Victor Rios: Help for kids the education system ignores

When I studied at school I had a classmate for whom I had a lot of respect because he had an exceptional talent for playing the dombyra. He also was good at all schools subjects and he was always rewarded for his good behavior. But after the death of his mother, he started to behave many times inappropriately and sometimes criminally. However, the school did not have anything to offer him against his regress. He dropped out of school. But Victor Rios knows how to help children like my classmate who was failed by the education system.

Victor Rios, an educator and the author of the project “Restorative justice”, claims that students who experience poverty, stigma, and social exclusion need to be seen as the assets to the education system. In his speech, he explicates how he, being on welfare and incarcerated in prison three times for three felonies in his 15, could graduate the school successfully. His hero is his teacher Ms. Russ, an educator who managed to tap into his soul and believed in him so much that she tricked him into believing in himself. The speaker offers three strategies to succeed in working with such children.

First – these students are empty containers for us to fill with knowledge.
Getting rid of deficit perspective in education like these people come from a culture of violence, a culture of poverty, these people are at-risk, and these people are truant. Instead, he says, we need to offer solutions for their problems. In order to make his argument effective, the speaker highlights how his teacher Ms. Russ treated him, respected his family, his friends, his community no matter what and turned him from a criminal into a high-achiever. The evidence is pertinent and powerful, especially with the presence of photos before meeting Ms. Russ and after.

Second – value stories that young people bring to the schoolhouse.
Victor Rios says that their stories of overcoming insurmountable odds have already established their character. And he claims that this character is a precursor for the academic achievements. To prove, the speaker gives two stories about hard-work ethic that his community taught to encounter poverty and his student William`s deed to help his classmate that was also learned from his community too. Giving such reliable pieces of evidence from real-life situations of the speaker and his students make his claims strong. The examples provided are impressive that makes the audience believe that welcoming stories of every community is an effective strategy to raise students` academic performance.

Third – provide with adequate resources.
He talks humorously about resources. The strongest point of this argument for me was about the power of believing in students. He takes himself as an example. However, what other things does he mean by saying resources? The point would be much more impressive if he had illustrated more and precisely.

However, the minute detail that is not clear is that Victor Rios talks about educators as the only and primary cause for student dropout. In other words, after his speech, I was left with the opinion that teachers only can help students who experience poverty, stigma, and social exclusion. Maybe his initial aim was to accentuate the role of a teacher to empower students in order to make the successful academically, however, he looks at the issue only from one perspective: from his own perspective as an educator. Perspectives of parents, peers and other stakeholders are worthy to mention too.

In general, I find this talk as the most persuasive and impressive because he presents arguments and ideas not without being underpinned by shreds of evidence. And his pieces of evidence are powerful and reliable because he gives examples from his own experience; he gives examples from what he has encountered. Additionally, the talk is rich with catchy phrases like “when you teach to the heart, the mind will follow”

Code-switching as a strategy for a social cohesion in Kazakhstan (data interpretation)

Kazakhstani society has been featured by the dominance of linguistic purism at least on an official level (Fierman, 2006). Monoglossic ideology also retained during independence with Kazakh language promoting policy and such linguistic practices as code-switching, that is, the use of both languages in the same sentence was academically and politically despised (Muysken, 1995). Although, as it was mentioned above, code-switching was an unfavorable phenomenon especially on official levels, it turned to be widely practiced among both russified and Kazakh-speaking population. Code-switching along with code-mixing became an indispensable part of linguistic practices of bilinguals, that was considered as a “colloquial language use” (Muhamedowa, 2009). The practice of mixing languages in some cases became a means of claiming identity or the demonstration of belonging to a certain community, for example, international school students’ use of code-switching in their daily conversation (Akynova, Zharkynbekova, Agmanova, Aimoldina, & Dalbergenova, 2014). The following data interpretation is based on about two-minute long video clip called “Мен казакпын” (“I’m Kazakh”)  made by Ivanov, a Kazakhstani blogger of Russian origin, who uses code-switching attributed to his Kazakh affinity. The author is known for creating his comic videos about social life in Kazakhstan, which sometimes reflect main issues in a society and satires on such detrimental phenomena as corruption, high-rolling habits, the low responsibility of government bodies.

