All posts by magic_sunshine

About magic_sunshine

a concerned citizen

Unethically conducted studies!!!


“20 Most Unethical Experiments in Psychology” showed Google’s first page, when I searched for unethically conducted studies in the history. It was terrifying and shocking to read. It is completely unbelievable to what extent so-called scientists and doctors could harm people for the sake of science or just test their “stupid” hypothesis. These so-called studies involved people of different ethnic background, prisoners, children, and orphans. Terrible!

If someone asked me about ethics in conducting research a year ago, I would have doubted its necessity. But now, I am really concerned with ethical issues as it may cause a deplorable situation to my potential participants. What if my study causes demotion or even dismissal to my potential participants? What if my study causes severe embarrassment to them? Currently, I am thinking long and hard to avoid such a risky situation. I know that teachers and parents are not considered to be a vulnerable population, but, I agree with Dr. Ispambetova (2017) that all people are vulnerable in one way or another. Therefore, I am trying to take all the possible steps to prevent their identification by the school administration.

Dr. Ispambetova (2017) acknowledges the importance of establishing institutionalized research ethics review boards. Which is really must-have for higher education institutions that aim at developing research; all researchers be they novice or experienced should follow Code of Ethics of their institution. If those “so-called researchers” had studied or followed ethical issues of their institutions, who knows, those «20 Most Unethical Experiments in Psychology” could not have been practiced, or at least could have been less.

Reading Dr. Ispambetova’s (2017) article and the other one, I see an urgent need for the educational policy that obliges the development and control of IRB and IREC for all institutions that are engaged in any type of research. Hope, there is one in our country.
So, overall, what are your thoughts of Ethics as a novice researcher?



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6 Problems with our School System (deconstruction)

The video is prepared by Next School which promotes upgraded educational curriculum under the highly innovative Big Picture Learning framework. The video explores some major problems that current educational system encounters in most parts of the world. The creators are claiming that current traditional educational system is outdated and needs to be refreshed. Although this video is mostly about an Indian and American school type, I try to connect it with Kazakhstani context. Let’s see if their arguments coincide with our situation.

The main argument of the video is that the real world is rapidly changing whereas, school system remains the same and not changed in hundreds of years. They claim that children are not prepared to real-life situations as schools have been established in an Industrial Age and have that mentality. Unfortunately, the writers do not provide an exact context within the video, that is why I investigated it myself and found that it was about India and U.S. However, if to contrast their claim with Kazakhstani situation, it exactly underlines our current situation. For instance, three months of summer holidays were designed in early 1930 to create a labor term which was a part of industrialization. According to the People’s Commissariat for Education of USSR, it ended in 1980. But, interesting to note that three months of summer holidays still exist in Kazakhstan up to these days.  Here, I was convinced that traditional school system is a legacy of an Industrial Age.

The next argument provided by the creators of Next School is the lack of autonomy and excess of control among children. They claim that “Industrial Age values lack of autonomy” and “every minute of a child’s life is tightly controlled”. Here, if to compare the situation with Kazakhstan, I completely agree that today there is a deficiency in autonomy among children, teachers and even principals. I speculate it to be a reminder of the Soviet times. Although I accept it as an aftermath of that times, I truly value the past education. But, education should coincide with the demands and globalization, not history.  It is true that every minute at school is controlled as 7 lessons per a day and 40 minutes’ lessons with 5 minutes of break. The child’s control, however, a subject that can be negotiated by their parents and teachers, and to treat it as a consequence of an Industrial Age without good pieces of evidence might be an assumption.

The other problems with the traditional school system are “memorization” and “extremely standardized system”. Firstly, the authors argue that children memorize not having a chance to perform what they have learned as they forget about it after an exam. They support authentic learning type where children will be able to apply what they have learned in a real world. Again, I was convinced with their idea of changing memorization with authentic learning strategy, but they should have provided some examples. As from the personal experience, we used to memorize a lot at school and even university. By saying ““extremely standardized system” the scholars mean that every child receives the same materials to study. They claim that children’s abilities are different and should be treated so. It might be true that kids have different capacity and potential in performing school task, but I think it might be more convincing if the scholars used more concrete examples in dealing with such issues.

Overall, the video was designed for all stakeholders in the field of education starting from children to policymakers. Although some arguments needed to be supported by good pieces of evidence, I was convinced that our Kazakhstani education system needs to be updated and reformed.  But, one thing that they did not mention is that change in education is mostly top-down process unless it is a private educational organization.  I would suggest providing more concrete examples of solving these issues.

What do you think of this video?


