All posts by gulzhaina13

Challenges of writing thesis

Thesis writing is a long journey which demands hard work and patience. In this journey, you have to have a clear idea and aim which will guide yours throughout during the whole process. In this blog post, I will try to share my assumptions, recent results, and difficulties which I am experiencing in this journey.

Firstly, let’s start with the challenges which I have in the thesis writing process.  The first problem is obviously connected with the finding appropriate resources which are directly relevant to your topic.  In the plethora of information, it is sometimes hard to select exact literature and it is time-consuming. Moreover, since our studies are devoted to Kazakhstani context, sometimes it is hard to find relevant information or previous study in our context.

The second problem is procrastination. Sometimes you just do not know how to start and what to write since the first step is always important. After several months of experience in thesis writing and the fight with procrastination, I come to the conclusion that the important step is just starting to write no matter which part or which paragraph. When you have something written in your paper you can analyze your ideas, make corrections, and gather similar ideas and parts.

One more problem in thesis writing is data collection process. In the theoretical part or in other parts you just summarize the experiences and results of other authors and you do not think about how they gathered such information. Moreover, when you describe your actions for ethical approval in written form it looks easy and smooth. However, when you go out and face the reality, you realize that nothing is easy and smooth as in your mind. During the data collection process, one problem can be with getting permission from principles or your expectation may do not coincide with a real situation, and sometimes participants may refuse from participation etc. Even the process of interviewing requires hard works and concentration. Therefore, the main advice here is to be ready for everything and do not make dreams since the real situation anyway will be completely different.

Overall, there are many other challenges which you can come across during this journey. All these problems teach your new things, enrich your experiences, and will be a good contribution to the formation of a good researcher. However, one important advice is never to give up!

 

 

 

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Review of the article “The Relevance of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in Public Management”

Abstract

This blog post is the review of the article “The Relevance of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in Public Management” by Joseph Tham. The blog post analyses the article’s structure, information is given in it, and content as well as it gives examples from the policy-making process in the Kazakhstani context in order to clarify the relevance of arguments given in the article.

Этот блог является обзором статьи «Актуальность разработки политики на основе фактических данных (EBPM) в общественном управлении» написанный Джозефа Тамом. В блоге анализируется структура статьи и содержание, а также приводятся примеры из процесса разработки политики в казахстанском контексте, чтобы прояснить значимость аргументов, приведенных в статье.

Бұл блог Джозеф Тэмам жазған «Мемлекеттік басқаруда EBPM-тың өзектілігі»  мақаласына шолу болып табылады. Блогта мақаланың құрылымы мен мазмұны талқыланған, сондай-ақ мақалада келтірілген дәлелдердің маңыздылығын түсіндіру үшін Қазақстан контекстіндегі саясатты әзірлеу үдерісінен мысалдар келтірілген.

 

The article “The Relevance of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in Public Management” by Joseph Tham is the review of the usage of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in policy-making process in three different countries including the USA, the UK, and Australia.  In general, the article analyzes the effectiveness of using EBPM, the implication for public management as well as various views towards it in these three countries.

Overall, the article is well-structured and easy to follow. It contains several chapters devoted to the particular theme. On the one hand, it makes it clear and structured but on the other hand, it looks like the simple list of ideas without analyses and synthesis.  For instance, the usage of EBPM in three countries is written separately in three paragraphs and it will be better to add one more paragraph in which the author analyzes the situation in these three countries by comparing and contrasting evidence and comes to the consensus.

One more idea for improving the article is connected with the last paragraph which is devoted to the situation in Kazakhstan. In the Kazakhstani context, EBPM is a new phenomenon and is not used widely in the policy-making process. Therefore, it is clear that there is the shortage of evidence related to the EBPM and as the result; the author wrote a short review by using available information. Moreover, the author gives some recommendations for the implementation of EBPM in Kazakhstani context. As it was mentioned above, it will be better to give a more practical recommendation based on the experiences mentioned above three countries highlighting strong and weak sides in the usage of EBPM in the policymaking.

