All posts by yasawi859

‘Anti-Shala English’ Feedback

Hello wonderful students of 7B and 7C, NISA IB!

I hope that now you could get acquainted with me!

I am sharing my first impressions within the contest. Mr. Dumankhan isn’t consistent, is he? He had already changed 3 types of Dumlars so far! What’s more unusual is that he calls them ‘masterpiece’! Seriously?!


He now started to make me more complicated by trying  to add different challenges. He is going to take away your Dumlars if you speak any other languages but English. I just think that he doesn’t want to add 0.1 point so easily for your summative!

About students. Some of you are trying really hard to earn the Dumlars. I do really appreciate that. Yet there are some students who do not speak at all and earn the Dumlars. It’s actually strange. There is another category of students who stop speaking English after 5 earned Dumlars. I can’t understand them, too.

The teacher’s purpose for me was to encourage you to speak and improve your English.


Enjoy your lesson, enjoy your English!






Meet the youngest school principal – NU Graduate

As the continuation of my superhero blogs, today we mention Shakarim Seisenbai – the youngest school principal and he is only 27 years old and he is a graduate of Nazarbayev Unviresity Master’s Program. Man who answered to all critics who doubted about the quality of NU Masters programs. A man who wants to bring changes in, make innovations and break stereotypes.

He wants to create and make investments in his school. This is something rarely practiced in mainstream schools in Kazakhstan. By the way, attraction of investments is not the only thing that Shakarim Seisenbai plans to implement in 54th lyceum (the school where he is principal). He pointed his global plans in Facebook, entitled “50 steps of school education” and detailed the plan of action until September 2018:
– Create a teacher’s room with all the facilities for teachers so that they can develop and learn from each other.
– Develop functional areas for students (for example, open space sites and places for co-working).
– Organize various clubs for students (Media club, Photo club, Cooking club, Drama club).
– Create a multi-functional office, a kind of HUB inside the school, where there will be trainings, seminars and various meetings.
So there are 4 main goals on the way to the school of the new generation proposed by this young brave principal. It is obvious that to achieve these goals, of course, his school needs funding. Already there are different stakeholders who were not indifferent, who expressed a desire to support an open initiative, but still not solved the issues.
Recently, he attended a meeting in the Mazhilis (White House) on topical issues of the education system, where one of the topics was the role of board of trustees. The Board of Trustees is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that unites on a voluntary basis all those who are interested in the development of schools. So, taking advantage of his position, he wants to announce a meeting to the society by hash tag #make54greatagain and create such a board of trustees that will really help the school, and together the school will achieve its goals.
So if there is still a gap in your plans after graduation do not forget to consider the school principal position!

Teaching STEM subjects in English: experiences and challenges of secondary school teachers

As one aspect of becoming a competitive country the Education system of Kazakhstan set a long-term goal that states: Secondary school science teachers should be able to conduct their lessons in English language. The disciplines to be taught in English were biology, chemistry, physics and computers and the international research term for the science subjects was known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The plan of how this reform might be implemented ‘lit a bulb’ in my head. I decided that this should my thesis topic and started to investigate the experiences and challenges of teaching STEM subjects in a local context.
There were very few schools in Kazakhstan which had an experience of teaching science subjects in English. Having interviewed my interviewees I came across interesting findings.
The main experiences of these teachers were regarding terminology issues. For instance, there was a dispute about whether to restrict the usage of L1 and L2 or whether to allow code-mixing during the lesson. Teachers also shared their practice on their teaching approaches. Thus, in order to make a lesson more engaging teachers were using ICT, gamification and CLIL approaches. The surprising factor of these teachers was that they spoke a lot about teacher’s personality. From this, I concluded that how teachers act and try to collaborate with students during the lesson are, perhaps, the basic skills that help them to overcome the challenges.
There were three major findings that came from teachers’ responses about the challenges. Majority reported that there are difficulties with mixed-ability of learning of students. Some students understood the content in one lesson, when others had to repeatedly put efforts. There were also existing stereotypes regarding students’ gender in learning STEM. Female students were believed to be less successful at science subjects. One last finding about the challenges was about language barriers. The same as students had different abilities to learn, pupils also had different English proficiency levels. This, set new obstacles for teachers.
In conclusion, I believe that the country is on the right track and that this reform will be successfully implemented in Kazakhstan. Right time never comes if you do not go for it and when, if not now?!science-clipart-nature-6


Who is your superhero?


