Category Archives: Multilingual Education

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

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      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 suggest some recommendations as 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.


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


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


Atheism 2.0 by Alain de Botton (deconstruction)


Looking at the title, you probably thought that this is a sequel of (often) controversial religion versus atheism debates. But when you watch the video thoroughly, you understand that it is much more different and worth discussion. In this Ted talk philosopher Alain de Botton suggests his upgraded version of atheistic philosophy: atheism 2.0. According to him, atheism 2.0 stands from ‘stealing’ useful elements from religions and at the same time being consistent to atheistic principles. He claims that atheism should go to the next steps and this philosophy should directly begin from “of course there is no God” phrase rather than debating existence of God. He gives examples of six aspects that ‘secular world’ could learn from religions: education, time arrangement, oratory, physical sermons, art and institutionalisation. While some of his examples are individual matters such as experiencing ‘spiritual moments without belief’, others aspects might carry social implications.
He suggests that modern education institutions should not be limited with teaching ‘information’ or ‘data’, but they also should help people with ‘morality, guidance and consolation’, like churches and mosques do. Also, he argues that universities should return from lectures (he defines it as ‘secular mode of delivery’ that gives ‘a bit of information) to sermon traditions (religious mode) where one can teach how to live. At the first glance, this very attractive opinion seems very objective and beneficial. However, how proper would it be if a public university is preaching morality or the way of living that one or some professors decided to be right? I think such so called ‘secular sermons’ would create a tremendous ‘opportunities’ for brainwashers to imbue any dogmatic ideology to their students. Time arrangement, oratory, physical sermons and art are indeed aspects that most religions embraced in a more natural way and this might be a lesson for modern secular world. Of course, one looking from religious perspective could argue its realization because de Botton excludes believing in the doctrine while religions usually develop them for worshiping purposes. Once it has relatively less social impacts when it is not used to promote dogmatic minds, here, de Boton’s version is undeniably personal choice to practice it or not.
In my opinion, word choice of the speaker in the video reflects his biased opinion. In the beginning of his talk, he prefers the word ‘stealing from religion’  for the benefits of secular world rather than saying ‘learning from religion’ or ‘religion could contribute’ to the whole society. He uncarefully uses the phrase ‘secular world’ without any explanation. Though the word secular obviously means being independent from religion or from any other supernatural beliefs, it does not necessarily mean ‘no religion’ or ‘only atheistic views’. Rather, in my opinion, the secularism and /or ‘secular world’ is usually understood as having multiple religions and non-religions without their influence on political powers. So, he views ‘modern secular world’ as a property of only secular people. Similar proposition is given in the his example of how people ‘replaced religion by culture’. Though he explains it as his personal conclusion from historical facts, he probably would not be able to prove it because religion (and atheism as well) is a part of culture rather than a different concept.
Despite my critical analyzes above, I agree to his central message of pluralism and open-mindness. The speaker’s bias shows how his focus is intended to only one audience. More in-depth explanation of how he views the idea in practice, more objective word choice and focusing on the benefits of the whole society rather than one group would make the message much stronger and fruitful.

Education Killer


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD one of the main abbreviations we have been encountered from the very beginning of our MA programme in Multilingual Education. “Educational Context and Reform in Kazakhstan” is one of those courses we were introduced to recommendations for further developments in education prescribed by OECD. Additionally, while writing one of my assignments on PISA, I “met” OECD again. The deed is that OECD sponsors the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). The latter was also one of the issues we talked about with our professors. Interestingly, we almost never discussed the “dark” sides of OECD or PISA until yesterday I found the letter written to Dr. Schleicher, the director of PISA.

83 academics from all around the world expressed deep concern of PISA test and came up with some suggestions for the next round of assessment. In their words, countries after the results had been announced started to overhaul their education systems in order to elevate the rankings. Based on quantitative data, countries are racing for the best rankings. Finland’s sudden decline from the top describes that standardised testing system is imperfect but it still is labeling students, teachers, and administrators as well. Given recommendations assisst countries to climb the rankings and those required changes need time more than three years (PISA cycle)! Additionally, PISA narrows the area of measurable education features such as moral, physical, and artistic development. “Why PISA provides less autonomy for teachers and harms children around the globe?” – this question is seen between the lines in the letter. It does not even consider socio-economic inequality taking place among the countries. Moreover, member countries pay taxes – millions of dollars. We do not exactly know how many millions…

What can I say about all the mentioned concerns of professors? These educated people are practicing teaching and research on education. They know more than those from economic development organisation. Nobody would not pay attention if the academics’ number was about 5 or 10. But 83! It means something. How PISA measures students’ ability to apply their knowledge to solve real-life problems with a pen and paper? I do not know, do you?

