‘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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Peer-orientation in schools

I have recently submitted speaking assignment 2 devoted to my experience of attending the 9th NIS international research-to-practice conference. While speaking about my general impression of the conference I also talked about the ideas of students’ peer-orientation and its implications in education introduced by Gordon Neufeld, a Canadian developmental psychologist. In this blog I would like to continue this topic and expand more on what teachers can do to prevent negative consequences of peer-orientation.

As I have previously explained peer-orientation is the process of children revolving around each other, or, in other words, the situation where students become more attached to their peers rather than their family members. The problem with peer-orientation is that being less attached to their families, that is a natural source of care, and instead orienting on their peers, children find themselves in a competing rather than caring environment. This environment makes the children more vulnerable to anxiety, suicide, frustration, drugs and bullying, which, in its turn, hinders academic achievement. Another significant implication for education is that no matter how good the teacher is, peer-oriented students tend to follow their peers instead of their teachers, and thus gain less from academic learning than they possibly could.

Neufeld argues that to prevent the negative consequences of peer-orientation and to establish the leading role of the teacher, student-teacher relationship should be cultivated. For this purpose, Neufeld suggests teachers to use his model of the primary instruments of attachment, which includes three concrete steps: collecting, bridging and matchmaking.

The first step is collecting, or establishing positive and friendly relationships with children. During the class, the teacher can collect students’ eyes and see that there is eye contact between the children and the teacher. Smiling and nodding is another technique used in collecting. The teacher starts to smile and nod to collect student smiles and nods in return. Special individual greetings are also of use during this stage. With shy students the psychologist suggests collecting ears, or to make sure that the students is connected to the teacher through listening to him or her.

Bridging is the technique used for maintaining the connection with students when separated with them. To make the students feel more secure and safe during the time the teacher and the students do not see each other, the teacher bridges the times of contact by saying when the students will see him or her. This is very close to what mothers do. They say: “I am always going to stay your mom” or “Will see you in the evening”.

Finally, matchmaking is establishing new connections using the ones you already have. Teachers can connect students to students, teachers to teachers, parents to students, parents to teachers or vice versa.

The argument here is that using these three simple steps allows teachers to improve the learning environment for the children and, by doing so, make the learning process more productive.

What do you think of the idea of peer-orientation and the techniques to combat its negative impact on students’ learning abilities? Do you agree that competitive environment is destructive or are you in the opposite camp seeing the competition as the driver of the progress? How important is teacher-student relationship in your eyes?

Photo credits to:×400.jpg




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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Is it possible not to overload yourself, but CREATE? Calling for MOTIVATION!


Photo credit to @uaxi

  Wake up, warm up.
  Take a mirror, ‘show up’.
  Breathe in, breathe out.
  You will have a great start!

The poems credit in this blog post to Ayana Mukuzhanova

Have you ever thought that you are overwhelmed with all your assignments and writing thesis? Do you wake up and go to sleep with the only thought: “I must do it!” ? You would better say “I want to do it!”. Now I would like to tell you one important sentence. You are not the only one, YOU CAN DO IT! Is it easy to say? Yes, it is. Is it easy to do? (Silence). By writing this post, which is far from academic writing, I would like to support all education professionals who are struggling to write their thesis and papers. I know, this time will probably hit you one day. I am not an expert to give recommendations, but I am a Master student, who could share some pieces of advice and speak from my own experience.

  Great start, heads up!
  Simply have a try out.
  You are making it up,
  And get rid of that doubt.

Firstly, try to see positive moments in your study, follow your OWN progress, and look back. Do you see the changes? This should MOTIVATE you and bring a positive wave into your studying. Do not try to compare your progress with the progress of another person. You are unique, you are different, and you are great!

  You have done, well done!
  Now let’s visit the town.
  Take some time to relax,
  You deserve to break ice.

Secondly, find your hobby. Do not tell that you do not have time for it. You have. Instead of procrastinating by doing nothing, with your hobby you will not procrastinate anymore, you will get a CREATIVE and relaxing product. For me, it is writing various poems. In this way, you will not be overloaded by studying.

