All posts by gulzhaina13

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