YouTube blogger Fim Ivanov published his video clip of a song “Men kazakpyn” right before the celebration of Peoples of Kazakhstan Unity Day, which he remarked at the description box. Meaning of the word “peoples” here attributes to “nations”, which symbolically reminds us that the 1st of May is the day of celebration of other nationalities of Kazakhstan, indicates this video as his tribute to the solidarity and peace among other ethnicities of Kazakhstan.

Use of intersentential code-switching in the first line of the song “Я казах”, “Meн казакпын” (“I’m Kazakh”, first sentence in Russian, second in Kazakh); “Весит кредит”, “Мен Туркияга кеттим” (I have a credit (Russian), I’m going to Turkey (Kazakh) and intrasentential in such utterances as “Казахша сойле, а то,” (“Speak Kazakh (KZ), otherwise” (RUS), “Дома сижу, мен шай ишемин” (“Sitting at home (RUS), having a tea (KZ)”, etc. illustrate that author wanted to become appropriate to Kazakhs’ lifestyle and demonstrated it through adding Kazakh phrases or words to his Russian text, or changing his name “Fima” to more Kazakh styled “Fimeke”. But then, the presence of grammatical mistakes in phrases and a lack of Kazakh typical letters, that were substituted with Russian alternative letters in words like “ишемин” (“drinking”) instead of Kazakh letter “і”, or “казахпынгой” instead of “қазақпын ғой”, where several letters have been kept in Russian, and grammatically were incorrect: two separate words were connected. At the first sight, those mistakes and Ivanov’s poor Kazakh pronunciation may seem to be the result of low language competence of the blogger, but his description near the title reveals another point:

“For those who do not understand why there are errors in the text. This is done deliberately, as many Kazakhs do not know their language. And when those people start talking it, they are immediately humiliated. When you speak abroad, in bad English, you will simply be corrected or kept quiet. Do not necessarily discourage people from speaking the Kazakh language, everyone will learn it in the future. Peace for everyone!”

This message explicitly conveys the author’s attitude towards the state language, his belief that it will be acquired by majorities. He draws public’s attention to Kazakh-speaking part of the population, so-called “nagyz” (“true”) Kazakhs opposed to those who do not or hardly ever speaks Kazakh – “shala” (“half”) Kazakhs. The first one tends to react aggressively to the latter who are not fluent in Kazakh, even in those cases when “shala-Kazakhs” are learning it, but struggle with speaking. Hence, the author calls “nagyz” Kazakhs for understanding and compassion to Kazakh learners, not endless shameful blaming. Moreover, author through the use code-switching implicitly shows how language can be learned with the help of the first language and “one nation-one language ideology” not always works effectively (Woolard, & Schieffelin, 1994).

Another distinctive feature of a song is its ambiguity, presence crossing or possible absence of it. Crossing is a form of code-switching that is executed by a performer who tries through that to become closer to the imitated language or language community (Rampton, 1998). However, Ivanov tries to imitate Kazakhs through depicting their lifestyle in a stigmatized manner: he collects and names well-known sometimes infamous facts from everyday lives of Kazakhs, such as endless tea parties with excessive consumption of it, a habit of coming late to weddings, a necessity of having friendship with influential individual and impractical high-rolling of money even at the expense of low family budget. The audience in the comments section has been divided into two different groups: those who support the author and claim his crossing in lyrics have positivity, and others, who asserted Ivanov was mocking at Kazakhs and was focused only on flaws based on stereotypes. Personally, I could not find any offense in the video content and in the song, except the use of features of stereotypes about Kazakh culture, which I am sure were used for humoristic effect.

To conclude, the author demonstrates how through code-switching a universal language may be shaped for both nagyz-Kazakhs and shala-Kazakhs, bilinguals and thus, viable in conversation. Following his claim on keeping tolerance, understanding and positive attitude towards those who learn the Kazakh language for more than longtime Kazakhstani society will witness gradual full acquisition of a state language and will not kill Russophones’ desire to learn it.

His video encourages interethnic solidarity and harmony in Kazakhstani society who barely speak state language, but could use code-switching for communication. Also, it develops patriotism among Kazakhstanis, when they see a young non-Kazakh man performing in a popular among young people trap style and claiming his Kazakh national identity through his own language.

Akynova, D., Zharkynbekova, S., Agmanova, A., Aimoldina, A., & Dalbergenova, L. (2014). Language choice among the youth of Kazakhstan: English as a self-representation of prestige. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 143, 228-232.

Fierman, W. (2006). Language and education in post-Soviet Kazakhstan: Kazakh-medium instruction in urban schools. Russian Review, 65(1), 98–116.