I am a researcher. During the time when I was collecting data (interviewing) for my thesis, I came across an unexpected discovery. STEM teachers (whom I interviewed) asserted that students often got uninterested towards the lesson. In such an atmosphere one student complained: ‘If only my STEM teacher was a superhero, I would always stay focused!’ Despite sarcastic notion of the student, there seems to be two huge issues hidden under this statement. Imaginary ‘superheroes’ have a greater influence on our children than real educators. Mass media does not properly enlighten real heroes. Do we have real heroes? Sure!

“Bilim-Innovation” Lyceums (BILs) in cooperation with Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan presents…

Superheroes of STEM education in Kazakhstan: Ordabayev Almas Yerkinovich and Zhumadilov Yerzhan Yesetovich


Almas Yerkinovich is a chemistry teacher. Despite his young age, not only teaches his students the basics of chemistry, but also brings up their ability to get to the point of being on their own, always be ready for the competitions that temper the character. He is the winner of the republican olympiad among teachers. Winner of the regional contest “Best author’s program”. He also holds a bronze medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad (Giongsan, Korea, 2006), a silver medal at the international Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad (Yerevan, Armenia, 2006). He has a number of honorary letters and letters of thanks.

The effectiveness of the work of Almas Yerkinovich is confirmed by his victories at various olympiads. For only 5 years of pedagogical activity, his pupils have already managed to stand out and become prizewinners of regional, republican and international olympiads.

Yerzhan Yesetovich is a physics teacher at Taraz BIL. He is a talented physics teacher and a winner of many physics olympiads not only on individual basis but also a hero who impacted his students to be as successful as he is. He also prepares materials in a new format for physics students to get prepared for Unified National Testing. Moreover, Yerzhan Yesetovich is considered to be an innovative teacher by being an author of articles such as «Benefits of project based-learning» published in Stavropol, Russia.

These are only two teachers from many hero-STEM-teachers in Kazakhstan.

To conclude, I do not want future students to search for ‘imaginary’ heroes elsewhere. I want them to see heroes by looking at their teachers and get motivated to learn.



‘Tar Zaman’ – A story of my Kazakh language

Kazakh language is a unique language. It had passed through many challenges in its history. Starting its usage from the middle of 15th century Kazakh language is considered among the eldest and richest languages in the world.


There are many periods that worth paying attention for in the history of the language of people of the Great Steppe. For instance, if we consider current situation we can surely state that Kazakh language is developing and taking more and more influential positions in the Kazakhstan. However there were times when Kazakh language had a role of a heritage language. The language was almost ‘killed’ by another dominating language. The language as the Kazakh nation itself had to survive. And we survived!

The period I mentioned is the two decades between 1920s and 1940s. There was a huge political change that affected Kazakhstan in many ways. The mentality, traditions and languages had to be adapted under the Soviet rules. The Great Famine in 1930s decreased Kazakh nation’s population to 1/3 from 6 to 2 millions. Part of a population had to migrate to another countries. Consequently, the Kazakh language status dropped from being a national language to the status of a minority language in its own country.

Moreover, during these two decades the Kazakh alphabet used three alphabets. Before the Soviets Kazakhs used Arabic writing for its alphabet. The Arabic writing was replaced by Latin script. After a while the Kazakh Latin script was adapted to Cyrillic alphabet. All these changes in a short period affected to Kazakh language and the nation very negatively. The most of the population had a very low level of literacy, thus it made Kazakh the language spoken only  in rural areas. This situation limited the usage of Kazakh language and lessened its perspectives. The people who used only Kazakh and who could not communicate in the dominating language had no opportunity to take governmental positions.

These all can be named as ‘Tar Zaman’ of Kazakh language. In order to step in a brighter future we need to take into consideration lessons from our past!


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Mass media: You say NIS International Conference, So What?!

For two days during October 26th and 27th a huge academic event took place in Congress Center, Astana. The event which is annually held is named NIS International Research-to-Practice Conference, this time dedicated to the topic of Values, Wellbeing and Innovation for the Future of Education.

This conference served for a very important aim as it stated that: “The Conference brings together a global audience of leaders, thinkers, policymakers and practitioners to discuss policy and practice in secondary education, and plays a crucial role in driving forward educational reform in Kazakhstan (IX NIS International, 2017).” Personally I had no doubt that this event would be on top headlines of all mass media in Kazakhstan including channels, social networks and magazines. Unfortunately it did not.Although the conference brought together a global audience of the most respected researchers, it turned out that it has nothing to do with Kazakhstani mass media.

For me this shows deep disrespect and very poor treatment towards to the whole education, in particular to the schooling system. In general, there were a plethora of international experts and almost 1500 participants overall. What else does the mass media need in order to highlight this huge conference? Apart from few today, regretfully, mass media gives priority to the news like: which star divorced whom, who is the most beautiful police and who is the bride of Korean pop-star. It’s an issue that needs to be thoroughly reviewed by whomever. It is out of logic to doubt the impact of mass media on the generation. So, if the country wants the education system step forward it is vital to enlighten this type of conferences to the wide audience.