As a part of governmental institutions, the education system is considered to be one of the important sectors which formulate the frameworks for all levels of society. Therefore, the usage of EBPM in the education system is important in order to make educational policies more effective and successful. Unfortunately, many policies in the education system fail because of the several reasons. One of the main reasons is connected with the shortage of evidence and the luck of pre-preparation in the implementation process. For example, in the Kazakhstani context, one of the reforms initiated by the MoES is e-learning project is criticized widely.  E-learning is a large-scale state project included in the State Program of Development of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011 – 2020 years. Its main goal of the project is to ensure equal access for all participants in the educational process to the best educational resources and technologies. Initially, the implementation of E-learning in the education system was divided into two parts. The first part of the programme contains 2011- 2015. However, according to the statistics of the national website of e-learning in Kazakhstan, the first part of the project did not reach intended indicators and there was a mismatch between target numbers and real situation. In addition, Kenzhebayev and Dalayeva (2014) state that some teacher of schools where e-learning system was introduced faced with challenges such as double filling the documentation: the electronic journals and the school journals. From this example, it can be seen that the mistakes made at the beginning of the projects had an impact on the whole implementation process. Therefore, it is important also use EBPM in the policy-making process in the education system. Moreover, the analyses of situation before the implementation of the policy can help avoid possible challenges or show if it works or not.

In conclusion, overall, the article is clear and informative since it gives important information about EBPM in several contexts. However, these are some points which need further development such as the comparison and synthesis of situations in the different context and giving more practical recommendations and coming to one conclusion after the review of all contexts. In general, the problem raised in the article can be applied and is relevant to the education system too since the policy-making process in the education system also needs EBPM in order to make it more effective.

 

 

 

References

MoES, (2012). Concept of e-learning in Kazakhstan’s education system: the first results, its introduction into the education system. Retrieved from: http://www.aio.kz/files/13pdf.pdf

Кenzhebayev, G., Baidildina, S., Dalayeva, T. (2012). Problems of development of e-Learning content in historical education on the republic of Kazakhstan. International Perspectives on Education. BCES Conference Books. Vol.10. Retrieved from http://bces.conference.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/bces.conference.book.vol.10.20

 

Multilingualism and society

multilingual_reditshutterstock

photo credits: https://www.euractiv.com/section/languages-culture/opinion/the-european-language-cloud-or-how-to-enable-a-multilingual-europe/

 

In our globalized world, nowadays, language diversity is a well-spread phenomenon which can be found in many societies. In one society or country, more than one language can exist officially or non-officially by making it multilingual. Apparently, there rise questions “what is the relationship between societies and multilingualism? What are the main reasons for the emergence of multilingualism in the society? What challenges and benefits multilingualism can bring to the society? In addition, our Kazakhstani society also is not out of the box since in our society there are more than one hundred nationalities and ethnic groups with their languages. Thus, in this blog, I will try to analyze the role of multilingualism in the society; its benefits and challenges as well as the reasons for its emergence.

Multilingualism is an umbrella term since different authors define it variously. However, the main definition, in relation to the society, can be the existence and the usage of more than two languages in the society.

In terms of the reasons for the spread of multilingualism, we can highlight globalization, historical and political changes, geography, and immigration. The well-spread reason is immigration of people from one place to another since they bring with themselves their languages which enrich the language diversity in the society.  Another reason for the development of multilingualism in the society can be the educational purposes. Education can be one of the reasons for the introduction of foreign languages which also contribute to the language diversity in the society. One clear example is the English language which is becoming the language of science and international communication. In our country, also the introduction of trilingual education is directly connected with the purpose to get access to the international science and education world through English.

Regarding the benefits and challenges of multilingualism, firstly, it will be beneficial for enhancing language repertoires of the members of the society. Moreover, through languages, people can get acquainted with the cultures of others which led to the social cohesion and mutual respect of each other. One more benefit is connected with economic conditions since the knowledge of several languages gives an opportunity to be competitive and in-demand in the labor market.  However, there are also some drawbacks of multilingualism such as the dominance of one language over another or the legal status of the languages.