Embedding Russian into Kazakh songs

Language mixing in colloquial Kazakh is not something unusual or rare in Kazakhstan. People use Russian words like “уже” [already], “еще” [still; yet], “давно” [long ago], “по-любому” [in any case], “вообще” [overall], “пойдет” [it’s ok] very often in their everyday speech in spite of knowing their equivalents in Kazakh. More often these words sound more natural in speech than Kazakh equivalents of them. However, mixing languages in songs occur more rarely, and interestingly, when Russian is used in songs it sounds artificial or gives the song humorous tone. I attempt to analyze mixing Russian and Kazakh in two popular songs by the group Dos Mukasan by looking at similar patterns and contexts.

In both songs insertional language mixing takes place: Russian language (embedded language) is inserted (in the form of single words or of larger constituents) into the grammatical frame defined by Kazakh language (matrix language) (Auer & Muhamedova, 2005). A song called “16 қыз” [16 girls] is a joky song written by an unknown author in the early decades of the twentieth century. It was popularized by a group called Dos Mukasan in the 1970-80s. The language variation we can notice in the song is embedding Russian words and phrases into the Kazakh text. Each line of the two verses contains a word or phrase in Russian. In the first verse the words “генадушка”, “немножка” and “молодушка” end the first, second and third lines, which might have been done for easy rhyme:

Астыма мінген атым генадушка,

Шабамын көңіл ашып немношка.

Не стоит на свете жить етуге,

Азырақ ойнап-күлмей, молодушка.

In the original version the performers pronounce these words with a strong Kazakh accent, probably to emphasize the playful nature of the song. Here, the grammar of the matrix language (Auer & Muhamedova, 2005), Kazakh, is kept and Russian words are embedded without any change. But the most interesting case of inserting is seen in line three: the whole line is in Russian, but Kazakh ending is added to the word “жить” [live]. “жить” is a full verb in Russian that does not need an ending, whereas in Kazakh most verbs are used as a combination of two or three verbs. So instead of Kazakh “өмір сүруге” [to live], or Russian “жить” [to live], they say “жить етуге”. The phrase “жить етуге” is four syllables, which better fits the line, while “өмір сүруге” has five. So that might also be a reason for inserting a Russian word in that line.

In the second verse the pattern is different, as Russian words and phrases appear at the beginning or in the middle of the lines, not at the end. However, there is another use of Kazakh ending in a Russian word “сорт+тар” [sorts] in the third line. In this case a Kazakh plural ending is added to a Russian noun:

Қарағым, айналайын, черный көзім,

Никогда не забуду айтқан сөзің.

Второй сорт, третий сорттар толып жатыр,

Первый сорт қайдан тудың сенін өзің?

The chorus is mainly in Kazakh, except for some Russian female names and the last line which says “Я люблю тебя, Рая”. Although the embedding in the song is intentional, it clearly shows the social linguistic context of that time, when a lot of Russians were coming to Kazakhstan.

Another song of this group called “Су тасушы қыз” [literally: A lady who carries/delivers water] is about a girl who drives a water carter. As the word “водовоз” does not have a translation in Kazakh it was used in the song. The song was written by the group in the late 1970s and it might have been influenced by the song “16 қыз” [16 girls], as it has some similar use of Russian embedding. For example, the word “большой удар” [a big punch] in the second verse, rhymes with the Kazakh word “кейбір қулар” [some sly fellows]:

Әкелген бал-бұлақтан мөлдір су бар,

Сылтаулап шөлдей берер кейбір қулар.

Жасырда бұл совхоздың қыздары ыстык,

Абайла, алып қалма большой удар.

Overall, the song “Су тасушы қыз” has fewer cases of mixing Russian than “16 қыз”, but the tone and manner of two songs are very similar. Intentional use of Russian-Kazakh mix in a joky manner might be the reason for the popularity of the songs, and in more serious songs mixing languages would not have such an effect.