Matuszkiewicz, R. (2010). The language issue in Kazakhstan-institutionalizing new ethnic relations after Independence. Economic and Environmental Studies, 10(2), 211-227. Retrieved from

Muhamedowa, R. (2009). The use of Russian conjunctions in the speech of bilingual Kazakhs. International Journal of Bilingualism, 13(3), 331-356.

Muysken, P. (1995). Code-switching and grammatical theory. In L. Milroy, & P. Muysken. One speaker, two languages: cross-disciplinary perspectives on code-switching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rampton, B. (1998). Language crossing and the redefinition of reality. Code-switching in conversation: Language, interaction and identity, 290-317.

Woolard, K. A., & Schieffelin, B. B. (1994). Language Ideology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 23(1), 55–82.




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Images of North Korea circulating on the web give a glimpse of the hardships commoners face there; a few succeed to flee to the developed South seeking a better life. Curious to know how escapees adapt to new life in South Korea I came across a youtube video, where the two interviewed mention Hanawon (하나원 means House of Unity in Korean). Reading some articles, I was ambivalent about this settlement support centre, which by 2009 had trained nearly 90% of the 16,000 defectors in South Korea (Glionna, 2009). This blog post thus is dedicated to what I have unearthed wondering how Hanawon copes with “easing the socioeconomic and psychological anxiety of North Korean defectors; overcoming the barriers of cultural heterogeneity; and offering practical training for earning a livelihood in the South” (Demick, 2010, p. 249). 

Judging from defectors’ feedback online, the three-month training at Hanawon tries to help them deal with socioeconomic and psychological anxiety. The new citizens receive special treatment including cheap accommodation, settlement funds of ₩20 million ($18670) and ₩320,000 ($300) as a monthly allowance for five years (Song, 2004). Such support serves as an airbag to escapees when adjusting to a new society. Financial aid is all the more necessary given that in 2008 75% of almost 600 residents at the centre suffered from depression or other mental problems, which is likely to take a toll on their earning capacity (Glionna, 2009). While the struggling certainly receive counselling to relieve psychological anxiety, the centre’s exterior appears disturbing. The school buildings in a secluded area patrolled by dozens of guards remind me of a prison than a good educational institution. On top of that, intelligence agents grill residents in an attempt to weed out spies (Glionna, 2009). I can imagine all the stress they go through. Are the new South Koreans able to start a new life with the way Hanawon reeducates them?


photo credit:

The answer lies in the measures taken to help defectors adapt to the very different culture of South Korea. Within the three-month crash course residents also develop basic skills to survive in the capitalist society: they learn to use buses, ATMs and computers and they learn the standard (Seoul) Korean language (Glionna, 2009). The knowledge absorbed at Hanawon is crucial to get by considering the contrast in modernity between the North and the South. Yet it does not suffice to make the new South Koreans feel welcome and equal. Many of them have complained how harsh of a world to live in the society turned out to be. The locals are extremely individualistic. It is a characteristic so foreign to the Northern counterparts, those indoctrinated with socialistic values. It further widens the gap and adds to the discrimination the defectors face. They already get labelled as traitors and spies (Onishi, 2006). Of course, many would say it is not the duty of Hanawon to spoon-feed the newcomers, but I think the latter at least deserve to get a taste of reality before entering the society (Kang, 2015). They deserve not only to hear about a few success stories of North Koreans, but also to know of the walls the majority of North Koreans face.

Having success in the capitalist society is important. But far more important is not being a failure. I hope that Hanawon provides more realistic and practical education and training for newly arrived North Koreans.

Kang, 2015

One of those walls is the matter of employment. Few companies hire North Koreans (Onishi, 2006). Many defectors despite being just as skilled as the locals resort to part-time jobs and low-tier professions. How is Hanawon supposed to tackle it?! Well, I think they should be honest with the residents and tell them what is to be anticipated. More practical skills related to job-hunting would be appreciated. At this moment, you might realize the scale of the problem is appalling; the society as a whole mainly rejects the defectors and it is high time for it to change or to at least be more tolerant. Still, Hanawon is partly to blame since it lets the “students” set unrealistic expectations. The students think of South Korea as of a paradise after the hell they fleed from. 