Overall, multilingualism is the emerging phenomenon in our reality. The language diversity in the societies is constructed by several reasons starting from globalization and ending up with immigration. Moreover, it can be beneficial for one society, while, others treat it as a problem. However, I assume that its benefits overweight drawbacks. So, what do you think? Is the multilingualism an asset to the society or does it cause more problems?

 

The NIS conference: reflection

The main purpose of any scientific conference is to provide personal and professional development for its participants and speakers, to share with new ideas, as well as to give a chance to meet people who are “stars” in this field. I can firmly say that all these aims were reached in the NIS conference which has been in this week.

When I studied in bachelor’s degree for me all scientific conferences were associated with boring, vague meetings where people are forced to participate beyond their desire. However, after being accepted to the Master’s degree, my attitude to the conferences started to change. I assume that there are two reasons which impacted on the change in my attitude: the first reason is that I understood the importance of science not only for theory but for practical usage, while the second reason is connected with my self-awareness of being the member of this scientific world.  I started to realize that from such meetings a person can get a huge experience, new ideas, and even an inspiration.

Regarding the NiS conference, I liked everything starting from the organization and speakers to scientific significance of the conference. The most unforgettable moment was the speeches of two foreign educators from Finland and Singapore. Both of them showed the excellent examples of presentation skills which have to possess each professional educator. The contact with the audience, relevant jokes and personal stories which is successfully integrated into the theme of presentation, simple but comprehensive visual aids, even singing songs all these aspects of a presentation made the unusual atmosphere. I deem that particularly these skills and such attitude lack in our context not only among scientists but among teachers who work in different levels of education.

In conclusion, each experience which we face during our life facilitates the professional or personal development. From exploring others practices and experiences we can be inspired or change our way of thinking. As it says “practice makes perfect”, therefore, the most important thing is to go ahead even it is small steps.

 

What is the recipe of success at school?

 

Education is an important part of our life. Through good education, people can reach success and improve the quality of life. Getting knowledge usually starts from childhood even from birth. Moreover, most of the researchers confirm that knowledge which we get in childhood considerably influence our future by shaping our identity and intelligence. However, sometimes due to some circumstances people cannot get qualified education or guidelines in childhood or in preschool level. The episode of the podcast from Freakonomics radio discusses several studies devoted school and teaching reforms for increasing students’ levels of knowledge.  By listening to this podcasts I get a lot of interesting information and food for thought, therefore I will add some ideas about these issues.

The first guests in radio interview were researchers from Chicago. They conducted experiment in public school in poor areas of Chicago suburb by investigating parent impact on children’s’ achievements in school. During the experiment, they wanted to focus on parents’ training in order to increase children’s literacy level by organizing parents’ academy. During the experiment, they pay money for parents depending on the success of their children at school and their own in training. As the result, they saw good improvement in children’s school achievement. However, there was some racial discrepancy in the result. The researchers noticed that experiment worked good for Hispanic and white parents, while regarding afro American parents there were not change. In contrast, research conducted by another group about the influence of TV cartoon on children’s education found out those afro American children showed good results at school during the experiment.

One more research depicted in the podcast was about the influence of parents’ language competency on children’s literacy level in early childhood by Dana Suskind. Dana states that education starts not from the first day of school but the first day of birth, therefore, children’s language environment has a great impact on their level of literacy and success at school.

The most interesting research for me personally was about the impact of vision problem on school performance in China by Paul Glewwe and Albert Park. Researchers conducted a study in the poor province of China called Gansu. During the research they found out that 10 to 15 percent of the students at the school have the problem with vision, however, only 2% of them have eyeglasses. Thus, they do not see blackboard clearly. Then researchers gave them free eyeglasses and observe their performance over the year. After the experiment, there were some changes in performances of students.

