In one of our courses we discussed how we chose our professions. It emerged that most of the choices were related to UNT and parents’ wills. Nobody followed a dream, all of us had to face the reality.
My groupmates and I did not think about future professions till the time of UNT preparation. I chose geography because I could not imagine myself being related to other subjects and because geography was relatively easy and interesting for me. After the results of UNT I had an opportunity to choose between tourism and geography as a science to get a grant and I chose geography. However, before I was thinking to choose marketing or state and local governance. My groupmates had similar experience. That is how UNT limits career choices for those who wants get an education for free.
Some of my groupmates were influenced by their parents. Parents care about career stability and prestige of chosen profession. Many parents do not heed the words of their children and choose careers themselves. I heard many times from my peers that their parents were against their choices and imposed own preferences. Overdependence on parents is in our mentality, I guess, and some people are not able to make serious decisions without parents’ permission even when they are adults.
Now I think what if we all choose careers according to our dreams and hobbies or should we be realists? In my opinion the answer is that we should be realists who also are not afraid of their dreams. I have noticed that our young generation start to think about their future and what they would like to do earlier than we did, and it is great!
Recently the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in his speech supported the transition to five-day week in schools and suggested to combine some subjects. Earlier it was told that due to 5-day week transition school year will be extended by ten days. However, many parents showed disagreement in social media saying that their children will suffer from hot weather during that period of extension. In this light, I think the decision to combine subjects will have a number of benefits.
School subjects are too specific. Generally, they can be divided into main categories: mathematics, science, social studies, and languages. Why not to combine algebra with geometry, physics with chemistry and biology in earlier grades, geography with history, Russian language with Russian literature. I heard many times people saying that in schools they are taught unnecessary things not applicable in real life which also can be immediately forgotten after school graduation. For example, many refer to too complex formulas and problems in algebra and too many facts and dates in history. If to combine subjects, only key knowledge and skills can be taught and hours per week dedicated to the subjects separately can be slightly decreased.
If subjects programs are integrated, students will be able to have more holistic understanding of things taught in school and will be less likely to get separate chunks of knowledge. Students will be able to make connections, identify patterns and develop skills not just knowledge. For instance, in geography there are themes like ethnic composition of countries, and if geography and history are integrated, students will be able to understand why particular countries have certain ethnic groups from history.
Optimization of school subjects is a necessary action if we want schoolchildren to have five-day week and not be too overloaded. In comparison to that measure, school year extension and reduction of holidays seems not to be a better solution to me, what do you think?
I applied for a master degree at Nazarbayev University because I felt that I need to grow as a professional, to learn something new, to look for opportunities which exist beyond my surroundings. I am definitely reaching those goals and enjoying my student life. However, I am also noticing the things that I did not expected and I would not be able to notice them if I was not a student. Particularly, I have started to reflect on how I teach.
I have three years of teaching experience but I did not realize how being a student yourself can make you think about effective teaching. I observe how my instructors structure the lesson and deliver the content and I see how my groupmates and I react to it. In some cases I notice positive atmosphere and attitude, relevance of every assignment and activity, clear goals and diversity on the sessions. When I see that I immediately think that I should try it on my lessons and take those faculty members as role models in teaching. I enjoy those lessons as a student but also as a teacher.
There are also the cases when I am not satisfied with how a session went or how a particular professor or instructor act. Sometimes I and my groupmates feel that we are uncomfortable or bored or dissatisfied during our sessions. Professors might be very good at their areas of expertise but not all of them are good teachers and sometimes it has an effect on our study. I have noticed that I make the same mistakes as my instructors or professors. Sometimes I overuse a particular type of activity, presentation on posters for example, or ask too many questions from students, or give a task which is not very relevant and important. I could understand it only when I became a student myself.
It is interesting to be a student again after being a teacher for a long time. I am glad that I learnt many lessons from this experience. What are the things that you did not expect to learn while being a student?