  I love my thesis,
  My thesis loves me.
  Let’s create a big deal
  To support the ideal.

Thirdly, you should remember that a substantial amount of people all around the world write thesis papers, and they did this! Think of it as “It is just another paper” (Montgomery, 2017). You should understand how much you are interested in the topic of your thesis. The principle: The more…, the better. The more you are interested in it, the more you will get a joy. After you add your voice on a particular topic, you will get into this field, and become the part of it.

  Time passes by,
  Sometimes I don’t mind.
  If I had another chance,
  I would think of this twice.

Next point to share with you is time value. Do not think of the result and end of the process. Otherwise, you will miss the precious time and all the positive moments which you will never face the second time. In the case of academic writing, write everything step by step. Do not write for the sake of writing, do your best, and you will be okay.

  Never think of some feedback,
  Like it is a huge mistake.
  It is just a third hand
  That will help you till the end.

The last, but not the least piece of advice is to look at feedback that you get from your Professors as a great help, and not a punishment. At first, it was difficult for me to accept some feedback, and I got upset. Now I understand that I am in the process of getting knowledge, and I will learn my whole life. There will always be feedback, both positive and negative. The only think is to LEARN from them.

To conclude, I would like to thank my MA NUGSE id2016 group mates. You are fantastic! All of you will do their best to overcome some difficulties and take out of it only POSITIVE outcomes. I hope that this post would support you and all education professionals.

Imagination – Idea – Research

What is a research to me? Before explaining what a research world means to me, I would first start with Einstein’s quote: “Imagination is the highest form of research”. Following this quote, I will describe a research process in 8 steps.

The world of research to me is a convivial atmosphere, that consists of imagination and creativity. I believe that imagination is a very crucial process of any research, which finally can lead to vital ideas. That final outcome of a vital idea is the base of my research world. What does this mean in practice? I usually try to imagine the situation itself forming a picture or symbols in my mind. Imagining a situation on a particular issue prompts new ideas for a new research. However, it is not the case when I just imagine the situation itself, but rather imagine it based on a previously written text ( article, books, newspaper, and etc.). The ultimate level of imagination finishes with the benefits people ( different stakeholders in the educational sphere) can get from a research and successful outcomes.

Now when the research world is explained from my perspective, I would like to continue with 8 important steps of doing a research. Why 8 steps? Because research consists of 8 letters. Too simple.

Step 1. Remind yourself of what you are researching. Always keep in mind the focus you set in the beginning.

Step 2. Educate: train your mind or recall the abilities/skills needed for research.

Step 3. Select: always be careful with sources you choose.

Step 4. Elicit: draw out some important elements while synthesizing sources.

Step 5: Analyse: examine in details the information you elicited.

Step 6: Recall: remind yourself one more time on a purpose of your study.

Step 7: Cooperate: remember that you are not alone. There are a substantial amount of emergent researchers as you who believe in a bright future. Talk with others and share.

Step 8: Hope: finally hope that someday proper actions will be taken based on your research.

Personally considering all these steps, I can surely say that the world of research is unique to everyone. Because it is the uniqueness of your mind and character that leads to bright ideas!



Creating an Academic Community

Image result for social constructivismSocial constructivism tells us that knowledge is created through social discourse–communication, sharing ideas, and discussion–in a community.  I want to take a minute to show you what I think that means at NUGSE.

Students at NUGSE are creating knowledge together.

NUGSE three covers

From the theses that are currently being added to the NU Repository, to the student run journal NUGSE Research in Education currently working on its fourth issue, to this blog, with 738 original posts–it is clear that we have something worth saying and that we have the means to say it well. NUWG’s most read posts:

“Kazakhstan plans switch to Latin alphabet” by @nazguln, 1,258 views
“Education-job mismatch among graduates. Thesis topic” by @sholpannur, 802 views


“The deficiency of the trilingual education reform in Kazakhstan” by @yessenova, 502 views
Image result for code switching
 “Translanguaging vs. Code-switching” by @maira1291, this month’s most visited post, with 79 new views

Students at NUGSE are collaborating in and out of the classroom.