Overall, one common thing for all researchers was that social economic background and parents’ level of education play a crucial role in their performance at school. Children’s future success in any field strongly depends on their parents, financial condition of the family, and environment. In our country, we also are witnessing the difference between children’s level of education from rural and urban areas. Such discrepancy is a big issue and may cause a gap in society since students from urban areas or high-income families are provided with better education and have more chances for bright future, whereas, rural area students or from socially vulnerable families cannot get the qualified education. I assume that one solution to this issue is to increase the quality of education at public school and provide with a motivation that facilitates the success in education. What do you think?  What solution can you propose for this problem?

photo credits: http://www.ohbabymagazine.com/toddler/to-preschool-or-not-to-preschool/

The role of research in our life

 

 

When we hear first time the word a research or a researcher, the majority of us automatically imagine a professor in the scientific laboratory holding equipment.  This is a well-spread association shaped by society and social media. However, a research is not a narrow concept which is limited only by particular field or subject. For each person depending on his or her background, experience, and knowledge it can vary. For instance, when children start to learn to speak and walk, in some extent they conduct their own research about his or her surroundings, while researchers from high institutions investigate the same society from their perspectives.

So, what is the role of research in life?

In general, the main purpose of conducting research is to find answers to questions in which we are interested. A detailed examination and analysis of issues from various perspectives give us an opportunity to find the core and possible solutions of the certain problem. From the scientific point of view, a research starts from clarifying the research topic, main questions, purpose, and significance. The next important part of it is a review of previously conducted researches on this topic in order to find a gap or similar finding, while for non-scientific research there are no rules as well as limitations.

As a student of MA, last year I transformed my subjective way of researching society into the scientific one. I learned how to look at the question from the scientific angle and how to get objective results by analyzing data. Thanks to this knowledge and guidelines, now I have a clear idea what to research and how to conduct it properly in order to get results which contribute to the society.

Sum up, for each person a research associates with different concept and ideas. We always investigate our surrounding world in order to get answers. No matter if it is scientific research based on strict rules or just simple observation by an amateur, the main point is to reach an initial purpose and to enrich our knowledge.

photo credits to http://msass.case.edu/category/research/

Mixed school or single-sex schools

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One of the heated discussions in education is related to the single-sex schools versus mixed schools. Many educational experts underpin the idea that girls and boys have different physiological, social and learning needs, while others believe that by using the appropriate approach they can complete each other and reach success. In Kazakhstani context this issue is not topical as our education system has more important problems connected with infrastructure and quality of education, however, we shouldn’t neglect this problem two.

First objectives against mixed schools are related with co-work of students. It is commonly believed that girls tend to work in collaboration, while boys prefer to dominate in the discussions and group works. Therefore, boys can discourage girls to work in groups or disrupt their learning process. Some research found out gender differences in responding to the changes in temperature of the classroom. The results revealed that girls prefer warms environment for learning, whereas, boys simply fall asleep in warm temperate and need a cooler condition for staying concentrated. Thus, in order to prepare adequate conditions for both of them for learning it is crucial to teach them separately. One more belief is that co-education can cause the early relationship between opposite genders and as the result; it can influence the quality of education negatively.

In terms of mixed schools, the main concerns are that schools don’t give only theoretical education but have to teach students to socialize with others and be ready for adult life and single sex schools cannot cover all these requirements. There is also a threat that students from single-sex schools can be taught in the unrealistic environment, which may cause an impediment in the adaptation process to the society. Critics also claim that girls from single-sex schools are in most cases emotional and it can impact their future career, while, boys may have the problem to network and cooperate with opposite gender.

In our county, in general, the majority of schools are mixed except a few single-sex schools such as the nets of KTL. As we mentioned above, nowadays this issue is not actual as before solving other crucial problems we cannot consider about teaching separately by gender. Although in the near future this question can appear in our education system too, therefore, what is your position about it?
Credits to http://ghostwritings.net/tag/single-sex-schools/

PPT in education

Teaching-PowerPoint-Template

Recently, in the classroom discussion when we raised the question of the usage of power point presentation in education, a couple of the students proposed the issue of finding alternative ways which can replace PPT. In our presentation, we focused on drawbacks and benefits of power point presentation and as the result, the majority of students highlighted the disadvantages of PPT rather than advantages. Therefore, in this post, I will try to clarify why PPT has more drawbacks and to give alternative ways which can be used instead of it.