In short, I inadvertently think of how similar Hanawon is to the schools we attend. We are often taught only about the successful cases, not failures. Being honest would help a lot. Hopefully, Hanawon is taking notes and developing its format of procedures to better re-educate the new South Koreans. North Koreans deserve all the best as they start a new chapter in their lives. 



How to defend yourself against misleading statistics in the news | Sanne Blauw | deconstraction

Number is an incredible tool that makes us decide, judge and act according to the given evidence with no assumptions. However, not all these statistical numbers are reliable and this is our personal matter believe them or not. Sanne Blauw is a journalist who has a PhD degree in econometrics and is extremely passionate about numbers. Moreover, she had a working experience at the OECD and the University Council. Her talk was dedicated to reveal the misled statistics which everybody encounters with. She provided 5 types of misinforming statistics:
Firstly, the good looking graph
Not all good looking graphs might be presented right. As an example, Sanne introduced the graph of the Planned Parenthood which is non-profit organization providing reproductive health services. This graph was reported by the republican of Congressman as showing negative indicators. However, the presented data was not right as this graph was based by two different scales. Putting these patterns at the same scale would change the situation completely. The rate of cancer-screening and preventive services was decreasing but the abortion rate had hardly removed.misleading-statistic-planned-parenthood


Retrieved from
Second, the polluted poll
The headline from the New York Times was presented: “1 in 4 women experience Sex Assault on Campus”. It means almost 25 % of female students face with the cases of sexual assaults. However, the problem with this was that only 20 % of women were involved and the term of sexual assault was not clarified. Consequently, there were non-representative sample of women who interpreted the sexual assault in their own way. That is why it is also a kind of statistical lie. It is always important to see how the data was collected.
Third, the overconfident decimal point
GDP is a great indicator to show the countries` economic stability. According to the reporter this number usually varied as it is so complicated and time-consuming to calculate. Additionally, a huge range of components make GDP considerably difficult to measure. As a result, we cannot fully rely on this total value of country`s economic prosperity.
Forth, the non-spectacular statistics
Before taking some numbers for granted, it is essential to pay attention for details. Therefore, additional context or details might turn more considerable numbers into less ones. The case of bowel cancer risk is considered there. Headline in the Dutch News reported that: “People who eat processed meat daily have a 20 times higher risk of getting bowel cancer”. Sanne emphasized that according to the data there is only 4,4 % chance of getting bowel cancer in the USA. If you eat daily about one hot-dog still this number will increase slightly to 5,2%. However, the chance of NOT getting cancer is significantly greater. So, putting numbers in a context is essential as well.
Fifth, The cocky correlation
Some the same things happen at the same that is why researches assume they are connected with each other somehow. The reported introduced the graph of the increased number of brain tumors from 80s to 90s. The researchers assumed that this increase is due to the invention of artificial sugar at this period. But the reason lied simply on the invention of MRI scanners which contributed to the revealing of more numbers of brain tumors. The speaker described this case as the most dangerous distorted statistic.
Overall, the author raised great ideas and observations worth to spread. During the presentation she was confident and organized. From the very beginning she used a couple of techniques to involve the audience as asking questions, saying jokes and famous statements, as well as proving her personal background information. While making reports people sometimes did not examine the data correctly. From the presented topic we as students can learn to be very careful with numbers despite the original sources and providers. However, some points of her presentation are taken from other internet resources that is why we cannot assume that they are her own ideas. Her speech is seemed dedicated mainly to raise people`s awareness of misinform statistics around us.

Discrimination of Kazakh language in Kazakhstani television

According to a program “Rukhani zhangyru”(MoES, 2017), state language is a main key of national consciousness in other words it is very important to increase the status of Kazakh language in context of globalization and avoid losing language, identity, culture and patriotism. TV’s role in increasing the status of Kazakh language in Kazakhstan is vital, because among other media it is “more prestigious, influential and strong one”. However, there is lack of Kazakh TV programs on our state channels because of dependence on Russian television. Here, I am going to discuss about the issue of hindrance of Kazakh language in television world through articles in mass media, which touch the question.

Ұлттық идея. Ұлттық мақсат-мүдде. Бәрін орындайтын тіл… Тіл – тарихи дәстүрлерді болашаққа жеткізуші тетік. … Бүгінгі ТД БАҚ-тың ең беделдісі, әрі өтімдісі, ең өткір ақпарат құралы, әрі солай болып қала береді. ТД өнері жалпыұлттық, мемлекеттік мәселені шешетін – өте құдретті қару. Алайда отандық арналарда тіл тазалығы ақсап тұр, басты себеп, қазақ ТД орыс тіліне тәуелді.