[Aleksandr Z] (2016, Oct 2). Дос Мукасан – 16 Кыз 1977 [Video File]. Retrieved from

[Дос-Мукасан] (2014, Jul 19). Дос-Мукасан – Су тасушы қыз [Video File].Retrieved from

Peter Auer & Raihan Muhamedova, (2005). ‘Embedded language’ and ‘matrix language’ in insertional language mixing: Some problematic cases. Italian journal of linguistics, 17(1), 35-54. Retrieved from

The role of human emotions in science and research by Ilona Stengel [deconstruction #2]

A scientist Ilona Stengel states a very interesting point about feeling in science. She claims that people in science should find balance between facts and feelings, because they are integral parts of each other. It is also should be mentioned that she is telling the story in parallel between her experience and experience of a main hero Mr. Spock in Star Trek. It gives an opportunity for audience to understand the topic better. Moreover, this “trick” is an attractive approach to focus listeners’ attention to the topic and speech. In general, it was a speaker’s stance to science through feelings by the help of real and fictional examples.

If we look closer, it is clear that her speech does not found only on specific experiences of a person and character. She underpins her idea by the graph, which is likely to be quantitative research design. She demonstrates that dedication, belonging and empowerment trigger the elevation of results in OLED devices development. However, it might be only one of possible factors, which can influence the increase. In my opinion, it could be considered as an assumption, because she looks at the issue from one side, which is related to her topic. I would have improved the speech by investigating other impacts and mentioned various feelings except above-mentioned three. Looking at the topic, I have expected something different in comparison with what I have watched. Author should rethink the topic in order to encounter audience’ expectations. Another case that I would like to notice that she talks more about OLED devices. It can be seem that her speech is likely to be some kind of implicit promotion of these gadgets. Thus, her speech is only one side and looks like an advertisement.

Despite I really like author’s idea that feelings are compounds of science and vice-versa. I completely agree that scientific researches are carried out by humans, consequently humans’ feelings can play essential role in implementation. Instead of Ilona Stengel, I would have considered mood and emotions and their affects on the procedures according to the given topic. She talks more about team-building and their dedication to the purpose, which is a bit further than the theme is.

In conclusion, I would like to tell that I have been attracted by the topic, but the speech has not satisfied my expectation. Surely, there was the idea, which is connected with the topic, in spite of this fact she talks more about team work and dedication.

Linda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction)

As I remember from my school days, our school principal was one of the greatest persons who inspired students to build on their strengths, persuading to believe that all dreams and goals are achievable. This experience allows me to construe that the principal is the key figure in education who keeps the balance in schools. When I saw this videoLinda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction) for the first time, I was speechless, because it really touched me with highlights of the impact and asset that this strong woman brought to the society. It was manifest from her speech that principal, teachers and students in school are more than the system. Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a great principal in Strawberry Mansion High School in the North Philadelphia, who has the 20 years’ experience on a special education for low-performing schools.  She is a solid principal who triggered off a broken school to ameliorate; the woman who had established a student code of discipline among the students with the most outrageous behaviour. The school is defined as a school with the bad reputation and was in the hit list of Philadelphia’s authorities as a “persistently dangerous school”. Nowadays the school is being transformed in a positive direction.

That’s how it was.

She claimed that there was no one around who could be a powerful principal to this school in the last four years, and finally she volunteered to be a principal.  On the first day of work she had witnessed her students fighting each other, after it she moved on to first action toward improvement. During the meeting, one girl named Ashley asked her “Miss… miss, why do you keep calling this a school? This is not a school”.  Linda says that this sort of question made her think back to her low-performing school where she had studied many years ago. Exactly, this was not a real school, the doors were locked with the chains, and the classrooms were almost empty, students carried weapons and there were a drug addicts. What is the worst that even the teachers were afraid for their personal safety. She obviously did a huge work to transform everything in the school, she compel herself to persist these challenges. In this way, her famous slogans were used as leverage to struggle for change. Anyway it seems to me that everything is not easy as it described in her speech.

Her first slogan is: “If you’re going to lead, lead”.

