All posts by seitbayev

I have a dream…

A magnificent speech, delivered in front of Lincoln Memorial, brought many people hope for a bright future. Now, a multimillion country enjoys the outcomes of that event. “I have a dream…” of Martin Luther King has become an important phrase in my life for about last 10 years. It has seemed so sacred to me that I believe if I start my dreaming with these words, all I want will come true. In this post I would like to share one of my biggest dreams with you.

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http://www.toyota-4runner.org

I have a dream that one day I will wake up at dawn full of wonderful feeling toward a coming day. That day is going to be the beginning of my great journey around Kazakhstan. It will be a car journey with the purpose to discover the vast land inherited from great ancestors, to see how people live in each corner of Kazakhstan. No region will be left untouched. This trip will open untold secrets of mysterious steppe that conceals history of centuries, millenniums and is a witness of the rebirth of independent Kazakh country.

I have a dream to visit Kokshetau with its Burabai, the place where Kazakh Khan Ablai hoisted his flag of his statehood. I will fall in love with the masterpiece of nature that I will see there. Fresh air and the smell coming from forests of Petropavl and Qostanai will fill my lungs with energy to move forward towards discoveries.

I have a dream to see the treasury of nomads – west, which is now the firm foundation of our country’s economy. The white peak of Aqtobe will blind my eyes, leading me to Oral. There I will be waved by waters of Great Zhaiq that sail me to Atyrau. I will stand on the place where Europe and Asia border, being proud of how huge my Motherland is. Then, the light of Aqtau’s lighthouse will illuminate my way, making sure that I am not get lost. I will bow my head to the old Caspian Sea thanking for its beauty.

I have a dream to walk along the riverside of Syrdariya in the city of Qyzylorda, the second capital of the former soviet Kazakhstan. Moving south-east, Turkestan will tell me its story of glory and sorrow of the holy land. Shining Shymkent will take me to visit the city. Amazed with the diversity of population living there I will bless God for the peace in our homes. Then, I will speed to greet two thousand year old ancient Taraz. It will capture me by the love stories of Aisha Bibi and Qarakhan.

I have a dream to go up to Koktobe and watch how Almaty sleeps. I will go to the central square to honor the heroes of 1986 Zheltoqsan, who against long odds fought for independence of Kazakhstan. Taldyqorgan will call me to immerse into the waters of seven rivers.

I have a dream to visit Semey, the home of Abai, deeply learning every single word of his edifications. Oskemen will be my next destination. I will not dare to continue my journey not seeing Altai Mountains and Katon Qaragai national park. Pavlodar will be my terminal on my further way.

I have a dream to drive to the energy womb of our land which is famous Qaragandy. I will meet and have long conversations with people of the city, who are credited as very hardworking.

Finally, I have a dream to come back to my new home, the country’s favorite – Astana. I will be back with a lot of positive emotions, satisfied curiosity and a pile of unforgettable memories put in gigabytes of photos.

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Soft power in education

Who of us has not dreamt to study at top universities abroad, living there for the study period, experience other cultures and get quality education at last? All of this is not impossible today. There are a lot of scholarship programs, state funded and not, available around the globe. Academic mobility is flourishing having students move back and forth. What is the other side of the medal?

In 2002 Oxford University was pressured by “big daddies” of British government to enroll Caddafi’s (former Libyan leader) son as a PhD student (Matthews, 2012). However, it was in vain. Oxford resisted claiming that the Colonel’s offspring was not academically eligible. Seems like someone wanted to get access to Libyan mineral resources and monetary rewards.

This case shows how education, higher education in particular, is closely tied to politics. It is considered a powerful tool of influence along with business and culture. Education is used by countries as a soft power. First “soft power” was coined by Joseph Nye, dean of school of government at Harvard University, which means the policy of creating a positive image of a country “to obtain the outcomes it wants in the world politics because other countries… want to follow it” (Nye, 2005, p.12).

hamptonroads.com
http://www.hamptonroads.com

It is the alternative to hard power, which implies force and war. The role of soft power in education is to educate international students cultivating values and views of a host country in them. Countries- “giants” seek for the ways of getting more resources, trust and support of other less powerful countries. This phenomenon is apparent in economically developed countries such as USA, UK, Canada, China, Germany, France, Japan and some others which are attracting more and more overseas students. These countries are the giants in terms of share of international students studying there (UNESCO, 2014). The students create strong communities, networks of like-minders who in future result in strong lobbying forces of external agents in their own countries. According to unofficial data the prime-minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who studied in China, performs balanced policy with our eastern neighbor. This probably explains why he is so favored by Chinese government.

Apparently, soft power is a powerful tool to exercise influence in global politics. It can bring “dividends in terms of economic and geo-political benefits” (Knight, 2014). The question is – which side?

References:

Knight, J. (2014, January 31). The limits of soft power in higher education. University World News. Retrieved from: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140129134636725

Matthews, D. (2012, February 2). Sway: WikiLeaks, universities and ‘soft power’. THE. Retrieved from: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/sway-wikileaks-universities-and-soft-power/418884.article

Nye, J. (2005). Soft power and higher education. Harvard University. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/soft-power-and-higher-education

UNESCO (2014). Global flow of tertiary-level students. http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-student-flow-viz.aspx

Forms of teacher culture.

