All posts by uaxi

Translanguaging as a way of enhancing learning

CUNY-NYSIEB

Language is more than just a way of delivering your thoughts. It has an impact on our culture and the way how we conceptualize the world around us. Thus, language is a social phenomenon. Therefore, it can be directly related to the history and development of the society. Society influences the development of the language. It also determines the future of the language whether it would expand or diminish. These days, there are some dominant languages, which are rapidly spreading and growing universally, while some minority languages are losing their positions dramatically. In the sense that language and culture are deep rooted, it is of paramount importance to protect and preserve minority languages as they establish cultural diversity and prevent the loss of cultural identity in this globalized world full of multicultural and multilingual societies. This multilingual shift in the 21st century has significantly influenced schooling systems of many countries; although the use of language diversity of their learners as a resource were neglected in most of those national schooling systems before. However, sociolinguistic realities of modern societies forced the educational systems to accept the multilingualism in education and its consequences (Garcia & Kano, 2014). The increase in international migration and erasure of boundaries in terms of globalization process have shifted the focus of schools from monolingual paradigm to multilingual paradigm (Kramsch, 2009). In this case, pedagogical practices and teaching approaches could not avoid this multilingual shift with its global involvement of various language teaching and learning concepts.

There are more chances to become successful in teaching if you know how your students learn. The learning process comprises ensuring learners with various techniques to analyze, synthesize and evaluate academic content. García (2009) states that even though there is a tremendous spread of bilingual education across the globe in the 21st century, how two or more languages cooperate and affect learning has still little comprehension of it. The reason for this might be that in many cases bilingual education programs set apart languages strictly, considering bilinguals as “two monolinguals in one” (Grosjean, 1989). However, quite recently academic society has questioned the rigorous separation of languages in classroom settings, giving an opportunity to reveal the concept of translanguaging.

The term of translanguaging has revealed itself just recently. This new term has roots in the field of bilingualism in general, and related to the area of bilingual education in particular. One of the main proponents of translanguaging, who explicitly promotes this term  Ofelia García with her colleagues Ricardo Otheguy and Wallis Reid (2015), defined translanguaging as “… the deployment of a speaker’s full linguistic repertoire without regard for watchful adherence to the socially and politically defined boundaries of named (and usually national and state) languages” (p.68). That is to say, in translanguaging the role of communication prevails rather than language itself. In some cases languages are taught with the focus on accuracy in particular language for the sake of passing the exams by learners. However, the cases when time is spent on exploring theories with contribution to the knowledge, when students are guided to make connections of ideas and assisting to make the voices of learners to be heard can be considered as the main goal of any teaching and learning process. And in this instance, it is about communicating, and this is where the whole language repertoire as a resource can be very essential.  In other words, translanguaging is when a bilingual individual retrieves various linguistic characteristics or different ways of what is depicted as independent languages, with an eye to maximize communication opportunities and possibilities (García, 2009, p.140). In order to be able to assess the knowledge of bilingual students and to understand what they can do with language, their ability to use specific forms of one language or another has to be separated from their ability to use language. Because only by using their whole language repertoire, bilingual students will be able to show what they know, and particularly what they can do with language.

In conclusion, the role of translanguaging in relation to multilingualism in general and bilingual education in particular is vital. Because it promotes the pedagogical practice that allows bilingual students to use their whole linguistically diverse repertoire in order to obtain and understand the full content of academic knowledge in the classroom.

So, how do you think how the concept of translanguaging can be adapted for the Kazakhstani context?

References:

García, O. (2009). Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell/Wiley.

García, O. & Kano, N. (2014). Translanguaging as process and pedagogy: Developing the English writing of Japanese students in the U.S. In J. Conteh & G. Meier (Eds.), The multilingual turn in languages education: Benefits for individuals and societies. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Grosjean, F. (1989). Neurolinguists, beware! The bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person. Brain and Language, 36(1), 3–15.