Cliatt-Wayman asserts that everything happens in the school depends on the principal. Being principal requires her to be a leader. She pinpointed that the leader should not sit back in the office, delegate work on others, and cannot allow herself to be afraid of tackling her students’ issues. Also, she emphasized that there’s nothing to be done alone. So, to carry out this task Linda gathered around herself the most skilled staff, who have the faith on children’s potential. All staff including teachers, police officers work constructively, tirelessly and consistently to help the broken school recover. Necessary steps were taken to strengthen the discipline entitled as: “Non-negotiable.” As a result, the school removed from the persistently dangerous list, which in my opinion reflects her truly leadership skills to lead people fearlessly. As she highlighted “Leaders make the impossible – possible”.

The next slogan is: “So what. Now what?”

The principal asserts that the school encountered the low attendance rate, many students were from dysfunctional families, they did not place a priority to study, and this in turn led the school fall behind.  Taking into account conversations about appalling conditions, bad-tempered students, the low results on algebra and literature, she set the goal in front of her colleagues: “So what. Now what? What are we going to do?” Linda depicts development problems and solutions, so she made teachers to differentiate the methodology which might be effective to pay respect to individuality of students. She made every effort to deal with the problems she encountered, but in this video she described only the top of the iceberg. For instance, I was curious to know how they elevate the level of education in details, what exact methods teachers used? So, these questions still required more precise answers.

Her final slogan is: “If nobody told you they love you today, remember I do”.

Her students had financial, social and emotional problems, and no matter what they had she tried to support all of them, because she knows the feeling what it’s like living on poverty.  She believes that opportunities for education and life skills help them to improve their lives and rise from poverty. Linda has daily conversations with her students and  she elevates with pinpoint accuracy those moments when her students feel themselves special, essential and awfully safe.

Though truth be told, my favorite spot is that Cliatt-Wayman has gained the respect and support of the audience on the basis of her work and results. She made tough decisions; she set a clear goal in front of her students, reminding them on a daily basis that education can change their lives.

In her speech there is a powerful message for all educators who have an opportunity to change the world, we should not stand idly by, experience the negative effects of poverty, and be satisfied with promises of authorities. Since any change would require broad support across all sectors of society, she encourages people to let us be prepared to take minute steps toward development of education worldwide.



Why are there fewer male teachers in Kazakhstani secondary schools?

No one can deny that the secondary school teachers play an important role to make a significant contribution to school education. There have been a considerable number of changes in Kazakhstani education recently.  As a result, the status of Kazakhstani’s teachers has improved. Despite the fact of improvement, we can notice the situation when a great number of female teachers work in schools than male teachers.  Nowadays, there are some reasons for a great number of male teachers are not motivated to work in schools.

To understand the situation better we can take a look at what happens in school education. The main problem of this point is low salary in secondary schools. According to statistics, the average salary per teacher is 18 times less than five successful multilingual educational countries such as Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Spain (Basque country) (Irsaliyev et al., 2017). In today’s globalized world, one cannot exclude that teachers, specifically young male teachers, do not want to work in schools because of low salaries in educational spheres. On this occasion, if they get insufficient fund, they will have a low level of motivation for teaching pupils. As a consequence, each of these male teachers will not able to make an individual contribution to school education.

As a consequence, of low salaries of teachers in Kazakhstan, the teaching profession suffers from low status and prestige. Nowadays, most parents identify “teaching in schools” as a work for women. According to State Program for Education and Development (SPED) for 2011-2020, in Kazakhstan, the gender imbalance is particularly apparent with more than eight women out of every 10 teachers in primary and secondary education on average (81%). From our daily life, there are lots of television programs where the prestige of highly-paid jobs is promoted by increasing economic ideology among people. For instance, a man who works as a teacher in secondary school is criticized by a society that he has a minimum salary who can’t afford to live in prosperity and support his family. In addition, from my daily experience and observation, I have noticed that modern young women prefer to build a stable long-standing relationship with men who have well-paid jobs instead of building a relationship with teachers who can earn small money in secondary schools.

To sum up, our country needs to consider the experience of five successful countries where the high status of teachers depends directly on high salaries as the status of the teaching profession influences on education system’s ability to attract male teachers. While Kazakhstani male teachers will not be received enough salaries in order to support themselves and their families, our students will be taught by female teachers.





Irsaliyev, S., Karabassova, L., Mukhametzhanova, A., Adil, A., Bekova, M., & Nurlanov, Y. (2017). Teaching in three languages: International experience and recommendations for Kazakhstan. Astana: JSC “Information-Analytic Center”.