National idea. National purpose and interest. All of these are implemented by language… Language is a mean, which brings historical traditions to the future… Today’s TV is the most prestigious, influential and strong mean of information and it will continue. TV’s art is a mighty weapon, which can solve all-Kazakhstani and state problems. However, language purity is crippling in state channels, main cause is that Kazakhstani TV depends on Russian language.

(The State language development institute, 26 April 2017; a quote from Uldai Ibaidullyeva, a journalist; Kazakh – italics, English Plain)

Ibaidullayeva shows two sides of the TV’s impact on language use. On the one hand, it might cause language loss, because it influences strongly the usage among citizens today, which leads to the loss in the future. On the other hand, it can be a key to resolve problems on the whole Kazakhstan territory. She also mentions that Kazakh language is discriminated because of reliance on Russian language. Here we should notice that growth of Kazakh status in all spheres is an important issue and her focus on media, especially TV should be taken into account. Another author – Myrzan Kenzhebai – agrees with the power of TV:

Необходимо казахизировать отечественные телеканалы. Потому что телевидение – самое сильное и опасное оружие ХХІ века.

There is a need to kazakhisate national channels, because television is the most powerful and dangerous weapon of XXI century.

(NewsTimes, 8 September 2017; a quote from Myrzan Kenzhebai, poet, cultural figure of RK; Russian – italics, English – plain)

Another author highlights real statistics, which show the same trend as above:

С повышением процентного соотношения казахский семей, повышение рейтингов казахскоязычных программ, казалось бы, должно стать закономерным явлением. Но, согласно итогам исследований за январь и февраль 2012г. частота смотрения телеканалов на казахском языке сократилось еще больше!?

Along with an increase of percental proportion of Kazakh families, it seems that a growth of ratings of Kazakhs-speaking programs must be natural phenomenon. However, according to results of the investigation in January and February in 2012, frequency of watching television channels in Kazakh language deteriorated more than bedore!?

(Internews Kazakhstan, 27 March 2012; a quote from Karlyga Ibragimova, a journalist; Russian –italics, English – plain)

It is a general picture of Kazakh-speaking channels in 2012 from the view of Ibragimova, who bases on Gullup Media survey’s results. Despite number of Kazakh has risen, proportion of watching TV channels in Kazakh language decreased. It is not an understandable fact, because situation must be opposite. Author cannot propose a cause of the consequence. She just show the statistics and point out that Kazakhstani programs are not as popular as Russian ones:

Показатели программ на казахском языке намного отстают от показателей программ на русском языке. Это можно понять, сравнив не то чтобы месячные или недельные, а однодневные процентные показатели новостей. Например, по итогам однодневного исследования Gallup Media рейтинг новостей Национального телеканала «Қазақстан» — 1,8%. Даже те же новости КТК, но на казахском языке — 3,9%. Выпуск «Информбюро» на казахском языке 31-канала — 7,8%; А выпуск новостей на «1-канал Евразия» в передаче «Время» собрал самое большое количество зрителей — 23,7%… У утренней программы «Таңшолпан» рейтинг всего лишь — 2,9%. А «Доброе утро» на «1-канала Евразия» дает все 22,3%.

Indexes of programs in Kazakh language lag behind indicators of programs in Russian. It can be understood when we compare not monthly or weekly indexes, it is clearly seen from daily indicators of news. For example, according to daily investigation of news on National channel by Gallup Media Ratings, results are following: “Kazakhstan” – 1,8%; news in Kazakh on “KTK” – 3,9%; news release of “Informburo” in Kazakh of “31st channel” – 7,8%; but news release of “Vremya” on “1st channel Eurasia” attracts the largest quantity of viewers – 23,7%… Rating of morning program “Tansholpan” only – 2,9%; but “Dobroe utro” on “1st channel Eurasia” – 22,3%.

(Internews Kazakhstan, 27 March 2012; a quote from Karlyga Ibragimova, a journalist; Russian –italics, English – plain)

Author would like to emphasize that Russian news, culture and TV shows are more interesting and attracting rather than Kazakh ones. According to above-mentioned statistics, approximately quarter of citizens in Kazakhstan watch “Vremya”, in other words Russian events, which broadcast in Russian, has top position in Kazakhstan. The most interesting Kazakh news in Kazakh language covers only 7.8% of Kazakhstani citizens. Author demonstrates her disappointment about unpopularity of Kazakh programs in comparison with Russian in Kazakhstan territory.