Kramsch, C. (2009). The multilingual subject: What foreign language learners say about their experiences and why it matters. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Otheguy, R., García, O. & Reid, W. (2015). Clarifying translanguaging and deconstructing named languages: A perspective from linguistics. Applied Linguistics Review, 6(3), 281-307.

photo credits to: https://traue.commons.gc.cuny.edu/volume-iv-issue-1-fall-2015/translanguaging-practice-briefs-for-educators/

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The world has changed. The way we educate our children should too.

 

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photo credits to https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/saying-motto-change-difficult-not-changing-111462035?src=liJpSuVV6vqDlMzG-jOKKQ-1-41

 

Just ask yourself: should the education be reshaped? Even though the answer will vary from person to person, it is impossible to respond unless we ask ourselves what kind of world we are going in.

Imagine how the factory looked like in the XIX century and how it looks now. The same for the transport system or the bank. We will see massive changes. The only domain that looks the same as in the XIX century is a school. A class where the children sit in front of the teacher in rows and study the subjects according to the curriculum, which, in its essence, was also created in the XIX century. Obviously, this model is obsolete. But how should it change?

Now we observe and expect that the total number of changes in the world of the near future – technological, political, social – will be so great that we simply cannot understand what we are preparing the current first-graders. Thus, the first thing we have to say to ourselves: guys, we need to prepare a person so that he can react as much as possible to the challenges in a changing world. We are moving towards a period when people will constantly be “scared”. For instance, how should one cope with the news that his/her domain no longer exists, that it was replaced by robots? Or that there have been such political changes that his/her country does not exist anymore. In theory, considering unstable political issues in the global arena, this may happen to many of us when we will suddenly find ourselves nowhere and have to adapt to the changed conditions swiftly.

The problem of the current school is that it was created under the prevailing industrial model of the society of the XIX century. At that time, it was necessary to have a lot of workers who obey the boss, do what they are told, do not go beyond job descriptions and according to the template can perform the prescribed tasks. Preferably highly specialised. And in a world of uncertainty – this is the riskiest thing that you can think of. The school educates discipline, submission, lack of creativity, application of templates. That is directly contradictory to what we are moving to.

So, by being a part of something revolutionary in our country, how do you think how the education and schools, in particular, should be reshaped?

P.S. this blog post is dedicated to my grandfather who used to say that the more schools we have, the brighter future of the country will be. I love you, I remember you, grandpa. Hoping that one day your “dream schools” come true…

အဘယ်ကြောင့်ကျနော်တို့အားလုံးအတူတူပါပဲဘာသာစကားများအားဆင့်ဆိုရမည်မှာမဟုတျလော

babylips

In this Freakonomics radio episode, Stephen Dubner raised an expansive question like Why don’t we all speak the same language?  Several experts in the fields of linguistics, economics and history from different educational organizations were asked to try to answer this question and share their own experience regarding the linguistic diversity of our world and its role in their lives.

By trying to understand the history of languages the author tries to explore would it be possible for everyone to speak the same language. Even though there are 7000 different languages spoken in the world, it’s obvious that ones are more dominant than the others. And it’s known not only by the number of speakers of those languages but by the role they play in modern society as well. There is an assumption of the author that everybody in the world would agree to speak the same language if it was possible and he wonders aren’t 7000 languages too much for 7 billion people. Somehow it looks like it’s all about provoking the idea of one standardized language for all and involves the thoughts that it could be the English language. The idea that if everyone on the planet would speak the same language jumps out from time to time, but did the author really think about the probability that one could face all those 7 billion people? Is there a real need for only one language? I mean what is the maximum number of people one can meet for his/her whole life. What do you think in this regard, would it be better if we all speak the same language?

I was shocked to the point that how language can be influential in one’s life from economic perspectives. It’s understandable that people who speak more than one language are more likely to get a job with a good salary rather than who don’t, but I even didn’t think about that “the case of language” can be beneficial not only on a personal level but have a tremendous role in trade between countries and this point was supported by the evidence as conducted research in The Journal of International Economics. The metric called “linguistic distance” is definitely something new in my linguistic repertoire and I’d love to know more about how and what it is used for.