MoES (Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan). (2010). State Program of Educational Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020. Astana: Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Ways of Unblocking a “Writing Block”

Remember those torturing periods when you cannot start writing an assignment, feeling embarrassed, hesitated and STUCK?! Sounds familiar? There was a post about procrastination and ways of battling it, but we should face another “academic demon” that wraps our effort in the start of doing assignments, and i.e. “writing block”. Its Russian equivalent sounds like “creativity crisis”, which precisely depicts the state of a student (or writer) as an inability to start or continue his writing work. Even if this phenomenon seems barely defeatable, any attempt is a chance to push it away. At least, there won’t be a solution without any effort.
Notably, it’s crucial to identify a reason for your writing block. They may be several at once: fear, perfectionism, devoid of ideas or loss of focus. When you are aware of a source of your writing block, there are more possible chances to find a solution for struggling with it.
Let me share my tips on how to overcome a writing block and end up with productive paperwork.

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First, take a break and focus on any physical activity. Sounds trite, but it works! Your mind needs a short-term getaway from a continuous overwork. My father always insisted on a systematic shuffle of mental activity with physical work and I do cleaning a house, gardening systematically along with doing my paperwork.

The second recommendation sounds similar to a previous one, although it is about looking for inspiration. Try to change your focus from your assignment because too much concentration causes a deficiency of diverse ideas or vice versa overload of ideas that enable mess in your mind. It is quite useful to draw your attention to those everyday activities, which you like doing on a regular basis, e.g. surfing social networks, watching favorite TV shows, reading a newspaper or visiting galleries (but do not be stuck there too!). There is also a chance of emergence of an answer for your questions from assignment or ideas for your writing work.

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Finally, become an illiterate, grammarian-free writer… for a while. The process of correcting mistakes through continuous editing your paragraphs and concentration on your stylistic errors results in a waste of much time. Ideas and your thoughts matter more than stylistically polished structures, so it is beneficial to start put your raw ideas first with a later proof check of your writing paper.

Hope, my tips on how to get over writing block will be useful for someone who deals with it. What are your suggestions and experiences in overcoming writing block?

The little boxes: Brian Michael Bendis at TEDxCLE (Deconstruction)

During this TED video in Cleveland, comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis is telling about his path to become comic book writer in Marvel studios. His speech begins by letting audience know that he is from Cleveland as well, so situation will be less formal. He immediately makes clear that his main audience are geeks, in order to look friendly with audience, he starts to make references towards comic book movies, like Avengers and Iron man.

Beside all the jokes and “breaking the ice” with audience, his main idea starts from the moment when he started reading his first comics. He felt like his mind was blown by this type of storytelling and people the authors of this comic book immediately became his icons. For Bendis at that time having his name on a cover of a comic book was the coolest thing to experience.

“I would like to do this. Whatever this feeling that I have, I would like to give this feeling to other people. How do you do this? Can you do this? Is there somewhere I can take a class to teach me how to do this? …I dedicated all of it (allowance) to trying to find out how do you make comics and how do you make them awesome.”

Even if he does not tell it directly, people he mentions affect him from different perspectives. Gil Kane and Frank Miller showed him that there are no strict rules in drawing, Walt Simonson treated young fan with respect to his talent, so he will be encouraged to continue his work. Most importantly John Totleban made him to understand that it is not right to question your life choice. As long as you like it, it is worthwhile.

It is not clear from the beginning, there are two main points in his speech. The first is that person must do things that he/she enjoys the most. The second is that if you want to become someone, you need to start working towards it. Bendis is not providing solid argument towards his claim, he just tells the story of how he became comic book writer. His whole speech is based on his life story and people who influenced his career choice.

“If you want to be in comics, you got to make a comic”

In my opinion Bendis’s life situation was unique, that is why his claims might not be applicable to others. He was surrounded by comic books, there were conventions in his neighborhood and Cleveland was place where Superman was created. That is why he had all the conditions necessary. Perhaps, he could make his speech better by giving example of a person who was raised in different environment and became successful in comic book industry.

I found this video interesting. Brian Michael Bendis is not the best speaker in the world and of course his arguments are not supported enough, but he does not need to. It is not complicated science video; this speaker gives us advice about life. No doubt it is subjective and might not work for everybody. Nevertheless, so much as people give us advices throughout our lives, it is useful to hear them once in a while.


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