Next School. (2016). 6 Problems with our School System.[Video file]. Retrieved from


The impact of globalization on “brain drain” in developing countries (deconstruction)

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Retrieved from

      The scholars from one of the Kazakhstani universities Zhatkanbaeva, A., Zhatkanbaeva, J., and Zhatkanbaev, E. (2012) published their analysis of brain drain with the title “The impact of globalization on “brain drain” in developing countries”. They claim that brain drain causes complication to the developing countries asserting that “the problem of “brain drain” is considered as a threat to national security” (p. 1490). To solve it, they recommend to recognize brain drain as a problem and reform the educational system. I appreciate that scholars have their recommendations on solving this controversial issue, despite the lack of supporting details and justifications for their claim. Seems that their thesis statement is not clearly structured in the introduction which consists of three paragraphs with separate ideas that resulted in the loss of the main idea. Moreover, the lack of roadmap made the article even vague.

          While reading it for the first time, some incomprehensible details appeared that could have been improved or prevented. Firstly, the article is not about “developing countries” as it was stated in the title. But only about Kazakhstan. It might be suggested to use the exact context in the title to make it distinct. Secondly, the definitions of major concepts are missing. As the paper analyses the concept of “brain drain”, it is useful to consider defining the term first. Thirdly, the article comprises a list of obscure details and ideas that make the work feeble. For instance, the first three paragraphs of “Heading styles” (I suppose, it to be a body paragraph), where the word “erudite” was thoroughly defined. The scholars jump from one idea to another without ending the first one. If you remember, the introduction was opened with the “globalization of education”, whereas, the body also contains some general information about globalization which could have been mentioned in the introduction. It could be the case to remind that “a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences” (Struck & White, 2000, p. 23). Moreover, the scholars keep repeating some words, phrases and even sentences to emphasize its importance as in: “accommodation and flats” and “perspectives of career growth and position” (p.1492). The below given two sentences might show the repetition of weakly paraphrased sentences and an irrelevance to the context. The first excerpt is written in the introduction and the second one in the main body. Although the relevance to the context might be negotiated, both excerpts devoid of further clarifications in the kind of measures that make these statements deceptive.

Kazakhstan has been taking a series of comprehensive measures of a legal, social and organizational character. What is worth speaking about is the formation of Kazakhstan’s way based on the experience of different countries to overcome this problem” (p. 1490).


Kazakhstan undertakes a number of complex measures of legal, social and organizational character. We should mention the formation of Kazakhstan way of overcoming the stated problem, which combined the experience of a number of countries” (p. 1492).

            The other things I have to mention are the assumptions and a lack of justifications for their claims in the statements. Let’s have a look at some of them:

The problem of “brain drain” is considered as a threat to national security” (p. 1490).

I agree that brain drain probably brings some economic, social and educational problems to the country. But to argue it to be a “national threat” without any clarifications of why should it be a threat and without any justifications to support makes it a feeble argument.

“We have to state that schools and universities provide only the basic education” (p. 1491).

Zhatkanbaeva et al. (2012) assumed that schools and universities provide only basic education based exclusively on their teaching experience in the university. Although it might be true to some extent, the statement cannot be generalized to all schools and universities without any research done to support it.

“[Developing countries’ curriculum] … does not meet the international standard requirements, although these requirements do not exist” (p. 1492).

The other statement which is worth to mention. It seems that scholars again speak from their perspective, based on their experience of living in a developing country. The first assumption made is the developing countries’ curriculum which does not correspond the international standards, could have been explained in what way it does not meet it. However, I would argue that those reform changes that the government makes aim to fit those international standards.  The other speculation is rejecting those “international standards”, here, they contradict their own words.

            The article is written from the first person. The scholars mostly use “we” to refer to themselves in their recommendations and use their personal and work experiences in making the examples, not evidence.

            I guess that intended audience of this article are students and educators. The scholars presented their work mostly based on their practice without intelligible explanations and pieces of evidence to support their claims. After reading the article I wasn’t convinced at all with its content, rather got confused with their ideas, where they argue that “educational international standards do not exist”, on the other hand, they asserted that “Kazakhstan reforms its educational system based on the experience of different countries to overcome problems”. I greatly admire their effort in analyzing one of the debatable issues of our society, but to improve their article, I would advise to totally rewrite the introduction, body paragraphs, and write concluding paragraph (which is missing), support it with credible pieces of evidence and of course, to avoid making assumptions and bias. And remember to find a reliable peer-reviewer that makes the writing more credible.

How do you think this article could be improved?


Strunk, W., & White, E.B. (2000). The elements of style (4th ed.). Longman

Zhatkanbaeva, A., Zhatkanbaeva, J., & Zhatkanbaev, E. (2012). The impact of globalization on “brain drain” in developing countries. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 47, 1490 – 1494. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.848

Where is my smartphone? Or Let’s turn it off for a while.