Overall, this episode narrates overarching questions and tries to explore them from various perspectives. I’d definitely recommend this episode to listen to everyone who is interested in linguistics, and especially who is eager to know the relation between linguistics and economics.

photo credits to http://www.ijustwanttopeealone.com/2013/05/what-i-say-vs-what-they-hear.html

Guess who’s back???

Now this looks like a job for me,

So everybody, just follow me

Cause we need a little, controversy

Cause it feels so empty, wihout me

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Almost five months have passed since my last masterpiece was born. And I tried to delay the appearance of next as much as I could, in particular, by not having completed the pre-course task yet, but Mr Montgomery messed up all my cards and here I am, writing again.

     I would like to thank God, thank my family, thank my friends and thank everyone who supported me throughout my whole work – it is what I feel like after finishing another piece of writing at NUGSE, which in turn is the only place where I write. I really hope that after graduating and getting my MA degree from NUGSE, I would never have to write again. In some cases, I just express horror when I realize that “more writing” is waiting for me ahead at the prospect of thesis writing. And I just wander in my mind and wonder is research all about writing??? Is there any possibility to do a research and do not write? These are the main questions I would love to get answers for. Voice your opinion, you are all welcome, guys!

As the research is about reaching the new conclusions, the life itself seems to be a bunch of research. So any human being can benefit from another way of thinking about research. Obviously, you cannot do an appropriate academic research without research skills that you have to obtain, learn, acquire whatsoever… Just to breathe and be in right mind is all you need to do any research regarding your life. If life is all about black and white, by questioning everything, you are trying to prove lies and support truths, so you are standing in the path of understanding different issues from various perspectives. Research in terms of searching for discovering your calling is to become prepared to react to challenges of the changing world. The questions like who are we? where are we from? and where are we going? are the ones which demand from person higher-order thinking even to ponder about and of course evidence-based arguments to be convinced to. As Eminem states in his song “but no matter how many fish in the sea, it’ll be so empty without me” (2002), everybody in this life searching for something, so everyone carrying out his own research…What is your research?

References:

Bass, J., Bell, K., McLaren, M. & Horn, T. (2002). Without Me [Recorded by Eminem]. On The Eminem Show.

photo credits to http://shadyrecords.com/2013/03/21/despicable-me-2-trailer-featuring-without-me/

How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk?

This talk was given at a local TEDx New York event by Will Stephen, who is a professional actor and writer. By the way, he is concurrently a professional comedian. In his hilarious speech, he shows flawless presentation skills to make you sound genius – even if you are truly talking about nothing.

Words… How impressive they might be?! How brilliant they might sound?! But is it all about only words and content while you are giving a public talk or even a daily speech in your kitchen with your wife?! The speaker in this video claims that you may sound smart, no matter what are you talking about. Voice tone, pace, speed, and body language represents more than about 80% of your talk. The rest is content and words. And his speech is the brilliant proof of this argument. Because when you really get rid of the audio (his suggestion), he looks so smart and his speech seems like worth listening to.

I think this video is probably the most interesting TED talk I’ve ever listened to. Apart from it being an interesting commentary on psychology, it also allows one to think about delivery. Through the manner of his speech, he made the tremendous work to engage and interest the audience. By extension, we may see how people are easily convinced of weak arguments from those in positions of authority and such. Even though the speaker while the whole presentation was talking about absolutely nothing, he made me think about many things instead of just telling me nonsense.

He says he has nothing to say, but what he really has, is a very sophisticated parody of TED talks themselves. The sad fact remains that this is much more thought provoking than a lot of  TED talks I have seen recently. Watching him one can understand that he has a point that many of TED talks seem like they might be hitting a point that they never do. He makes you think about the storytelling layout of most TED talk videos in a backwards way, his delivery was strong, funny and painless to listen to so he taught you in a way that didn’t feel like teaching.

In fact, it’s actually how public speeches are given. Capturing the audience’s attention. The speaker encapsulates why I think TED talks are just good presentations, and are inspirational “edutainment”, but offer no threat of changing the status quo or actual education (which takes work). They have branded a successful format that makes for good dinner party banter, that’s all.

