All posts by davidphilip

Political Commentary in Kazakhstan

Image result for espouse belief

I am often asked about the impression Kazakhstani citizens have of US politics these days. Here, from an academic English vocabulary quiz, come two answers to that question. In this task, the students needed to write a paragraph on a topic of their choice, using at least 5 of 9 provided vocab words (in bold).

The first:

In the egregious aftermath of the elections, the media are trying to nitpick the obscure ideas espoused by President Trump, who seems to adhere to all of the suggestions made by his advisor Steve Bannon, indicating that the president is malleable to the control of certain people.
nitpick (v.) To be concerned with or find fault with insignificant details

The second:

In the aftermath of the last presidential elections, the media found itself in a peculiar situation, with previously obscure publications such as Breitbart, adhering to the most extreme-right stance in politics, gaining popularity. In addition, the newly elected president, who espouses this conservative position, turned out to be malleable, often repeating what is said on the conservative channels, not nitpicking the information reported there.

And a third, just a bonus to remind me that my students are learning the big ideas I hope they’ll take with them into the workplace:

Espousing somebody’s obscure point of view without adhering to pertinent evidence may lead to egregious aftermath. This means that we have to meticulously nitpick every sentence and evidence provided by authors before supporting them.

Spring 2016: What’s new?

Dear students and readers,

The NU Writers Guild is ready to start another semester. We are welcoming two new cohorts, the MA 1st year group, and the MSc Inclusive Ed and School Leadership groups. With all the changes going on in the Kazakhstani education system, both in policy and practice, this is an exciting time to be working in research.

If you are new to the site, be sure to read the pages about how to participate and some blogging guidelines.

Here are a few updates to the site:

New categories

Authors should add a category label to each post, based on their cohort or topic of their writing. This allows the reader to find posts based on that category, as you can see in the site’s main menu. All participants are welcome to post in any category, and comment across the cohort groups. The new categories are Multilingual Education, Inclusive Education, School Leadership, and Thesis Writing.

NUGSE Research in Education

This semester we will be launching the first student-run academic journal at Nazarbayev University, NUGSE Research in Education. You can find the blog for the journal here, but you will also see news and updates on NUWG.  This journal is a great opportunity for students to become authors, peer reviewers and editors in the publication process. More details will be announced soon.

Alumni and Current Students

This is also the first year we have enrolled users that include alumni and current students. Hopefully, some of our alumni can keep in touch and stay involved by joining the discussions that our current students are having. Their experience in completing the NUGSE program, and then moving to the professional world (or on to a PhD or some other academic program), will be invaluable for our community. Don’t be a stranger!

Happy New Year, and here’s to the beginning of a bright and exciting new semester!

The Curious Incident of Chocolate at the Border Crossing

This is a story that the 2014-2015 MSc IE group wrote. It resurfaced today and I just had to share it somewhere. The underlined words are academic English vocabulary words. Enjoy!

You won’t believe what happened to me yesterday. I was coming back
to Astana from a trip, thinking that I would go through security unimpeded, when the border patrol asked for my documents.

It all started when I furnished my passport. The officer made an assertion
that my passport was fake, pointing out a subtle disparity in the photo and
my face. I thought he had noticed the glaring mistake in my visa, but
he was more focused on the picture. I cringed when he said, “step into
my office.”

The tenured officer and I were having a lurid time when we noticed the
computer stopped working. I called my best local friend, the unofficial
leader of my entourage, to come help me. My friend nonchalantly
agreed to come help.

My friend pushed his way through the congregation of people watching us. The officer looked at us and said in an amplified voice, “I don’t care
who your friend is! You’re not leaving here!”

We were excoriated by the officer and his colleagues, but that wasn’t
the strangest thing of the evening. My friend had an elaborate plan
to get me out of the mess I was in. The plan entailed distracting the
officers and running! My hands were trembling, but I wasn’t going to let
that hinder our escape.