Let me finish this blog at the positive point and tell you more about the conference itself. I have no regret that I participated in it, it definitely worth time and money spent on it. It was intriguing to meet researchers whom you only read in books in real life. The participation in the conference motivated me to take part in it again next year, this time in a role of a presenter of my own thesis! And what about you?!


IX NIS International Research-to-Practice Conference. 2017. Retrieved from

Episode 104 : Eric Berlin – Using Puzzles to Promote Creative Thinking

This podcast is a dialogue with Eric Berlin, a fan of creative thinking by using puzzles. Differentiation of terms: ‘thinking creatively’ and ‘creating’, Eric’s site for puzzles, types of crosswords and integrating puzzles in the classrooms are among the main ideas of the episode.

The creators tried to inform and persuade the listeners. How do i know? The creators informed about the benefits of puzzles by giving logical arguments. For instance, creators say that puzzles teach kids how to ask right questions in real life situations. They also make a point on that puzzles can be helpful in developing meta-cognition and problem-solving skills. Thus, Eric persuades the listeners to use his own site where he had launched a variety of puzzle-resources for free. The site is available to be utilized by all: teachers, students and parents in order to promote creative thinking.


The episode provides different evidences for popularizing puzzles and using them in creative thinking. Seeing problems as puzzles; a character of Winston in Eric’s three books for children aged from 9 to 12; different ways of crosswords; competition of MIT mystery hunt; teams’ collaboration in life-puzzling events these are all the factors that  help this podcast to achieve its initial purpose and made it extremely interesting!

I learnt a lot of new things from this podcast as it was in a way unique and joyful to listen to. I would recommend this podcast to my group mates who are parents. Because the puzzles by Eric do not have exclusive subject concentrated on, but are mixed, the puzzles have variety of vocabulary starting from city names ending up with math terms. All my group mate-parents have to do is just watch and listen as their children solve these puzzles. Then they can see the gaps of subjects where their children feel weak. The puzzles’ cliche is: ‘fun first, education second’. So there is no doubt that the puzzles will be entertaining as well as involving children into active thinking process.




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Dr. Juldyz Smagulova – the ‘star’ of the Kazakhstani research!


Dr. Juldyz Smagulova is Acting Executive Director of Language Center, assistant professor of MA in Foreign Languages Program. Assistant Professor (PhD, King’s College London, UK; Candidate of Sciences, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan, MA in Linguistics and SLA, University of Minnesota, USA)

Dr. Juldyz Smagulova is my favorite research author with a very interesting biography.  She is an author and co-author of many books. She is very devoted to the researching and mainly interested in language policies including multilingualism and language planning. Dr. Juldyz published more than 20 articles on these topics in different International academic journals.

I had a chance of meeting her in person in a conference that took place in Astana in 2016. There I participated with her in a master class devoted to a curriculum problems regarding trilingual education in a multilingual Uzbek school. Listening to Dr. Smagulova’s dispute after the master class, I marked the line of an outstanding model of a researcher. I decided for myself what qualities best suits the researcher and what aspects I should improve in myself in order to  become a better boffin. The qualities I admired most in the professor were her confidence during a speech and a constructive criticism. Moreover, she showed braveness in explaining and putting into debate some issues regarding the trilingual policy in schools as well as defending the rights of language minority children in Kazakhstan.


Dr. Juldyz Smagulova is a versatile person and a researcher with original thoughts. That same year she conducted a lecture to MA1 group on different actual academic topics during her visit Nazarbayev University. One of her views I admired most was about the changing the image of the Kazakh language. According to her it was not right to associate Kazakh language with only Kazakh nation. This is exactly what happens in Kazakh language textbooks when a child sees pictures of a grandma and granpa sitting together around kazan, playing dombyra in a kyiz uyi. After hearing these types of examples I felt very lucky to meet such a skillful scholar and likened her to the “star” of Kazakhstani research, was I wrong?!


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An overview for the language of “Chinese-looking Muslims speaking Russian”!


