All posts by kymbatsaduakas

What my research methodology has to tell you

I had seen and read and written the word “methodology” dozens of time before I understood its meaning to the full extent and finally decided which one suits my research. In order to make the right choice I first wanted to know what I want to tell my audience, and then how I want to do it.

The main purpose in my research is to learn where teachers see themselves in the process of inclusive education of orphan students, what challenges they face and what kind of opportunities and maybe benefits they find. There are not many schools in Astana that practice inclusive education, so I have decided to take one in particular that has inclusive education of orphan students for sure. Then, the circle shrunk even more as I needed only teachers that give lessons to the students of my interest. There is a certain number of these teachers. Moreover, some of them might not be willing to participate in the study. So, eventually I will have specific number of teachers that will share their stories about the process. They will tell me as a researcher their opinions and attitudes towards it, and may share some of the aspects that need improvement or have been successful so far. Consequently, my research is undoubtedly qualitative because I don’t need and have no reason to look for generalizations as it is usually done in quantitative method. In addition, I am going to investigate one specific school, which makes it case-study design. All in all, every story is unique, so is the story of the case school I am going to investigate. With the help of right methodology my research will tell the audience what is happening in fact with the IE of orphans in one particular school. Thus, strengths and areas for improvement can be identified. This might further help different stakeholders to take actions accordingly.

How is your backbone?

After very positive posts of my peers about their literature review sections of the thesis, I had second thoughts of writing about my own as it is still a very weak one. But anyway, my thesis paper is a unique story, which has its own ups and downs and will hopefully have a happy end. So, let me tell you my story called “Teachers’ experiences in supporting students from orphanages studying in mainstream classrooms”.

If we consider a thesis paper as a human organism, we shall understand that every part of it is like an organ, which has its own functions. Their significance cannot be denied and should be accordingly valued. From this perspective I find the literature review part as a backbone. It is like a core particle that holds other parts together. If it is weak or crooked, then the whole body probably will not be strong.

The backbone of my organism for now looks very weak. First of all, it is only approximately 800 words. Quantity is not as important as quality they say. However, for literature review at this point I find it too little. Secondly, my main challenge is to find relevant data. There is a lot of information about institutionalized children, orphans, and their challenges at these institutions, however it is hard to find information on their inclusion process into mainstream schools. It looks as if this practice is very rare worldwide or there has not been so much research on it. In addition, investigations of the impact of institutional care do not usually include the education process. Mostly psychological and health aspects are mentioned. Of course there is a connection, but I am still on the way to make this connection in relevance to my topic.

For now I have divided my literature review section into 2 parts: the impact of institutional care and condition of orphans in Kazakhstan. In both parts I use general to specific method of writing. For example, in the first part I start saying that there have been a lot of research into this topic. Next, I explain aspects that were considered in these investigations, such as age and conditions of institutions. And then I gradually move to revealing the outcomes of those researches, explaining specific impacts of institutional care that were found out. I tell about these impacts one by one dividing them into separate paragraphs.

Throughout my thesis paper I have often mentioned two sources: ”The risk of harm to young children in institutional care” by Browne K. and “Community based care for separated children” by Tolfree D. Both papers contain results of thorough researches on the effects studying and living in an institution can have on children’s state of health and mind. Also both authors are members of the world’s independent children rights’ organization “Save the Children”. This Alliance brings together organizations and individuals concerned about children without adequate parental care. Its mission is to facilitate active information exchange and collaboration on these issues and advocate for technically sound policy and programmatic action on global, regional, and national levels. Sounds very convincing.

Overall, I find writing literature review part very difficult in terms of finding relevant resources and having time for reading, summarizing and writing it. But I hope to eventually “have it right”!

Long-term plan

While trying myself as a teacher during my bachelor’s, I have come across different types of children including orphans. Unconsciously I was somehow practicing inclusive education without any special training. This experience was crucial in my growth as an education professional as I learned to work in diverse classrooms and overcome challenges that it brings.

In many countries abroad orphas are recognized as vulnerable children that need special attention of the government and are ensured to study in inclusive education environment. In our country they are also mentioned among the categories of students who are enlisted to receive inclusive education by the law of education that introduced inclusive education as one of its objectives to reach by 2020. Orphan children face different kinds of challenges in this process as well as their teachers that teach them in the same classrooms with mainstream students. Among these are overcrowded classrooms, disapproval of orphans by their peers, inexperience and lack of knowledge of working with children coming from orphan institutions and so on. Since this is a new practice (orphans studying in mainstream schools) for our education system there is not any information or reports about its progress. The purpose of my research paper is to investigate teachers’ experiences in supporting students from orphanages during their inclusion process into mainstream classrooms in Astana city. I want to know what challenges and opportunities teachers face during this process. I believe teachers are the key figures in the successful implementation of inclusive education, so I think they have something to say. This may further help to improve the reform to benefit all the stakeholders.

Now having recently become a mother myself I wish to embrace all the orphan children under my delicate teacher “wings” because I can’t imagine my own little kid struggle without me in this world. Improving and developing quality inclusive education of orphans in Kazakhstan is my long-term plan, which was the reason why I actually entered NUGSE. My thesis will hopefully be one of the initial steps towards this aim.