This is a great way to see that there is no such thing as a boring or pointless topic, only boring and pointless speakers. It legitimately took a lot of skill. I am both annoyed and impressed by his ability to make literally “nothing” interesting. I can say that his claim is credible as I have tried to use the same thing in my Academic Kazakh course and from my personal experience it was interesting and fascinating.

Humans are really complex, yet, we take it to granted, we take it as a simple speech, as it is nothing, but it doesn’t. I liked watching this video and it somehow made me rethink my life. What are your thoughts about this claim?

The Legacy of Gifted Education: curse or blessing?

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The Soviet Union had many advantageous traits in the most important sectors, but the one of the most distinguished was the system of education. Accessibility and literacy were on a very high level which resulted in a well-educated nation. Moreover, there was an assumption that Soviet students were aware of almost everything in the context of general education; however, there were certain drawbacks, such as overload of the curriculum with scientific subjects and teaching only factual information, instead of developing skills of critical thinking and problem solving. So, how we should refer to this form of education? Is it a curse or blessing?

To understand the importance of the attention paid to gifted education, first of all, the term “giftedness” should be considered.  The fact that one human being can be better than the other in terms of intellectual capabilities is undisputable.  Even thousands of years ago Plato provoked to provide intellectually gifted individuals with “specific education” (as cited in Yakavets, 2013).  The first mentions about the definition of “giftedness” starts with Terman who gave the birth to a term of “intelligence quotient” (IQ) and defined giftedness as a tremendous IQ.  Still, there are a plethora of interpretations related to gifts and talents, indeed almost most of them refer to students’ precocity regarding high grades in school.

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in a shift toward a market economy and reorientation of many policies and reforms. This period was also overlapped with increasing globalisation process.  One of the major requirements in the process of globalization was a modernization of the educational system (Stewart, 1998).  Extant changes affected not only methodological parts of education but also a modification of educational content. Currently, Kazakhstani educational system is undergoing a transition from traditional (Soviet) to competence oriented (global) education built on the expansion of the students’ strengths to adjust the gained knowledge, capabilities, experience, and proficiency of innovative actions and valuable skills to deal with problems in different conditions (Bekishev, 2013).

Overall, education policy in Kazakhstan attaches high priority to “gifted children” (OECD, 2014). It is emphasized through allocating more funds, rewards, and overall attention to government plans and policies that acknowledge the importance of helping gifted and talented students to develop their gifts. Schools for gifted children also have better buildings and facilities. As the OECD report (2014) states:

“One of the objectives of the national education policy is to identify and provide guidance and support to gifted children to facilitate the development of well-educated, competitive, and creative personalities. The network of special educational organizations for gifted children in Kazakhstan has been expanded to create better conditions and opportunities for uncovering and developing children’s abilities and fulfilling their potential” (p.71).

Considering the fact that talented and gifted children stand for moving force in the developmental period of the country, several activities were held by policymakers in educational sphere in order to identify, educate, and “upbring” aforesaid children in various domains and different levels (Bekishev, 2013). It is obvious that highly intellectual people are the essential capital of any country which aims to be in leading positions in the international arena.  Presidential Decree on State and Development of Schools for Gifted Children (1996) was the crowning point in the act of working with gifted and talented youth in Kazakhstan. The main goal of this document was to outline a sound strategy for identifying and supporting talented and gifted children. The next step towards developing education for gifted children was the adoption of State Program on the support of Gifted Youth in 1998. In the view of an implementation of this program “Daryn” Republican Scientific Practical Center was introduced. It was aimed at monitoring and developing system for gifted children. In the direction of making education a powerful mechanism in developing human capital, and in further improving competitiveness, concentrate on science and technology, and an essential aspect  has been the formation of elite institutions for talented and gifted children, namely the Nazarbayev University (NU) and Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) (Yakavets, 2013). Also, worth noting the incredible interest of parents who are interested not only in identifying the distinctive abilities of their children but also in their maintaining and further development.