What historical events affected its formation? I am quite acquainted with the comparisons for the word “Kazakh” like “The Land of the Great Steppe”, “The Alash”, “The Land of Nomads” and “The Eternal Country”. However the comparison with “Chinese-looking Muslims speaking Russian” was quite unusual, yet it sounded right! The reason why Kazakh look Chinese is because of the Mongol Invasion in 13th century, Kazakh are Muslims because of the Arab missionary activities which started in 8th century Kazakh also speak Russian because Kazakhstan has been a part of the USSR, where the state language was Russian. Kazakh alphabet changed 4 times: ancient Turkic runic writing (3-8 centuries), Arabic script until 1920-s, Latin alphabet was used in 1929 and current Cyrillic alphabet since 1940. Due to this issue the parallel can be made with a relatively deliberate process of linguistic imperialism of Russian over Kazakh which occurred through specific policies as well as discursive practices (Phillipson, 1992).

What’s so special about Kazakh language? What is the current situation with it? Kazakh language is unique in its own way. It is the state language of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is estimated that it is spoken by 64.4% of the country’s 18-million population with its use strongly promoted by the government. Today the estimated number of its speakers reached for 15 million people (CIA World Factbook, 2017). It turns out that there are quite a large number of people who even think that Kazakh is a dialect of Russian! Kazakh and Russian languages are totally different languages. Kazakh belongs to Altaic languages being a part of the Turkic language group while Russian belongs to Indo-European languages being a part of the Slavic language group. The current Cyrillic alphabet contains 42 letters, 33 of them taken from the Russian alphabet and 9 specifically designed to represent Kazakh sounds (Thompson, 2014).


What is the future of Kazakh language? The President Nazarbayev addressed to the people of Kazakhstan “Strategy Kazakhstan-2050” (2012) that the Cyrillic-based would be replaced by a Latin-based script with a presumption time that the change would take place by 2025. The Latin script is believed to lead Kazakhstan to greater global integration. Nowadays it is very important to promote Kazakh language especially among youth. Every citizen of Kazakhstan must remember that Kazakh language is the treasure of our ancestors for all people living in Kazakhstan which should be carefully appreciated and left to the future generation to be inherited with pride!


CIA World Factbook. (2017). Central Asia: Kazakhstan. Retrieved from

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Strategy “Kazakhstan-2050”. (2012). Retrieved from:

Thompson, I. (2014). Kazakh. Retrieved from

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School for me is scary!


Today it is almost impossible to be unconscious of LGBT trend in education and especially in schools which to some extent is being popularized globally. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. ‘How you see me’ and ‘LGBT High School Students Share Their Experiences’ videos give a sharp-cut notion of existing problem, bullying and verbal harassment of LGBT youth in schools. “School for me is scary…”, “My mates are nitpicking me…”, “I am tired of being unnoticed…”, “I am afraid because I do not know how my friends will perceive me…” are some responses of students with non-traditional sexual orientation. Slater (2013) who strongly supports all-inclusive education claims that “all American youth are in dire need of inclusive sex education to improve their health outcomes and help build safe school environments where they can thrive.” She also marks the importance of stopping inaccurate, exclusionary, and ineffective programs that discriminate students.

All these rises a question: how three trend-setting countries deal with harassment of LGBT youth in schools?


United States: an Identity-Based Model.

The rich history of identity-based movements in the U.S. (civil, women’s) provoked and prepared the LGBT movement for social change. While there is still much to be done to break the cycle of marginalization of LGBT youth in schools in the US, the US model shows promise and is aimed at both interpersonal and structural harassment. The states’ anti-bullying legislation awaits Senate approval.

 Germany: A Unity Based Model.

Although LGBT activism is relatively less strong, the accent there is made on increasing the comfort with sexuality among youth. The sex education is integrated into classes such as English, Biology, German, Literature and others. Germany’s model is one that offers many lessons to LGBT and motivates them to learn.

Brazil: Making Change from the Top.

The politicians taking action in culture shifting and combining two previously mentioned samples are the key components of the Brazilian model. The components also include widespread teacher training, in-school support from civil society, youth-focused school evaluations, and a hybrid of state to create schools with LGBT inclusive education. (Wagoner, 2010).

There is almost no data about this tendency in Kazakhstan’s education system which points to the fact that fortunately the LGBT is not the case in our schools. Kazakhstan was among countries which were against enactment of “The UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender” in 2009. Moreover, the legislation prohibits marriage between people of the same sex since 2011. (Law on marriage, 2011). However since LGBT in schools is the worldwide issue it would be injudicious not to prepare an educational system for an upcoming unwanted change.


Law on marriage in Republic of Kazakhstan. (2011). Retrieved from,1,1,4470289-v-novom-kodekse-rk-o-brake-i-seme.html.

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Slater, H. (2013). LGBT-Inclusive Sex Education Means Healthier Youth and Safer Schools. Retrieved from

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Wagoner, J. (2010). Advocates for Youth. 2000 M Street NW, Suite 750 Washington, DC 20036. Retrieved from