Regarding drawbacks of power point presentation, the first problem related to the technical issues which can disrupt the work of it.  As PPT is done in a computer or other technical devices, in some cases because of computer viruses and the lack of electricity teachers can lose all their material for lessons. Secondly, in the PPT there is not a function for maintaining author’s rights and the plagiarism problem is not considered into account. Therefore, if you post your presentation on the Internet, anyone can use it without permission.

El-ikhsan (2010) also in his blog gives several reasons why PPT should be banned in universities. According to his article, he claims that PPT in education discourages students’ complex thinking skill and makes them lazy as students rely on only bullet points in slides and don’t read the whole material.

As the result of all these claims, we can come to the conclusion that the usage of PPT in education has more cons rather than pros. Thus, here appears a need to find an alternative way to replace it. I deem that there are two ways to solve this issue: to use other programs which have more developed functions or to come back to the traditional methods.

In terms of the first option, there are a large number of other programs such as PowToon, Keynote, Prezentit etc which have functions for the creation of videos or with developed transition capacity.  The next alternative will be to go back to the traditional methods. The majority of oppositions of PPT support the idea to use methods such as using music or videos, paper-based materials, and contact with the audience during the lessons.

To sum up, the usage of PPT in education is the controversial issue and people have the different attitude towards it. Regarding me, I found that it has more disadvantages than advantages. What is your opinion regarding this issues and do you know other alternatives for PPT?

 

Credits to:

http://www.myfreeppt.com/free-powerpoint-templates/business/

https://penalido.wordpress.com/the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-teaching-by-using-microsoft-powerpoint/

 

 

 

 

 

Shala-Kazakh phenomenon

 

Хочу сені, хочу полюбить,

Жаным сени не могу забыть,

Қайта қайта думаю тебя,

Шын ғашыкпын, че там говорить.

These are the lyrics of modern Kazakh song, the name of which can be translated as “I want to love you or Shala Kazakh kyz”. This song is performed by a man and a woman as a conversation between them. The main idea of the songs is the love story between the man who speaks in Kazakh language and the woman who doesn’t know the Kazakh language properly and is considered as “shala Kazakh”. Therefore, in the song are used Kazakh and Russian languages by mixing them in the sentence and word structures. Currently, in Kazakhstani society, the number of such songs is growing and they are getting their popularity among youth. Moreover, in society the usage of ‘shala kazakh’ language is becoming popular not only in informal speech but also in TV programmers and in official channels, in addition, some celebrities in their speech mix Kazakh and Russian languages. Therefore, below we will discuss this issue.

Firstly, coming back to the song, generally, the whole song is a mixture of Kazakh and Russian languages. The exception is the first part which sings the man but in other parts, he uses style shifting in order to communicate with his partner. According to Labov (as cited in Jaspers, 2010) “style shifting is speakers’ capacity to change something about their way of speaking was related to social parameters and to situations where these parameters mattered” (p. 8). In this case, the man also mixes languages in order to feel himself on the same wave with the woman.  As it is given in the song the woman uses “shala Kazakh” language. In the song can be found the language mixing in sentence and word structure levels, for instance, in the sentence “хочу сені, хочу полюбить” (want you, want to love) three words in Russian while one from Kazakh language or in the phrase “жігіт молодой” (a man young) has N+Ad structure while in Kazakh language usually is used Ad+N structure for such phrases. Regarding sentence structure, “Не по теме сойлемеші” (out of theme don’t speak) sentence starts in Russian and ends with Kazakh verb as in Kazakh a verb stays always at the end of the sentence. In general, this song contains a hundred word while 59 of them in Kazakh language and 41 in Russian respectively. From this proportion, it can be clearly noticed that this song represents “Shala Kazakh” phenomena in Kazakhstani society by completely mixing two languages. Moreover, the implicit and hidden meaning of this song is to mock young population who doesn’t speak in pure Kazakh and mixes it with Russian. However, the main purpose is not only criticizing but to encourage them to speak in pure Kazakh and to save their national identity.