From the very beginning of the independent era, Kazakhstan is trying to find its own path in the globalised competitive economy. By the progressive education system, Kazakhstan will build a highly educated nation, competing in all aspects with the most developed countries. So, do all students really gifted? If not, do we have to divide them and treat differently? If yes, do we need to follow the model of Finland which refuses any kind of division as described in these posts? (1, 2, 3, 4) What are your thoughts?

References:

Bekishev, K. (2013). Trends in development of the educational system in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Russian Journal of General Chemistry, 83(3), 594–603.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). (2014). The Well-being of Nations: The Role of Human and Social Capital. Paris: OECD.

Stewart, T., Intellectual Capital: Business Bestseller, Minsk: Paradoks, 1998.

Yakavets, N. (2013). Reforming society through education for gifted children: the case of Kazakhstan. Research Papers in Education, 29(5), 513–533.

photo credits to https://www.pinterest.com/pin/430938258064316738/

No more drama anymore! Or why the question of switching to Latin alphabet has already become vapid

imageThe question of switching to Latin alphabet is still very disputable in our country. And this issue has two sides of the coin as well as two groups as for and against. However, according to the policymakers, the decision has been made. And now by the help of some excerpts from their speeches I’m going to tell you why there is no more need to raise this question up.

  • “By 2025, the Kazakh alphabet should be switched into Latin and the work in this direction should be done now,” (Nazarbayev, 2012).

By this short sentence, one can understand that the decision has already been made. By the help of the highlighted words, I suppose the President wanted to set the tone. Of course, one can argue that even if any boss would make just a “friendly request”, the “tone” of the request may still convey the message of command. This speech was made in 2012, by giving time limitations he sets the clear goals. Also, one can understand the hidden message of this sentence as the President directly instructs the parliament what to do and when to do. “And the work in this direction should be done now” in this part two sides can be considered, firstly, he expects them (parliament) to give him report on work that has been already done, on the other hand by saying “should” instead of “have to” or “must” he emphasizes his understanding that this is difficult task and he does not expect from them “full” report, but something should be done by now. Also, it can be understood by the time which is given to complete the task, 13 years starting from that point.

  • “For the future of our children, we have to make that decision, which will create the conditions for our integration into the world. For our children, it will assist in a better learning of English, and most importantly, it will give impetus to the modernization of the Kazakh language,” (Nazarbayev, 2012).

Knowing that this is the controversial issue in our society, the President used three major points which are valuable for any citizen of Kazakhstan. By giving the words “future and children” in one phrase, he called the attention of any parent to this issue. In the era of globalisation the role that the English language has is huge, and nowadays it is a “magic word” to guide the parents in our country, and even the President uses it. The next two points were very smart moves as saying “integration into the world” and “modernization of the Kazakh language” he killed two birds with one stone. When the society is divided into two groups as those who are willing to be a part of the globalized world and those who are struggling for the future of Kazakh language and somehow promote the policy of “kazakhization”, the President reassured both sides.

  • “The Program on the transition of Kazakh language to Latin alphabet has been already adopted, and it will operate on the schedule,” (Mukhamediuly, 2015).

The Minister of Culture and Sports is not the only person who is responsible for the implementation of this task about the transition to Latin alphabet. But here he emphasises the issue that this is not just the case, but a Program and much work has been already done. He also shows that there is a timeline set for this task and they will continue to work on that graph no matter what.

  • “At the moment, scientists work on the issue, and it is proposed to enter Latin alphabet on a keyboard, that we have. However, national features of the pronunciation of Kazakh language require additional decisions. It is not simple, we need to integrate to the international community through the less painful way,” he highlighted (Mukhamediuly, 2015).

From this passage, it can be seen that something has gone wrong or at least did not go according to the plan. Because the minister trying to send the message that this is a time consuming project. It also can be seen from the second part of passage, “through the less painful way”, he tries to explain that integration would not be easy and it deserves more time and attention than they planned.

  • I have set the task of turning the Kazakh culture into a well-recognized segment of the global cultural space,” (Nazarbayev, 2013).

