All posts by ayanairis

Giving or taking? Is a “Pronoia” connected with succeeding? (Deconstruction).

Take a minute before watching a video or reading this blog post, and answer the question: “Are you a giver, a taker, or a matcher?”.

I have recently watched TED video where Adam Grant tells about givers, takers, and matchers in our society. The question of giving and taking is discussed in the talk of Adam Grant, and it is connected with every sphere of our life. I remembered the words of one of our professors at Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE) that each of us should share and help. In this blog post, I would discuss the issues of givers, takers, and connect them with the educational area.

Do you always ask people do anything for you? Do you ask people if you can do anything for them? Do you do anything for the sake of taking back? These are general explanations of a taker, a giver, and a matcher.  As Adam Grant noted, givers are found in all the spheres of life, work, studying both at the bottom and at the top. They make the process work, but they are sometimes unevaluated. They share their knowledge, give feedback, and it could be 5 minutes help, but it is worth. The speaker pointed out three things to protect givers: protect givers from burnout; encourage help-seeking; get the right people on the bus/keep the wrong people off the bus. Explaining in other words, givers should know that they can receive as well; people should not be shy to ask for help; takers should be out because they could pass over the whole work to a giver.

What image do you have when you think of givers and takers? Agreeableness is for givers, and disagreeableness is for takers? However, these traits of character are not connected, and they could represent both of them. Personally, I appreciate disagreeable givers, they are the most critical and tell things that no one wants to hear, but they tell the clear truth and to the point. Adam Grant ended his speech with the words that if there will be more givers, and if people would ask for help, it could lead to the change of success understanding.

The claim of a speaker is valuable, and the presented evidence mostly come from diverse studies. However, I have several points to debate about and add something from my own experience. I refer myself to matchers. Previously, I was a giver, but I have the story behind which made me a matcher. Now I think that everything should be built on balance. If there should be many givers, as Adam Grant suggests, takers and matchers will be off the bus. I believe that three of them should have the place in every sphere of our life. If a giver gives, who would receive then? I agree with the opinion that people should not be afraid of asking questions, they should share and help. However, not only givers can do this.

Talking about an educational sphere, I would like to speak of studying and teaching experiences. Studying at NUGSE, I see on the practice that helping each other, sharing, and asking questions open the door to the suitcase of knowledge. People who do these things are not only givers, but they manage to do it. Working as a teacher of the English language, there seemed to be a lack of givers. Mentoring is what I needed as a first-year teacher. However, no one wanted to help. Then, I asked for a help, and I got it. From my experience, givers are mostly awake when you ask. Thus, asking, sharing, and helping are more important in our life.

Do not be shy and afraid of asking questions, as it is the wheel to progress and all the developments in our society. Do help people and share with them, no matter who you are: a giver, a taker, or a matcher. Not the point of being a giver, but being responsive is a key to success.

To mix, or not to mix, that is the question!

Looking through the blog post of my group mates, I found out that the most popular topics are mother tongue usage and mixture of languages. The blog posts: “‘Shala Kazakh’ and other obstacles for the pure language”, “Why does the status of Kazakh remain low?”, “Why don’t Kazakhs speak in Kazakh as the native language?”, “Use mother tongue or not…”, “Who are we in this country?” look at these issues from diverse angles. Some of the posts were addressed to the code-mixing/switching issue. I have read all the blog posts and have watched the video with code-mixing/switching. Then, I decided to analyze the video, and find out what may cause code-mixing/switching.

The interview in the video was supposed to be in the Russian language. The theme of the interview was the opening of a new fashion shop. The shooting took place in Canada, the country that is considered to be multilingual and multinational/multicultural. The speaker had the Russian language as a native, but she moved to Canada many years ago, and the English language became dominant in the usage. By listening and transcribing the speaker’s speech, I found out that there was a case of code-mixing/code-switching between Russian and English, with a few elements of the Ukrainian language. This switching happened, as proposed by Poplack (2004), inter-sentential, intra-sentential, and extra-sentential. The lexical units represent the number of words in this speech. Totally, there are 344 words, out of this number 242 words were told by the speaker in Russian, 100 words in English, and only 2 repetitive words were in Ukrainian. After calculating the number of English and Ukrainian words appearing in the speech, it became distinct that the English language emerged almost at a half of the speech. Several points may influence this process.