Schools are unique places, where different cultures exist. While students have their own cultures within the class or school community, there are also several forms of culture among teachers. Hargreaves (1994) highlights four forms of teacher culture: individualism, collaboration, contrived-collegiality and balkanization. Each of these types is quite different from each other and have different impact on teachers’ practices.

collaboratepuzzle1
http://www.shawadmin.com

Collaborative culture is a goal that all educators attempt to establish, as it brings positive changes to teacher and school community (Hargreaves, 1994). It serves as a “bridge between school improvement and teacher development” (p.186). Teachers are engaged in an open exchange of experience through team work, coaching and other activities. In this type of culture it is much easier to make changes to improve the school outcomes.

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http://www.ehow.co.uk

On the other hand, the rest three are less favorable for change. They are the cultures that are considered to have negative affect on teachers: individualism, contrived-collegiality and the most extreme one is balkanization. Contrived collegiality is a form of teacher culture in which the schools or external authorities impose their ideas to schools. As an example of contrived-collegiality can be set of activities such seminars, coaching, group works, in which teachers are engaged. The difference between contrived-collegiality and collaborative culture is that the former is administratively regulated and mandatory.

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http://www.convictionsoffaith.com

Individualism, as the title says, is about isolation among staff. This culture does not facilitate school development as collaboration does.

bal
http://www.youviewed.com

The last one is balkanization. It is to say when teachers create isolated subgroups within a bigger community, for example primary teachers’ groups or subject based groups. It is not to mean that individual work of separate groups leads to balkanization. Balkanization causes negative consequences for students’ and teachers’ development. Teachers within balkanized culture are strongly isolated and do not usually participate in other groups. Here, teachers’ professional development occurs within the limits of the cultural group.

All these give me food for thought. The standing out one is how can we change cultures in our schools, which are predominantly individualistic or balkanized to collaborative?

References:

Hargreaves, A. (1995). Changing teachers, changing times: Teachers’ work and culture in the postmodern. London: Cassell.

Office wanted?

coworking-4
http://www.hubsarasota.com

This post may seem like advertising but I still think it is something that is worth sharing with.

This is definitely another new wave of innovation coming to our country. One of the first problems that beginning young businessmen can face is probably rent of office, of course, besides start-up money, personnel and business planning. The problem is not that we have a shortage of office space. The market offers a pretty good assortment to satisfy the needs of even a very demandable client. The thing is price and location. To meet these demands the concept of co-working has come to change our traditional understanding of the nature of work place.

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http://www.coworkingdesign.com                                Coworking in Astana

 What is this innovation about? Co-working is a large open space that contains many smaller offices. Comparing with traditional office centers, co-working has many advantages. First, in terms of finance. It is much more affordable even for those who has a small capital. Usually, companies that offer the service provide their clients with internet access, conference rooms, spaces with furniture to take a nap during a work day and many other facilities. What is surprising is that all of these are included into a monthly payment. Second, in terms of location. Since the co-working centers occupy thousands of square meters, many people find it beneficial to make connections, find partners not going out of the building. Your office is going to be located among many other companies with minimum of physical barriers such as walls. Traditional concrete walls are replaced by maximum of glass walls. Finally, access to the office. The access is 24/7. Sounds like “work when you want to”.

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http://www.behance.net

Recently I found out that such place was opened in Astana. According to official site this is the second largest co-working in the world. I hope that such places will help beginning businessmen, especially young people, to have a good start in their own business and breakthrough ideas will be born to serve our country’s development.


Astana coworking:

http://multispace.kz

I wish teacher status raised as dollar did…

images
http://imgkid.com

It was a nice Saturday evening, after a hard work week when my brother invited me to join his company of friends to play billiard. I thought it was a great idea, to go out and relax, leaving all thoughts related to work, students, home works and lessons at home. I was introduced to others because I had never appeared before them till that day. Here we are playing, chatting, getting to know each other. One guy wearing stylish sunglasses with a cigarette, filling the room with smoke, came up to me. And everything started… Having asked how my things were going and other regular stuff, he showed interest in my occupation. And… In a moment I found myself surrounded by my brother’s friends, guys playing billiard stopped it, those in back of the room stepped forward. I thought to myself “I just said I am a teacher, what’s wrong?”

Of course, upon graduation from the university I was already aware of the problem of the low status of teachers, and what attitudes people (especially young man) had towards teaching profession. So was I aware of the shortage of male teachers in schools, but it is a different story. To be honest I understood the reaction of my “billiard partners”.  This kind of situations are the lessons to learn from. Unfortunately, we have to admit that we are all responsible for the current state of things with teachers and teaching profession.

The role of media in this is important. If mass media are one of the means of propaganda, we are on a wrong track… Sometimes chasing shocking news to increase their ratings, they “add fuel to the fire”, worsening the situation. In everyday life we can see what image of a teacher mass media build, often it is negative, presented in the form of incidents. Sad to say, media cannot or do not want to understand what kind of seeds in people’s minds they trigger to grow. If seeds are watered by unhealthy teacher images, the consequences of it are not optimistic. It seems like a hindrance for the government, given the fact that the state officials have made much efforts in attempt of promoting and increasing the status of teaching profession. Rather, media could serve for the sake of the country and society by launching different inspiring projects, as the US did producing movies about teachers.

It is already a beaten topic, the low status of teachers, but is worth to keep talking about it as the problem persists. The desired goal is to make our society understand how vital the role of teachers is, because they are the main agents in developing the country’s human capital. If we manage to do so, success and prosperity are just around the corner.