Using the pronoun “I” instead of “We” can easily be considered as an indicator of self-focus. However, knowing the personality of our president, we can assume that sometimes he makes decisions that are not welcomed by the society or the decisions which are difficult to understand for the society. And he carries that weight. Despite the fact that we are already in the list of top 50 developed countries, the Kazakh culture still remains unfamiliar for the most of the world. And here is the clear goal to rectify this situation.

  • “This move should not be viewed as a demonstration of Kazakhstan’s geopolitical preferences. We look toward multi-vector development and humanitarian and cultural contacts with all states,” (Nazarbayev, 2013).

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people expected (some desired) the Kazakh language to replace the Russian language quickly and easily. But it did not happen. Even after 25 years of independence, the Russian language is still somehow dominant language in our country. By this reason, many started to think that the program of transition to Latin alphabet is politically motivated. However, the first and foremost goal of Kazakhstan is to integrate into a globalised world and be a part of it. “Multi-vector development” implies the development of all spheres and conducting good relationships with all states. Here the plurilingual approach of the President can be seen.

In general, all these discourses are positive. And it is very important regarding global science and education to not get left behind. As switching to Latin alphabet will not only foster our integration to the global arena but also trigger foreigners to get acquainted with our culture and traditions.

References:

Kazakh language to be converted to Latin alphabet – MCS RK. (2015, January 30). Retrieved from http://www.inform.kz/en/kazakh-language-to-be-converted-to-latin-alphabet-mcs-rk_a2741711

Kazakhstan denies switch to Latin script ‘political’. (2013, January 18). Retrieved from http://www.inform.kz/en/kazakhstan-denies-switch-to-latin-script-political_a2527409

Zhantaykyzy, M. (2013, January 23). Kazakh Language to Use Latin Alphabet by 2025, President Says.  Retrieved from http://astanatimes.com/2013/01/kazakh-language-to-use-latin-alphabet-by-2025-president-says/

photo credits to http://www.kazpravda.kz/en/news/society/program-for-transition-to-the-latin-alphabet-adopted-in-kazakhstan/

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

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Your subconscious mind knows all the answers. But how to bring them to conscious mind? Simple morning habit will help you get tips from the subconscious mind and to develop a creative approach to solving problems.

“Your subconscious mind constantly works: when you are awake and even when you are asleep.” (Napoleon Hill)

The subconscious mind never rests, it is constantly on the alert, since it monitors your heartbeat, blood circulation, and digestion. It regulates vital processes and functions of your body and knows the answers to all your questions.

What happens at a subconscious level, will be manifested in your mind. In other words, what is happening inside, in the subconscious mind, is sure to become your reality.

Your goal is to direct the subconscious to find a solution for a problem that you care about. And here is a simple exercise that will help to do this.

10 minutes before sleep

“Never go to bed without questioning your subconscious.” (Thomas Edison)

This is a common practice for many successful people around the world – to force the subconscious to work while you are sleeping.

You will need only a few minutes before bedtime, to meditate or write questions, answers to which you would like to receive.

Make a list of issues that interest you. The more accurately delineated a question, the more meticulous will be the answer. While you are sleeping, the subconscious mind will begin to work on this issue.

10 minutes after awakening

Studies suggest that the prefrontal cortex is more active and capable of creative solutions immediately upon waking. Your subconscious mind worked during sleep, having created contextual and temporal relationships; thus creativity is to be born from links between different parts of the brain.

In an interview with Josh Waitzkin, he mentioned about this morning habit – to use the subconscious mind to find unexpected solutions and connections.

In contrast, 80% of people aged 18 to 44 years old are checking their smartphones in the first 15 minutes after waking up, whereas Waitzkin goes to a quiet place, meditates and “resets his mind” in his diary. Instead of focusing on the external, as most people do (checking their notifications), he concentrates on the internal. Thus, he achieves a high level of clarity, ability to learn and creativity – the state, which he describes as “crystallized intelligence.”

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If you are not used to jotting down your thoughts, “resetting your mind” may seem complicated. Actually, jotting down your thoughts about solving a specific problem is enough.