First of all, the country, where the speaker lives, is mainly English/French speaking. Thus, she communicates in English everyday, and the English language is a part of her routine. While living there for too much time, she might forget a substantial amount of words in the Russian language. However, listening to her speech, it is obvious that the grammatical structure and sentence building in Russian are correct. In addition, as the speaker became connected with fashion in Canada, many of those words were taken in English, and she was adapted to use them in that language rather than in Russian or Ukrainian. Most of the words were dedicated to the topic of fashion and colors. Consequently, the speaker might not know the analogues of these words.

The increase in the usage of English all around the world may contribute to the next suggestion. For the Russian language speakers, English is believed to be prestigious, and the stereotype that the person, knowing English, is more educated, may occur. Comparing with the study of Yee Ho (2007), who conducted a research on the use of English in the Cantonese language, the same point is raised in the findings. “The use of English in Cantonese utterances delineates social stratification more clearly and divides those with good education, great prestige and high social status from those without” (Yee, W. & Ho, J., 2007). This point could be one of the influences to code-mix/switch as well.

To conclude, it could be suggested that code-mixing/switching which occurred in the interview might represent the speaking style of a person at the particular case (talking about fashion). Living too many years in an English speaking country, the lack of vocabulary may be one of the reasons to code-mix/switch, but there could be another reason for it. Code-mixing/switching could occur to show the side of an educated person, who really knows their job. However, there are many other reasons of code-mixing/switching. Do you code-mix/switch? If yes, what are the reasons?

 

 

References

Yee Ho, J. W. (2007).  Code-mixing: Linguistic form and socio-cultural meaning. The International Journal of Language, Society and Culture. 21 (1-8). Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.575.1796&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Poplack, S. (2004). “Code-Switching”. In U. Ammon, N. Dittmar, K.J. Mattheier and P. Trudgill. Sociolinguistics. An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society (2nd ed.). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 589–596.

Language loss: Death or Revitalization? Choose!

After reading a blog post Language losswhich gives a brief overview on the notion of language loss, the numbers of death languages in the world presented by different scholars, the basic awareness was raised. In this post, I would like to add another two notions which are closely connected with language loss: language death and language revitalization.

King (2000) and Orman’s (2013) points out that language shift and language death are not new notions today. Orman (2013) raises a controversial question of whether language is dead or just disappeared. From a linguistics point of view, a language can be considered as lost or dead when it is no used in communication. However, it is crucial to pay much attention to the revitalization of a language in order to save diversity on our planet. “Language revitalization requires an intervention approach from the bottom up to reverse language shift, stabilizing endangered languages. Such an ‘applied’ approach entails a commitment to the communities’ interests and perspectives and poses a number of political and ethical dilemmas” (Tsunoda, 2005, p. 170). It was stated that in order to revitalize a language, both linguists and speakers should work together.

Baker (2001) and King (2000) studied Fishman’s (1990, 1991) 8 stages GIDS (Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale) in terms of language revitalization. Baker (2001) commented on GIDS and highlighted that “The GIDS scale is a valuable attempt at sequencing and prioritizing action where there is a downward language shift and upwards ambitions” (p. 83). He stated that language revitalization has to be started by a minority community. And he suggested that maybe there would be the time when a majority community would pay attention to and secure minority languages. Both majorities and minorities should be involved in the preservation of languages.