Before we endeavored to run away, my friend placed a bar of Lindt
chocolate on the table. The officer changed his mood and began to eat it.

Finally, we succeeded to build rapport with the officials. I took my cherished passport and ran!

Teacher-parent collaboration: Living cats and dogs life?

By: Oxana Kirichok

The topic of teacher-parent collaboration has been interesting for me for many years as the research can reveal primary school teachers and primary school parents different perceptions of school-family partnership. I think that although the teachers and parents both claim that collaboration between them is essential for children’s learning, they still occupy competing positions and overcome the barriers. On the basis of revealed discrepancies a number of practical suggestions for early childhood educators and parents are provided to help the stakeholders to establish and maintain productive relationships.
I would like to analyze the primary school teachers and primary school parents perceptions of their relationships and make suggestions for early childhood educators and parents that will help them establish and maintain productive relationships.
The importance of establishing rapport with families and encouraging involvement in the daily operations of schooling has become common knowledge among early childhood professionals (Knop and Swick, 2007).Strong school-parent relationships causes better children’s academic achievement (Ryan, Adams,Gullotta, Weissberg, & Hampton, 2005).
Unfortunately, most literature describing parent involvement strategies take a schoolcentric view of parent involvement, which ignores the needs and perceptions of the parents we are encouraging to become involved (Lawson, 2008). It is indicated that parents are rarely consulted on important issues regarding their child’s schooling and school-family partnership (Lawson, 2008). Mann (2006) found that parents do indeed have different understandings of involvement in their children’s education suggesting that teachers acknowledge the need to communicate with parents regarding their perceptions of involvement so that teachers can use this knowledge when constructing avenues for parents to be involved and recognizing and valuing the ways that the parents are involved. Moreover, while teachers are more ‘‘school-based’’ in their thinking, parents have a broader view of their involvement. These divergent views of the nature of parent involvement and the role parents should play in the process of education can lead to conflict and continued misunderstanding (Knop and Swick, 2007).
I am positive to say thay early childhood educators need more practical and specific guidance for developing positive relationships and ideas for involving families in the community of the classroom.


Knop,H and Swick, K. How Parents Feel About Their Child’s Teacher/School:Implications for Early Childhood Professionals. Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 34, No. 4, February 2007 ( 2006). DOI: 10.1007/s10643-006-0119-6.

Lawson, M. A. (2003). School-family relations in context parent and teacher perceptions of parent involvement. Urban education, 38(1), 77-133.

Ryan, B., Adams, G., Gullotta, T., Weissberg, R. and Hampton,R., (Eds.) (2005). The family-school connection: Theory, research, and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Welcome students!

Here is a sample post to get us started this week. Check your emails for a picture tutorial about creating posts and tagging your post with appropriate Categories. If you are working with davidphilip, please choose Section 1 as your category. If you are working with anninastana, please select Section 2. This will help us organize and assess your writing. You will see these categories as tags on the main page if you just want to read writing by your cohort classmates.

Feel free to add pictures or links to videos. Be sure to add credits and citations for all external sources you use. This week, your goal is log in and make your first post. Remember to check the blogging guidelines and the syllabus for requirements.

Happy blogging!

Image credit:

Notification Overload

Some students have complained about getting a multitude of emails everyday, as WordPress is flooding their inboxes with notifications of new posts and comments. This is easy to fix.

1. Go to your account settings by clicking on your user icon in the top right corner of the screen.

2. Go to the Notifications tab, circled on the image below.

3. Change the Default Email Delivery to “Daily” or “Weekly” depending on how often you would like to receive an email from


Racism, Anonymity, and Education

This 20 minute episode on one of my favorite podcasts, Reply All, would be a great way to get some listening practice and think about how online environments can reflect and affect offline ones. Download free or listen online, and let us know in the comments what you think:

  • Is anonymity a good thing?
  • Have you experience racism or other hateful comments in educational environments?
  • How can students, professors, and bystanders change a negative, hateful environment?