Now consider a question that you send to your subconscious mind before you go to bed. Remind all the questions that interested you. Think about it and write down what you want to find out. Then go to sleep.

First thing in the morning, start writing everything that comes to mind regarding the problem that challenged you.

Hence you can find answers to any questions: how to solve a difficult task you are working on, how to write WAs you are struggling with, how to improve relationships you are carrying on and etc.

Of course, you should practice mastering this skill. But over time, it will be easier to get answers from your subconscious mind, to find creative solutions and trust your instincts.

Conclusion

One cannot change the circumstances but may change their mind and thus indirectly modify the circumstances. (James Allen)

Your thoughts are a plan of your life that you are going through with every day. When you are learning to control your thoughts, consciously and unconsciously, you are creating the conditions that make achieving your goals inevitable.

You are the creator of your eternity. This simple habit will help you realize what you want to achieve and how you want it done.

References:

Zorina, I. (2016, May 20) Prostaya utrennyaya privychka pomozhet naiti reshenie lyuboi problemy [Simple morning habit will help you find an answer to any question]. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.ru/2016/05/20/prostaya-utrennyaya-privychka/

Photo credits to https://www.powerofpositivity.com/delete-and-reset-your-mind/        http://www.learning-mind.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/

Genius is simplicity!

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photo credits to http://lifehacker.com/the-feynman-technique-helps-you-study-faster-and-retain-1790501936

 

Procrastination is not the only obstacle students face while their studies. You can be not ready for your classes even if you spent the whole night reading what you were given. Nobody deserves to be in stuck after reading comprehensive information. However, this happens frequently. “If you cannot explain it simply, then you do not understand it well enough” or in other words “If you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, you do not understand it yourself” is the claim of Albert Einstein who was awarded the Noble Prize in physics. Whereas another physicist Richard Feynman who is also the Noble Prize winner proclaims a way (method) to do so. Feynman Technique is a very simple but very effective method that you can use while learning something new, trying to remember a theme, or preparing for exams.

There are two types of information (knowledge) and we often focus on the wrong type of information. The first type of knowledge is based on knowing the name of something, the second type of knowledge is based on knowing that thing. Of course, they are not the same things. One of the greatest factors behind the success of Richard Feynman in understanding the difference between knowing something and knowing the name of something. Feynman tells this distinction in this striking anecdote:

Can you see that bird? It is a brown-throated thrush bird which is called “halzenfugel” in Germany and “chung ling” in China, even if you know all the names given to it, you still do not know anything about this bird. The only thing you have learned is about people, how they call it. Now, this bird is singing, teaching her cubs to fly, and flying from the one end of the country to another for miles, and nobody knows how it finds its way.

As you can see here, knowing the name of a thing does not mean that you understand it. Do you really understand an idea or you know the definition of this idea, there is a way to test it. It is called Feynman Technique.

The Feynman Technique can be considered,

  1. To understand the issues/ideas you really do not understand
  2.  To remember the issues/ideas you understood but forget during exams
  3.  You can use it as an effective method of study before the exam. By using this method, you will be able to grasp deeply in a theme in a short period of time so that an idea will not be out of your mind for many years.

Let’s take a look at Feynman Technique now:

Step 1: Identify the Concept
Get a sheet of paper. Write the title of the topic you want to learn on the top of the paper.

Step 2: Explain it (to yourself in front of the mirror) as to someone who does not know the subject
Write down what you learned by avoiding using as many complicated expressions as possible to tell someone who is unfamiliar with the topic of the paper. If you use a language that is simple enough for a child to understand, it will also make you force yourself to understand at a deeper level and simplify the connections and relations within a topic. It will be much more effective to pronounce what you write concurrently.

Step 3: If you become struggled at any point, go back to your sources
When you find out that there are places you do not remember or are difficult to understand in step 2, go back to the resources you were working on. Read and study again until you are able to transfer what you learn to paper. Say, you have written about biology, and you have difficulty explaining evolution process in simple words. Open your biology book and re-read the part about evolution. Now close the book and write on a new blank sheet what you have learned about evolution. If you keep this stage running smoothly, you can keep working with your actual working paper.