I usually take a bus. Once I came across to a group of students who were on an excursion with their teacher. The bus was full of school children using their smartphones. Well, actually the scenery is not surprising as it happens most of the time. One may think that this kind of harmless interest to smartphones may not hurt anyone. However, a frequent use of smartphones can cause smartphone addictions, especially school children who are easily attracted and influenced by new gadgets. As a consequence, it probably triggers some detrimental addictions like gambling and information overload that might negatively affect them mentally. What is more, some scientific terms, that describe certain cases, exist related to this “smartphone issue”.

Above all, let’s define what smartphone addiction means. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health (2013), addiction is a brain disease that is insistent to an irresistible desire to participate in activities, despite the harmful consequences. Therefore, smartphone addiction can be construed as a tempting impulse of overusing Internet, games or apps that have its negative side effects on people using it. By the way, how would you feel if you had forgotten your phone at home, left or lost it somewhere? Note that there is a scientific name for this kind of fear you might experience. The site “Technopedia” explains that “a fear exhibited in a human being when their cell phone is unable to perform the most basic of communication functionality that it is designed to provide is named as “nomophobia”. However, the other side of the coin has something to say. Remember any friend who is addicted to his or her phone. What is he/she doing? Is he or she constantly playing or surfing the Web? Your friend is just taking no notice of you! This kind of practice of ignoring someone’s company in order to pay attention to one’s cell phone or other devices is named as phubbing (The Washington post). So, who are you? Are you phubbing or pubbed? Or have you ever felt fear of losing your phone?

As previously mentioned, smartphone addiction can be expressed in various forms. Gambling addiction is one of the widespread and well-documented problems, the availability of Internet made it even more accessible. Some Japanese researchers disclosed that smartphone-addicted children don’t make friends with those who use it less (as cited in Dollahite & Haun, 2012). It seems that gambling is a disease of digital age. According to Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, 80% of surveyed teenagers between 12-17 years say that they have gambled in the last 12 months. Whereas, 35% of them gamble at least once a week. Thus, students’ smartphone addiction can give rise to social, mental and academic problems as lowliness, depression and low academic performance at school.

Some students may say that they are not inclined to any sort of gambling as playing online games or so on. That definitely cannot be disclaimed. But, don’t they use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media to post their photos and videos or check one’s messenger every hour. Isn’t it an addiction, then? Inveterate surfing the Internet, reviewing news, blogs, feeds can be responsible for the students’ low attentiveness which may lead to low academic achievements. The consequences of these kinds of overloaded information may be as harmful as it is. For instance, isolation, loss of real-world relationships, social life and hobbies, or even worth mental disorders.

Obviously, we cannot deny the importance of smartphones in our life. All those countless benefits it has in education and in other domains. However, an overuse of smartphones can negatively affect like medicine which can be a remedy or vice-versa. So, do you, (your children or students) lose track of time when using your (their) phone? If you answered “Yes”, then maybe it’s a right time to revise your attitudes towards smartphone use and its role in order to prevent lamentable consequences. And what would you do if one of your students unconsciously kept using his or her smartphones most of the time?


Birdwell, A. F. (2012). Technology and the Mind. In N. E. Dollahite & J. Haun (Eds.), Source work: Academic Writing from Sources (195). Location: Sherrise Roehr.

Nomophobia. Definition. Retrieved from

Sternberg, B. S., Willingham, E. J., Asenjo, B., Wells, K. R., Alic, M., & Nienstedt, A. (2013). Addiction. In Gale (Ed.), The Gale encyclopedia of public health. Farmington, MI: Gale. Retrieved from

Smith, M.A., Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (December 2017). Smartphone Addiction.
Trusted guide to mental & emotional health. Retrieved from

Seppälä, E. (13 October 2017). Are you ‘phubbing’ right now? What it is and why science says it’s bad for your relationships. Retrieved from

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My teacher’s background is not teaching!


The preschool education is an initial and mandatory stage of education, which was recognized under the Law on Education in 1999 (Law on Education, 1999). However, Kazakhstani preschool education lacks superior services because of impediments it encounters as qualified preschool teachers and other.

Nowadays, approximately 9000 preschool organizations with 80900 teachers serve throughout the country (National Report, 2017). Although National Report on Education (2015) provided data about the growth of the number of teachers within kindergartens, the State Program “Balapan” 2011-2020 indicates teachers’ professional quality as low. The percentage of preschool teachers with “preschool education and care” major was 34,9%.  Still poor, if compared with the whole number of preschool teachers. Considering the data, it is possible to say that, although the number of preschool teaching staff is not in its dead end, the number of teachers with preschool education major is inadequate. A question of quality raises here because who can guarantee the quality of the service with the shortage of appropriate staff.