Students work together in many ways. In the classroom, they complete group projects, solve problems in class discussions, and debate important ideas in education today. Outside the classroom, the interaction continues in course discussions on moodle and here. Just to give you some statistics: Blog alltime stats

Students at NUGSE are connected to a vast network of international scholars, educators, and students.

Blog views all
Website views, 2015-2017

It is important to realize that you are not only connected to your peers, but also to many international readers who want to learn about what is going on in Central Asian education. We have readers from all over the world; our students have been noticed in other blogs; and researchers in the US have written in asking for the contact information of our journal article authors.

An academic community requires active participants who are willing to speak up, step out of their comfort bubble, and share their work with the world. This community is clearly alive and well, and ready to continue growing.

With that in mind, welcome to the Nazarbayev University Writers Guild!

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.

Photos retrieved from 1) 2)

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

Video retrieved from

Video retrieved from

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



Learning new vocabulary became easier with Quizlet

Learning the vocabulary and terms is the difficult task for any person. A big amount of new lexis is not kept in one’s head, thus, it is important words to be practiced and recalled. Obviously, limitless of exercises and ways exist in learning new vocabulary, e.g. by repeating the word for several times, hanging stickers with words on the walls, writing a word in one language on one side and another language on the another side, switching the language in a smartphone or a computer. A widespread strategy to divide a notebook into three columns is not effective because of the high possibility to lose or tear the notebook and less possibility and time is available to rewrite it. Therefore, I would like to suggest a new approach and website to learn vocabulary – Quizlet.

Quizlet is a free online service where you can create flashcards and teaching games and practice the vocabulary. The author of this online tool,15 years old American student Andrew Sutherland, invented it when they were asked to learn 111 names of animals in French. In order to make his life easier, the teenager created the mega project which is complement by 3 million users each day and in 100 languages. The idea of this service is not complex, all you need is to register in, and add a translation or a definition of a word in the form of cards.

Quizlet offers to learn words though games by creating a list of vocabulary which is called ‘sets’. The words provided with translations might be presented as a list of definitions, images or photos with explanation. The sets created by other individuals might be changed or added into the list of your page. Making the list of words in English is not time-consuming as terms are already ready for use; you need to type the words in other languages though. Then, you may start the exercise. You can select the necessary set and learn it as it is, but it may bore a learner and is not always effective. Instead, the designers of the website propose several sorts of games for decreasing the time spend for learning and encouraging the word learning process. After practicing vocabulary, a test might be completed in order to know result. Four types of tasks are available (“multiple choice test”, “matching”, “write a word”, “true or false”), it is particularly effective when a teacher checks their learning. After having learnt each set, the statistics is constructed to trace the progress of learning. You may create a class, trace their result as well as see the record made by your students in games, which extremely advantageous in awakening students’ interest.

To sum up, this service offers a diverse range of functions: it is free and accessible, provides engaging exercises and games,  enables to trace students’ progess as well as to see the record made by students. Most importantly, it is simple and flexible tool in use which allows to learn new words easily and willingly.


Tongue. Language. English. ???


photo credits to

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?


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

A question of discipline

Image credit: A. Kazhigaliyeva, A. Tazhiyeva, A. Chsherbakov.

The picture above illustrates the results of a survey my fellow students at NUGSE and I have conducted as part of our Linguistics class.  We asked the participants to give their free associations to a particular word in Russian, and then, a few days later, to the same word, but in Kazakh.  The word clouds show the associations given to the word education: the left one in Kazakh and the right in Russian.  Have you spotted the difference?  Clearly, the Russian associations are much more varied.  But, what is more interesting, if you look at the actual words, you will see that they reveal completely different views on the concept of education.  The one on the left focus on the institutional aspects: teacher and school, while the other one favours a personal development orientation expressed through more abstract terms: knowledge and learn.  The purpose of the exercise was to identify a Whorfian effect in Kazakh-Russian bilinguals.  It is unlikely that we have done that, but I think we have still found something interesting here. Continue reading A question of discipline