deserves the champion in her or his teacher’s face.

The speaker begins her speech with the reasons for dropping out that we already know – poverty, low attendance or negative peer influences. However, supporting by the statements of two famous Americans, she claims that one of the almost forgotten things at schools is the significance of human connection between teachers and children. She gave one example of her colleague who said: “They do not pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach the lesson and the kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it. Case closed”. I liked Rita’s answer to her statement: “…kids do not learn from people they don’t like”. Actually, it is a completely true thing. From my primary school experience, I always modeled my favorite Math teacher on behavior, dressing and way of talking. As I liked her, primarily I tried to complete home tasks given by her and amusedly went to her classes. I enjoyed everything about her. Eventually, I have completed Math school course with an excellent mark because I was keen on Math and knew almost everything about it. In my opinion, the reason for that was my inspiring teacher. So I can conclude that good teacher’s attitude towards children and vice versa reflects children’s learning.

Seeking first to understand in order to be understood and apologizing are the next point of Rita’s claim about good relationships between teachers and children. Most children read their teachers like a book. They see teacher’s intentions and desire to teach beyond skin and bone. In her speech, she gives one more example of her own, which explicates the mistake she did with Math lesson. She taught the whole lesson wrong. However, next day she made an apology to children and they said: “That is okay… You were so excited, we just let you go”. It is so wonderful. Her children understood her and could not even interrupt because of her teaching handicraft. Children did the reflection towards her, maybe because she did the same or because of her enthusiastic teaching process. Also, she showed her inspiring teaching skills giving an example of the class with low academic achievements and her meticulous attitude towards the class. She tries not only to evaluate the student’s work but to encourage them to get higher mark by showing that they deserve better.

Rita’s speech impressed me with demonstrating sincere affection to children without any exceptions. I remember from psychology lessons that the first rule for all teachers is to love them. Without love, it is impossible to teach efficiently. She knows her staff well; and I hope it will fill with enthusiasm other educators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kazakh? Russian? Both?

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Today, Kazakhstani people are either monolingual or bilingual/multilingual so language and everything that is related to it are on the agenda here. We have two main spoken languages within the country – Kazakh and Russian. The presence of these languages are a debate topic and it brings up an issue about their statuses in people’s minds. Which language should we choose, in order to be more prestigious in Kazakhstan? Kazakh or Russian?

Opinions about these languages vary because some people prefer speaking only Kazakh and feel comfortable, while other consider Russian as more desirable language for communication. However, there are some people who give priority to both languages equally. I do think the same. In order to have high-prestige and to be more convenient in every situation, we should be proficient in both languages approximately at the same level. My own experience shows me that places where we are and people who we speak with have an effect on our language choice. So, different people unintentionally influence on choosing the language for communicating with them. For instance, most doctors and nurses in hospitals prefer speaking Kazakh with patients and visitors, but attendance some beauty salons induces them to speak Russian. It is taken from my personal experience. That is why, I conclude that I have to be proficient in both Kazakh and Russian for being able to deal with different people from various fields.

When I came to Astana for studying, I started to think about languages I know. I was proficient in Russian and English. However, I faced with people who defined me as a simple Kazakh girl with Kazakh appearance and they said that I have to know and speak pure Kazakh language. But I could not. It was a big challenge for me to pronounce something in Kazakh because I had an accent that made me feeling embarrassed. Also, there were some people who heard my pronunciation and advised me not to speak Kazakh at all. That is why, the stimulus to learn my native language decreased. Feelings about my egregious Kazakh were the same up to this winter-spring. This semester I have a Kazakh language subject; our teacher, Dinara, always tells me to speak with people in Kazakh even if I have a low level in it, to practice the language and not to pay attention to their unfavorable comments. Her words somehow have an effect on me and I sometimes try to speak with people in Kazakh.

I am quite proficient in Russian. I guess, it is perfect. However, I am eager to feel prestigious among various people that is why I must be proficient in Kazakh as well as in Russian. My post does not include anything about English, because it is like a sure thing to know it in the framework of trilingual policy within the country. But still we have problems with other two languages, don’t we?

What about you? Which language(s) do you think people should know in order to feel prestigious and convenient to every single situation? Kazakh? Russian? Or both? And why?

Be like a сoach Carter

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“I came to coach basketball players, and you became students. I came to teach boys, and you became men”, said coach Ken Carter to his basketball team. This quote is from the movie I saw three weeks ago. Then I started making research on the movie and found out that it is based on a real life story. He is not a subject teacher; he is just a coach of school basketball team. However, he is curious about his team players’ trainings as well as their study. His reverential attitude towards students’ future made me feeling amazed because at school his primary task is just to train that team.