Unfortunately, in the recent years, such examples are appearing frequently not only in songs and TV shows but because of such phenomena speaking in “shala Kazakh” becoming popular. For instance, recently in Astana was meeting of “shala Kazakhs”.

Currently, in the Kazakhstani society “shala Kazakh” phenomenon is a heated discussion. In most cases, it is not just a joke but the serious problem for Kazakhs who don’t know their native language in high level. Thus, in society, it is associated with negative interpretation. I deem that such separation doesn’t solve the issue but makes it worse. Therefore, we have to support and to encourage each other to speak purely.

 

Reference

Jaspers, J. (2010). Style and Styling. Language and Variation (pp. 177-204).

E-learning reform

In the modern educational system, the role of computer technologies and digital educational resources is constantly increasing. In 2012, the President of Kazakhstan in his Annual Address “Strategy of Kazakhstan till 2050” highlighted needs in the modernization of teaching methods and in actively developing the online educational system (Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy, 2012). In 2011 the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan approved national program “State Program of Education Development for 2011-2020” which initiated a national E-learning project. The aim of the project was “ensure an equal access for all participants of the educational process to the best educational resources and technologies” (Fimyar, Yakavets, Bridges 2014). However, the initial plan of government and the real situation in the implementation of the project in the educational system of Kazakhstan according to the current statistic indicators mismatch. Here appear questions: Why did this project fail? What were the main obstacles in the realization of reform? Was it just the waste of time and money? Below I will try to answer to these questions.

Firstly, according to the statistics of the national website of e-learning in Kazakhstan, in the beginning of the project, the target number of educational institutions where this project should be realized and the reached number were almost similar. However, starting from 2013 the discrepancy between target number and intended number of started to expand. For instance, in 2014 the intended number of educational organizations where e-learning project implemented should be 2824, while in reality, the number of institutions reached only 1139. Similarly, in 2015 the target number was 4135 and the implementation took part only in 1159 educational institutions. In other words, the first part of the project wasn’t realized in a proper way. So, what were the reasons of fail of the reform: finance, equipment or inappropriate planning?

In terms of the infrastructure of the educational institutions, even though they have all essential equipment such as electronic backboards, linguistic classes, and projectors teachers used them rarely and didn’t have the desire to use them as there always were problems with getting permission.

Secondly, the most important problem in the realization of the e-learning is finance. Most of the people consider that e-learning is the very expensive project as it covers not only the infrastructures of the educational institutions also the preparation of electronic books, staff training, and the invention of different programs. Therefore, in some sense educational system of Kazakhstan cannot invest such excessive project. At the beginning of the project the government spent a great amount of money for this project, but as we mentioned above even the first part of the e-learning couldn’t reach target percentage. Moreover, in 2015 the government temporary stopped to invest the project due to the finance crisis.

Sum up, E-learning project was one of the reforms which couldn’t reach indicated target. The majority of people consider it as the waste of money from government’s budget and it served as one of the reasons for skeptical attitude towards other educational reforms such as trilingual education, education autonomy etc. However, we shouldn’t be the pessimist because of only one project but vice versa we must get a lesson from it and don’t repeat such mistakes in the future.

 

References

Nazarbayev, N. (2012). Kazakhstan 20150 Strategy: New Political Course of the Established  State. Annual State of the nation Address. Astana, December 2012.

Fimyar, O., Yakavets, N., Bridges, D. (2014). Educational reform in Kazakhstan: The contemporary policy agenda. In D. Bridges (Ed.). Educational reform and Internationalisation. The case of School Reform in Kazakhstan. (pp.53-68). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Image credits to https://www.dokeos.com/elearning-price-can-sell-elearning-expertise/