King (2000) gives the thought that language planning is bounded with language revitalization. Language planning is the step that made to influence a language use and structure. It consists of corpus planning, status planning, and acquisition planning. Status planning is expansion a language use in the areas, such as church, school, and governmental institutions. It is made for the increase of the status of a language purposefully (De Jong, 2011). Another part of a language planning is a corpus planning; it stands for a language development and includes changes in a language. For instance, creating new words for a special sphere is for vocabulary planning, correcting and differentiating some forms in a language is for grammar and spelling planning (Cooper, 1989). The third part is acquisition planning; it is taken into account by policymakers in order to enlarge the number of people speaking a language. It can be made by establishing different language programs of teaching languages (De Jong, 2011). All these could be taken as main steps towards language maintenance and revitalization.

Language loss could have two results: it could become dead or revitalized. It would be better to prevent language loss and death if some of the proposed steps are taken by all the persons, not only native speakers, but policy makers, linguists, teachers, government, minority and majority languages’ speakers.

 

References

Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd ed.). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Retrieved from https//criancabilingue.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/colin-baker-foundations-of-bilingual- education-and-bilingualism-bilingual-education-and-bilingualism-27-2001.pdf

Cooper, R.L. (1989). Language planning and social change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

De Jong, E. (2011). Multilingualism and Multilingual Development. Foundations for Multilingualism in Education (pp.48-82). Philadelphia, PA: Caslon, Inc.

Fishman, J. (1996). What do you lose when you lose your language? In G. Cantoni (Ed.), Stabilizing Indigenous Languages (pp. 80-91). Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University Center for Excellence in Education. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED395732

King, K. A. (2000). Language revitalization processes and prospects: Quichua in the     Ecuadorian Andes. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Orman, J. (2013). Linguistic diversity and language loss: a view from integrational linguistics. Language Sciences, 40, 1-11. Retrieved from    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2013.04.005

Tsunoda, T. (2005). Language endangerment and language revitalization: An introduction. Germany, Berlin: De Gruyter.

“Throw away the papers! E-learning is coming! … Is it really coming?”

gfnfmgmE-learning system in Kazakhstan has been working without any changes for about four years, and there are many obstacles towards it. In order to implement something from the very beginning, we need to try to look at the research projects that were conducted before to eliminate some problems. After reading the blog post “E-learning reform” with a substantial amount of evidence, I decided to add some other points to this issue in terms of untrained teachers problem in this system.

As Sommerville (2004) mentioned that “effective implementation of E-learning requires proper integration of the needs of both e-students and e-teachers into administrative, managerial and delivery systems” (as cited in Safavi, p.52, 2008). It is highlighted that the interconnection between all stakeholders and people who are responsible for the realization of the program is crucial. It is like a triangle system that should be connected with each other; otherwise, it will not be that triangle which we were planning to have. One of the research papers that was published by Boulton (2008) was held in the ICT equipped school in the United Kingdom. It showed that E-learning would take place in the curriculum of secondary schools, but the teachers had to be aware of the system. It is important to pay attention to the preparatory courses. The needs of teachers are to be trained, firstly, in order to meet the requirements of a new system. In other way, it will impact negatively the teaching and learning processes in schools in terms of traditional lessons which make students demotivated sometimes, and there will not be a place for transparency in the process of education.

Another research that was conducted by Bulgarian team was exploring Unified eLearning Environment for the schools (UNITE) (Nikolova, Georgiev & Gachev, 2008). UNITE does provide new information to the secondary schools’ students, and it varies traditional methods with innovative ones. The shortcoming among teachers was about some technical problems that were difficult to deal with, and computer literacy was lacking. The decision was to create for teachers some workshops; luckily, such workshops began to exist (Nikolova et al, 2008). It is great that this challenge had been noticed and the main step towards the solution was made. It would be better for Kazakhstani context to create these kinds of workshops as well.

By making these steps, we could minimize the shortcomings to a less number. It would positively impact the quality of lessons in terms of more innovative lessons which bring interest among students, and these steps would also lead to transparency in the educational process.