My school experience is not a script for shooting a film. The classmates’ prosperous tomorrow and mine were only in the parents’ interests. But, I do not claim that all the school teachers were egregious or gave me poor knowledge. No, they were not. No, they did not. I think, any experience is a good experience that we can put to work. I try to apply everything I heard, did and met. But, when I see such teachers with deep inspiration inside themselves to be more than just a person who checks home tasks and stands by the blackboard, I am eager to be a part of such community especially as a student. Fortunately, at the moment I am facing such fascinating teachers who give us profound knowledge and partly take interest in students’ future intentions and goals.

There should be such teachers as a coach Carter, because a teacher is an impetus for every child starting from the school. He takes small “seeds” called children and waters them, but the way he waters influences children’s world perception. Teachers should be those ones who elevate children’s desire to be a nice person, to be successful pair of hands that like a propeller forces evolution at least within the country. Such teachers are inscribed in children’s memory and turn round their education for the better.

What about your school experience? Could you share with us?

By the way, have you seen that movie called “Coach Carter”? How do you feel about it?

Urban schools

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Personal growth, capability enhancement, memory improvement and community adjustment are irreplaceable components of the term “education” that have to be developed in children’s minds by schools’ teachers. Theoretically. However, my personal experience of acquiring such skills demonstrates slightly different picture. I can voice a view from three statuses I have such as a child, a relative and a friend that influenced my perception of urban education.

As a child … My school was an ordinary, state one with thirty-two children in the class, with shortage of books and overloaded curriculum. The eleven years I spent at school were incredible with those thirty-one classmates who have pretty different backgrounds, various short-range and long-range objectives for their lives. The stage of having many children within one classroom is a common feature of urban education but assumed as the problem because psychological condition and learning activity can suffer from overcrowded classrooms and time poverty. I grew up in such conditions, my classmates and I were just on our own. Things happened. Teachers mainly could not individually pay attention to every child that is why there were some volunteers who usually came to the front and answered. Not me. So, the school somehow developed my personality, memory and some skills but unfortunately being an activist is not my cup of tea.

As a relative … I have noticed that my little niece suffers from overloaded curriculum at school that makes her compare it with something malicious and tedious. Every single day is full of lessons with a heap of home tasks. And I do not mean that 6 lessons a day is too many, I mean current developments connected with trilingual education that are being implemented at schools. Her classmates and she were not illuminated about new program, so they feel confused. Instead of acquiring new skills and bury herself in school books, she refuses to do homework or does it just for a show. However, I recollect her ambitions about going to schools and being a well-known doctor whose relatives have robust health. One thing that forces her to get up every morning and attend the school is her classmates.

As a friend … I have several friends with children. And they have challenges with children’s home tasks because of new implementations these days at Kazakhstani schools. Mostly, children ask for a help and parents struggle to do their homework. So, new system can lead to knowledge acquisition by parents not by children.

Eventually, updating urban schools’ system can pull strings and be either success mission or just a screwjob. However, all the people have to be involved in high-quality urban education from scratch because further actions will depend on the earlier shaped worldview.

To be or not to be trilingual

It is too obvious for words that Kazakhstan becomes more and more multilingual state because trilingual policy is, intensively, being implemented by the government. Such policy requires the knowledge of Kazakh, Russian and English languages. Due to the fact that two widely used languages are at the front of Kazakhstani language policy, it should be emphasized that such circumstance is unique in comparison with other countries. Additionally, making English as obligatory one to those two languages developes language policy to the top countries around the world.

Yes! Trilingual policy probably gives prospects for having dream job with substantial salary.

Yes! It could imbue to ameliorate academic, cognitive and social skills.

Yes! It is simply evident that such policy places people for exploration the language’s culture.

However, people need to adhere to guidelines given by the government that include improving the language level they have already known or make themselves familiar with a language they do not know. With increasing frequency, the administration triggers people to be trilingual despite the fact that, first and foremost, they should underpin people and provide them with necessary stuff for successful learning such as free trainings for people or distribution of dictionaries and phrase-books.

Learning languages demands diligent efforts and positive stance towards the language. People should be prepared for this policy because some daily but important things can be in an unfamiliar language such as watching news or reading advertisements. In terms of job places, government agencies require the knowledge of three languages these days. So, most people have a risk to lose their position at work. For this reason, some questions arise here. How to learn the language that a person has never spoken?! How to keep the heritage of the nation while learning other languages? How to get money to attend language courses if there are no free ones?! And then many how-s that do not have answers…

However, I will be for trilingual policy only in case if appropriate measures are taken for its improvement. I consider that above-mentioned issues are significant for making trilingual policy successfully equal for the entire population of Kazakhstan.

How about you? Are you in favor or against?!