Step 4: Simplify and Establish Similarities
Now we can look through the paper. Einstein’s “If you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, then you do not understand it yourself,” provokes simplifying your language and building similarities which will make it easier to understand instead of using a complicated jargon and making confusing explanations. Optionally: Find a six-year-old (or a person who has the intelligence like a six-year-old) and try to explain to them what you have learned. If it works then you have understood the topic.

This wonderful method not only makes it easier to learn and remember, it also allows us to rebuild ideas from the ground up by opening windows to different ways of thinking. It makes easier to understand ideas and topics more deeply. It is important that they approach the problems in such a way that we can understand what is the topic about.

References:

Damar, E.(2016, November 15) Öğrenmeyi ve Hatırlamayı Kolaylaştıran Yöntem: Feynman Tekniği [The best way to learn anything: The Feynman technique]. Retrieved from http://www.garajimdakiejder.com/2016/12/ogrenmeyi-ve-hatirlamayi-kolaylastiran.html

Tongue. Language. English. ???

english

photo credits to http://richardsonsresources.weebly.com/history-of-the-english-language.html

Language is a social phenomenon. Therefore, it can be directly related to the history and development of the society. Society influences the development of the language, but not under the laws of the society, its development is carried out by the internal laws of language. Thus we can only wonder what would happen if there had been no such thing as language.

First of all, when we speak about historical origins of a human language, it is of great importance to differentiate between the origins of language itself and variations of forms of a language that we use today. These two issues should not be confused. There are many studies trying to find the origin of human language from ancient times. Nevertheless, there are a variety of opinions and assumptions from different perspectives such as philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, and of course linguists; and even though it was considered throughout centuries, we still have no answer supported with evidence about the origin of human language. It is the question of the same level of complexity with an appearance of humankind. Despite the complexity of this issue, many research have been done on foundations of languages that we use today. It has been argued that there are groups of related languages, so-called “family trees.” Although, we cannot speak properly about the origin of a language, from the reputable source (Ethnologue, 2005) we know that there are thirty such kinds of family trees containing 6,912 languages in the world. Unfortunately, some of these languages are on the way of elimination while some are broadening. Even though the Chinese language has the most native speakers, English language is the most preferred and used one across the world.

With the spread of literacy, the release of publications, manuals in English for teaching foreigners English slowed its modification. However, some changes have been taking place at the moment. After the start of the expansion of the British Empire in many colonies in parallel with British English, American English began to develop, Pakistani English, Australian English, and other language variations. They are distinguished from each other only in pronunciation and some minor features of grammatical construction. English is strongly becoming a part of the everyday life of modern society. There is no surprise that the English language over the last half century has become an international language in which a significant portion of the world population communicates.

According to Kachru (1985) the way how the English language outspread is with the help of migration, that is, English speakers dwelled new places, and their language became the language of that particular area. Beginning in the British Isles (Scotland, Ireland, Wales) this spread moved towards early British colonials such as America, Australia, and New Zealand. In this case, English just replaced and displaced languages used before as sense of communication. Then, English become more acknowledged through the British Empire as Britain colonized Asia and Africa. English was settled as a medium of instruction in governmental, economical spheres and schooling system so that it demonstrated the high-status position of English. Finally, despite not being a language of everyday life in some developed countries such as China, Korea, and Japan as well as in most European nations, English has become the language correlated with globalization, modernization and window to the global economic arena.

Nobody can doubt that right now English is number one language of the world. Nowadays there are about 350 million native speakers and between 400 million and 1 billion second or foreign language speakers (Graddol, 2006). If the English language, as Philip Altbach calls it, is the Latin of the 21st century, which language in your mind can be the Latin of the  22nd  century?

References

Ethnologue (2005) (15th edition) SIL International.

Graddol, D. (2006). English Next. London: British Council.

Kachru, B. B. (1985) Standards, codification, and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quick & H. G. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literature (pp. 11-30). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press