All posts by gulzhaina13

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to teach the brain to work?

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When I was a schoolgirl I had a problem with learning by heart poems and remembering numbers. Even though I repeated hundred times I couldn’t cope with these tasks. One day my mother as a medically qualified person gave me an advice: read poems several times before going to bed and let your brain work instead of you, in the morning you can easily retell them. Amazingly it worked and works till today. Recently I remembered this story and started to interest in the brain’s work and to my mind came a question: how to teach the brain to work?

In fact, my question itself sounds weirdly and absurdly because you can assume that why we need to teach it if it works itself twenty-four hours for a day without any intervention. My answer is for the effective usage of the brain to educational purposes.

For the several centuries, the humanity has known that a brain is a place where all our thinking processes are managed and are analyzed. It is the most powerful computer in the world. However, we also know that we use only three percent of it from its potential power. Here raises a question: how to accelerate other parts of it and to use our brain for hundred percent and to become “mega brain”.  Above mentioned method which I use is only simple one. But scientists by conducting researches revealed several factors which can impact on the work of the brain. One of scientist, who gives several interesting theories regarding this issue is Russian doctor Tatyana Chernigovskaya.  She underpins the theory that the main factors in the brain development are art and classic music. According to her suggestion nowadays people tend to think that the art and classic music are “desserts” which you eat if you wish. Apparently, they don’t pay enough attention to them.  Although, art and music are crucial parts of the brain’s development process which trigger to work it effectively. Our education system isn’t exception in the underestimate of music and art’s power. Unfortunately, these two subjects in most Kazakhstani schools also are considered less prestigious and neglected in most cases. Most of musicians and artists don’t have the aspiration to work at schools because of low salary and job condition.

Maybe the reason for the disparagement of these subjects is the lack of awareness and information about it or the deficiency of research regarding this theme. Notwithstanding these challenges, it isn’t late to start thinking and using these two subjects effectively in education in order to elevate brain’s work, otherwise, we can lose a great chance in the learning process.

Photo credits:  http://www.enhancingcare.com/?p=374

Who are we in this country?

Recently, I have read a thought-provoking citation “don’t know the language of living country can only a guest, an idiot or an occupant”. For the first sight it seems like a joke but each joke has a piece of truth. If I am not mistaken in our country the state language is Kazakh but in reality in society even couple of days I don’t hear any word in Kazakh needless to say a speech. So, according to the citation, who are we?

After getting independence the usage of Kazakh language in society became one of the crucial problems in country. Obviously, re-establishment of Kazakh language in society was not easy task taking into consideration the seventy-year control of the Soviet Union. Except the historical background the government had to take into account the ethnic diversity, minority and majority groups in Kazakhstan before establishing the language policy. Therefore, even now, after twenty years of independence, the status of Kazakh language in society is not resistant and strong. After analyzing the situation it can be seen that one of the main impediment in enhancing Kazakh language status in society is the deep Soviet heritage. Unfortunately, it is not the whole picture. The most dismal truth that, not to mention other nationalities, but even Kazakhs themselves are not eager to speak or to learn Kazakh language (here I don’t mean all of them but the majority).  According to Fishman (1969) after gaining independence most of post-colonial countries continue to use language of colonial power as a language of wider communication or it also can be a means for elites to preserve colonial language and culture in the country. In Kazakhstan nowadays Russian language is not just language of interethnic communication but also is associated with prestige and remains as a dominant language of public domains while Kazakh language is used in household level.

In addition, such language discrepancy in society is creating a barrier between Kazakh and Russian speaker as language shapes our way of thinking and viewpoint. It can be clearly exemplified by the residents of North and South Kazakhstan. Even though we confirm that the majority of people in our country are bilingual, in reality the numbers of people who can speak in Kazakh and Russian fluently are limited.

To sum up, the status, Kazakh language has, prestige, Kazakh language doesn’t have are crucial issues. In my opinion each person has to ask himself a question “Who am I in this country?”,  a guest, an idiot or an occupant who doesn’t need to learn state language or a competent citizen who respects his country, its laws and other citizens. The choice is yours…..

 

Image from: http://altaynews.kz/kaz/7494-memlekettik-tildi-mengergen-ozge-ult-zhastarynyn-forumy-shemonaihada-otedi.html

Fishman, J. (1969). Bilingual education, language planning and English. English World–Wide, 1(1).

 

 

Is it too late after critical period?

One of the key directions of the State Programme of Education Development for 2011-2020 (MOES, 2010) is the proficiency of school children in Kazakh, Russian and English equally. Therefore, from the last year all Kazakhstani schools started to teach English as a subject from the first grade. Despite this fact, different educational practitioners have diverse viewpoint about it. Those who in favor of it confirm that teaching foreign languages in the early stage is crucial as it coincides with critical development period of children.

Critical period is considered as a time period during which a child’s experience will reach its pick on the development and learning processes.  From neurological point of view, in this period a child’s brain formulates cell connection which will be framework for learning for the entire life. If thoughtfully use this period, the number of these connections will increase and ability of learning foreign language will enhance. Moreover, it is considered that after critical period the brain starts to lose its flexibility and ability to learn languages quickly.

However, there appears another point “What if they start to mix languages as in the first grade they are only 6-7 age old and they don’t acquire their own language in proper way”.  As an illustration, when I help my cousin, who studies in the third grade, with homework of English I noticed that when he reads, he mixes English letters with Kazakh ones. For instance, he can pronounce English “m” as Kazakh sound “t”.  Looking at this, I started to think that maybe we are just confusing children by making ‘kasha’ in their head.

Whatever we say, the program started and the results of it we cannot see in the near future as it takes time while these children grow up. However, I deem it is much better to be optimistic because if the results are good we can get a generation who know three languages in the highest level. If the suggestions of scientists about critical period and cell connections are true, when they grew up, they can easily learn more than three languages.

 

Reference

MoES. (2010), The State Program for Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan 2011-20: RK Presidential decree as of December 7, 2010, Number 1118.

[Online image]. Retrieved January 17, 2017 from

http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/why-0-3/baby-and-brain