 

References

Boulton, H. (2008). Managing e-Learning: what are the Real Implications for Schools? The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 6 (1), 11 – 18. Retrieved from http://www.ejel.org

Nikolova, N., Georgiev, A., Gachev, G. (2008, January). The Challenges in the Secondary School e-Learning Process. ECEL 2008 – 7th European Conference on E-Learning.Sofia, Bulgaria: Sofia University – St. Kliment Ohridski

Safavi, A. A. (2008) Developing Countries and E-Learning Program Development, Journalof Global Information Technology Management, 11 (3), 47-64, DOI:  10.1080/1097198Х.2008.10856473

Photo credit: https://cw-blog-static3.netdna-ssl.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/4.jpg

Are the majorities first served?

After reading a thought-provoking blog post “Issues relating to minority languages”, I decided to raise this issue in the panel discussion that we had previous semester. I agree with some points of Nazguln and this time I would like to add information which is supported by a study and my personal position concerning this theme. Looking at the issue of minority languages in Kazakhstani educational system, I always see an iceberg, where the hidden part stands for minority languages and cultures, whereas the visible part is for the majority ones. Minority ethnicities struggle to maintain their languages and cultures, but we should think over some suggestions to solve this problem.

According to Information-Analytic Center in Kazakhstan (2015), there were 33 schools with minority languages (such as Uzbek, Uyghur, and Tajik) as mediums of instruction. Small numbers of schools provide courses on other minority languages as German, Korean, Ukrainian, and etc. Language centers and Sunday schools are another ways for people to maintain their languages and cultures. For instance, my friends go to a center called “Druzhba” in Kostanay in order to learn, improve, and maintain their native languages. However, students of minority ethnicities learn Kazakh, Russian, English languages at school 5-6 days a week, and have to go additionally to a Sunday school or centers; it is an overwhelming situation for them. Taking into account schools with minority languages as mediums of instruction, we can say that students graduating from these schools probably would have troubles in socializing, entering universities of Kazakhstan, and finding a job. In the future, this situation might lead whether to migration from Kazakhstan or disappearance of a diversity of languages and cultures in Kazakhstan.

How could this situation be changed? In the blog post “Issues relating to minority languages”, it was written that the attention from the government should be paid towards textbooks. Textbooks which include an equal proportion of all cultures would lead to a reformation of curricula. However, talking about the integration of all minority languages and cultures in the curriculum would be difficult enough. Since Kazakhstan is considered to be multinational and multicultural country, consisting of over 130 ethnicities, this action is close to an impossible one. One of the main difficulties here is the understanding of what culture to teach. The research that we should mention here “The treatment of culture in the foreign language curriculum and analysis of national curriculum documents” by Evgenia Lavrentyeva and Lilly Orland (2015) in 14 countries and, the schools in Egypt, Croatia, and Finland under culture in curriculum understand their own culture and identity, not other cultures. Thus, the comprehension of over 130 existing ethnicities in Kazakhstan should be gone through the exercises in the books slightly. It would be better to start from little things moving forward. For example, while reading the text in one of the books, the names and pictures representing diverse nationalities could appear.

The question of minority languages in a multilingual/multinational/multicultural country is very tough.  It is definitely significant to keep not only Kazakh, Russian, English languages and cultures, but to add other nations living in Kazakhstan into the educational context to create a multicultural environment in Kazakhstani educational system. What would you suggest?

References

Lavrenteva, E. & Orland-Barak, L. (2015). The treatment of culture in the foreign language   curriculum: an analysis of national curriculum documents. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47 (5), 653-684. DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2015.1056233

Do you enjoy teaching? Yes, but…

 

September 1st, 2014. I remember entering the school with a lot of doubts in my mind. It was the first day of my working experience as a teacher of the English language. The feelings of anxiety prevented me from enjoying this memorable day. While being a pre-service teacher, I could not even imagine that I knew only a HALF of the whole picture. Teaching experience is as enjoyable as drinking water after fitness; at the same time, it is as difficult as learning to drive a car and having poor eyesight. What does bother a first-year teacher? This blog post is not about some pieces of advice but the voice from the teacher who went through it.

