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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.

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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
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“Education-job mismatch among graduates. Thesis topic” by @sholpannur, 802 views

 

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“The deficiency of the trilingual education reform in Kazakhstan” by @yessenova, 502 views
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 “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.

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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!

Is the need in trilingualism justified?

Linguistic diversity is perceived to be an effective lever to solve many economic and social issues all over the world. Our country decided not to stand aside and adopted the Trilingual educational model (hereinafter TEM). In terms of this program it is expected that by 2020, all schools will provide education in Kazakh, Russian and English. Currently, trilingualism in Kazakhstan has gained both followers and opponents.

One of the most adamant supporters of TEM is the Minister of Education and Science Yerlan Sagadiev. He claims that youth that graduated from school with Kazakh medium of instruction has fewer opportunities to get good quality of education and young people from rural areas have difficulties in entering the leading universities. Mr. Sagadiev asserts that TEM will help us to eradicate the gaps between Kazakh and Russian and attain the equity between all students from all schools and regions of Kazakhstan.

TEM came under the criticism of the distinguished Kazakhstani journalist Gulnara Bazhkenova (2016) in her article “A story of Kurtakys who only speaks Kazakh”, where she throws a light on the issues of the contemporary education in Kazakhstan such as failed attempts to attract foreign teachers and 58% of functional illiteracy of Kazakhstani people. She questions the possibility of making Kazakhstani people to speak English language so soon with regards to its peculiarities: “located in the remote place of the continent, far from the English-speaking world with no well-established cultural and historical links, not having maritime power with the port city, which receives ships with multilingual sailors on board, and having one of the last places in the international education rankings” (Bazhkenova, 2016).

The policy makers are undaunted by the impressive number of the opponents of TEM. The interest of our government in trilingualism originates from the best experience of the world’s leading countries. Newspapers and magazines dazzle with descriptions of paramount educational systems of the multilingual countries of the world. However, Finland, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong-Kong and many other countries have in common not only established multilingualism but one of the best economies, high per capita financing and creative teaching approaches. Thus, it is erroneous to presume that knowledge of three languages is going to make an educational revolution and uplift Kazakhstan to the tops, isn’t it?

 

Reference

Bazhkenova, G. (June 27, 2016). Istoriya Kurtakyz, kotoraya govorit tolko po-kazakhski. [A story of Kurtakys who only speaks Kazakh]. Esquire Kazakhstan. Retrieved on January             16, 2017, from                                           http://esquire.kz/4077istoriya_kurtka_kiz_kotoraya_govorit_tolko_po_kazahski?_utl_t=fb