Hereby, let me share a personal experience. Due to the lack of standard kindergartens, we had to attend mini centers with less qualified staff.  My son’s preschool teacher had a background in sales, but she is a person who has taken some courses in childcare. Though, my son has been taught by someone who is a retailer. And I am not satisfied with this. Should it be an ordinary case in our country?  Well, at that time I thought that we were a bit unfortunate in choosing a preschool organization.
But wait, look at the data. According to the State Program, more than 60% of preschool teachers have no qualification in preschool education, which makes me worry not only as a parent but as a concerned citizen as well. The scholars as Barnett and Riley-Ayers (2008) stated that teachers’ strong content knowledge about the children’s development and phycology is the key factor of success in preschool education. They need to take into account the style of teaching younger children, meet the needs of individuals and understand theoretical and practical pedagogy, as they interact with children. However, our Kazakhstani preschool education and teachers are missing the above-stated peculiarities. What consequences might a child face by being taught by someone who is not qualified at all? What about our society? How can it impact our society?
And What Can We Do with This?


Barnet, S. W., & Riley-Ayers, S. (2008). Public policy and workforce in early
childhood education. In L. J. Couse & S. L. Recchia (Eds.), Handbook of
early childhood teacher education (38-54). Location: New York.Routledge.

Irsaliev, S., Kultumanova, A., Tulekov, E., Buldybaev, T., Nurmuhametova, Zh.,
Kussidenova, G., Ismurzina, G. (2017). National report on the state and
development of educational system of the Republic of Kazakhstan. (for the years of Independence of Kazakhstan) Astana. JSC “IAC”.

Law on Education 7 June 1999, № 389-I. (1999). The Republic of Kazakhstan.
Retrieved from

MoES (Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan). (2010). The Program on Maintenance of Children with Preschool Education and Teaching “Balapan” 2011-2020. Astana. Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

National Review Report. (2015). UNESCO. Education for All. Kazakhstan. N 35 Country report. Mid-term assessment for achievement goals of Education for All. – Astana: NCEST, 2014- 98 Retrieved from

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Multilingualism matters


    1. Сәлем! Привет! Hello! Merhaba! Bună ziua!

  • It is interesting to know how many languages one can acquire and actively use them in his daily repertoire. Didn’t you think about that? I think it is beneficial to grow up in a Post-Soviet country which maintains the knowledge of two languages. Although my family is from a Kazakh speaking medium, that did not influence the purity of my second language: Russian. English was added later on when studying at a secondary school. Whereas, Turkish was a second major language after English at the university. Fortunately, I am an active Turkish language speaker. As Kazakh and Turkish belong to Turkic language family that perhaps the reason for my success in latter. What about “Bună ziua!”!? This is Romanian, which I used to study as an “unknown language”, a part of my TESOL course. Some grammatical similarities of Romanian to Russian made my study a bit easier at that time. With this in mind, these languages are the tools which help me to achieve my aims. Therefore, I consider myself as a prudent multilingual individual.

    Let’s define the terms first. As Cenoz (2013) emphasizes, some researchers claim that bilingual is the person who speaks two languages, and multilingual is the one who actively uses two and more languages. I consider myself as a balanced multilingual in first four languages. However, my knowledge of Romanian is limited, almost close to its loss.

    So, what are the benefits of being multilingual or bilingual? Cenoz (2013) mentioned that being multilingual positively affects the cognitive development of an individual. For instance, multilingual better fulfills some metalinguistic tasks and some features of the cognitive downturn related to aging can slow down. Personally, I have experienced its benefits in various ways. First of all, education is the sector which requires the knowledge of an additional language. In our case, it is English. It is the language which I have taught at schools and used as a medium of instruction at my institution. Additionally, English was the language which I referred to when traveled and lived abroad. Kazakh, along with Russian are the languages of daily communication. However, Russian is the preferred language of the Internet. As Okal (2014) points out:

      “Multilingualism is a big resource” (p.226).

    It opens doors for the creativity, communication, access and many more. The key idea that I want to emphasize is that bilingual can use the knowledge of his languages to learn additional ones (Cenoz, 2013), which I do up to these days. As mentioned above, I have used Russian to learn Romanian, and Kazakh to acquire Turkish. I guess, it is the time to apply it to English.

    So, to your mind, what are the privileges of learning additional languages for you? Would you agree that by being bilingual you make a less effort to acquire another language?

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    Cenoz, J. (2013). Introduction to Multilingualism.  Annual Review of Applied Linguistics                     33, 3–18.

    Okal, B. O. (2014). Benefits of Multilingualism in Education. Universal Journal Of                                     Educational Research, 2(3), 223-229.