A teacher of the English language – sounds great! “When pre-service teachers choose to become teachers to receive external praise, external rewards or because it was prescribed by others, they are acting on extrinsic motives” (Bruinsma & Jansen, p. 186). In my case, it was much of an intrinsic motive. I was willing to become a perfect teacher by giving my students the best of my knowledge and learn from them. I did have this pleasure of becoming a solid whole with my students. I found some hints not to make a pressure on them, but to have a better conversation with my students. A wonderful atmosphere filled all the lessons of English. I was so happy to be a teacher because of it. However, another side added a bit negative part to this story.

What was mentioned before is how the majority of people imagine the teacher profession. I am so lucky that I truly experienced it. Nevertheless, I would not stop here. Plenty of duties goes hand in hand with teaching. Filling pile of documents (paper-based and e-versions), being a curator, communicating with parents, creating concerts, trying host’s outlook, leading students’ research papers – “why not?”. The most significant about this situation is that every teacher faces with it. However, first-year teachers have a more difficult teaching life. Why? Based on my experience, that is because there is no a well-worked mentoring system. If an experienced teacher supported the above mentioned one, a “critical teaching” period would not be so difficult to fight with.  The second reason is a lack of proper duties distribution. Teachers are not robots to cover all the deals perfectly at a time. In this sense, I support Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools’ (NIS) system. They have a mentoring system, which is created for a year period; the roles of teachers and curators are faithfully divided. These two great points could change the situation of overloaded teachers’ minds.

January 28th, 2017. I have two years of teaching experience, and now I am getting my Master’s degree in the sphere of Multilingual Education. I am on the way to know the WHOLE picture of Kazakhstani education system. It is my voice about teaching experience which could be compared to a grain of sand in a desert. Would you add anything to this?

References

Bruinsma, M., & Jansen, E. P. W. A. (2010). Is the motivation to become a teacher related to pre-service teachers’ intentions to remain in the profession? European Journal of Teacher Education, 33(2), 185-200. DOI: 10.1080/02619760903512927

Photo credit to Ayana Mukuzhanova.

How to cope with deadlines at NUGSE?

httpengage-franklin-eduHow do you cope with a deadline? The deadline is the word that provokes every student to be scared and start to procrastinate. The life of a student changes when deadlines come closer. The studying at NUGSE is as difficult as taking part in a marathon where the end of a distance is the most willing but exhausting. However, I can state that everything is possible and the deadline is not the thing to think different about. Some rules of mine presented below might help students studying at NUGSE get rid of anxiety about deadlines.

The first and foremost rule is to create the calendar where all deadlines will be marked, and the most essential is to highlight the dates to do a particular task. As for me, I had four final papers to deal with in the first semester. It was scary, but I tried to find the best solution to overcome sleepless nights. I dedicated one week of thorough work to one final paper. It took from three to four hours each day, but it was not so difficult. In general, I had four weeks to work on four final papers. At that time I could find free time to go to the gym, to meet with my friends, and enjoy the life as it is.

The second rule is additional to the first one, and it is more as a piece of advice. Even if you perfectly planned the first step, another problem may appear and spoil all your efforts. It would be better to draw your attention to the time of a day when you are going to write your paper. You should choose the time when nothing and nobody could reach you. Every student while doing his or her research should always remember that the appointed time they chose is for reading articles and writing a paper; and chatting with friends, drinking water, eating, sleeping, looking at your amazing face and body at the mirror, all these unexpected feelings of doing something else have to be postponed.

There is a substantial amount of rules to follow concerning this topic. The points mentioned above might be of a help to every student having difficulties with deadlines. Based on my experience, I can say that these two rules work great together to create safe, stress-free, and productive atmosphere of studying at NUGSE.

References

[Online image]. Retrieved January 14, 2017 from http://www.engage.franklin.edu