I would like to mention that none of the authors of the articles found out causes of such kind of trend, but they proposed some solutions of the problem. For example:

… Вместо этого нужно показывать новости и передачи, в которых обсуждались бы проблемы казахской государственности, земельных отношений и другие серьезные темы, заставляющие задуматься казахскую молодежь.

Instead of this, we should show news and programs ,which discuss issues of Kazakh government, land relationship and other serious topics, which make Kazakh youth think.

(NewsTimes, 8 September 2017; a quote from Myrzan Kenzhebai, poet, cultural figure of RK; Russian – italics, English – plain)


… Көрерменге үлгі боларлық кейіпкері бар хабарлар көргісі келеді…

… Spectators would like to watch programs about characters, who can be paradigm…

(The State language development institute, 26 April 2017; a quote from Uldai Ibaidullyeva, a journalist; Kazakh – italics, English Plain)

Extracts above shows that there is a shortage of appropriate programs in Kazakh language, which can attract Kazakhstani youth. It does not mean that TV organizations ought to design funny and exciting programs. It explains that it is important to create programs, which raise modern important questions among Kazakhstani citizens. In my opinion, it is not right, because we should recognize the reason of the “disease”, before offering of the “treatment”. Otherwise, treatment is likely not to work.

To sum up, I would like to emphasize that the above-mentioned extracts demonstrate results of collision of two ideological discourses (Hult & Pietikäinen, 2014). First, it is consequence of previous “Soviet ideological” discourse. It has affected the Kazakhstani citizens’ language choice, because most people are interested in opting Russian language in any form (speaking, listening, watching etc.). Second is “Kazakhisation ideological discourse”, which is current strategy of the country. Despite our government is implementing many programs and initiatives in order to rise Kazakh status in globalized Kazakhstani context. These two ideologies influences each other, however, if the government focus on reasons of such kind of problems, we can develop the situation and Kazakhisation ideological discourse can be alive in pluralist discourse (De Jong , 2011, p. 249), which can be result of trilingual education.



De Jong, E. (2011). Foundations of Multilingualism in Education: From Principles to Practice. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon Publishing.

Ibaidullyeva, U. Teledidar tili nege shorkak? [Why is there a lack of Kazakh]. (2017, April). Retrieved from

Ibragimova, K. Kogda my perestanem prikryvatsya reitingami i nacnem zashishat interesy kazakhskih zritelei? [When do we stop to hide behind ratings and start to protact interest of Kazakh spectators?]. (2012, March). Retrieved from

Kenzhebai, M. Sem obyazatelnyh shagov kazakhisazii ot deyatelya kultury RK [Seven mandatory steps of kazakhisation from cultural figure of RK]. (2017, September). Retrieved from


Public intellectuals & the future of information, Erica Stone (Deconstruction)

In her TED talk, Erica Stone raises the issue of public access to academic researches that are done due to public money but distributed privately. She suggests that the research papers should be freely available to the public not only in its original version, but also it should be “translated” into the language that is understandable to masses. This process, according to the speaker, can be accomplished through republication of research papers in open-access journals and in popular media.
Stone critically explains the current research publication systems. According to her, once scholars write and peer review an academic paper on the research findings (that is done due to public or private money), they publish it in academic journals. Then, for-profit companies resell it to universities and libraries through journals as well as database subscriptions (e.g. we can access to those databases because NU library purchased subscriptions). Stone highlights this moment saying: “if the public is funding academics’ research, but then we have to pay again to access the results, it’s like we’re paying for it twice”. Although it might sound very simplistic explanation, indeed, it is a reasonable argument. What is the point of public funding if it is not freely available to the public at the end? So, there should be a payback process, as the speaker says, instead of feeding a monster.
Although this issue tends to be solved through some open-access databases such as Google Scholar, the speaker claims that simply giving the research report cannot be complete access to the public. She suggests that research results should be translated into popular language through mass media so people could understand and implement it in a real life. Also, according to the speaker, this would allow to people to recognize university’s identity based on researches that they conducted rather than only knowing them by degree programs or football teams that they have. Though I agree that most research reports are unavailable to the public in terms of clarity (easily understandable) and popularity, I assume that very important researches that really matter get spread anyway. On the other hand, again, who knows, maybe there are countless number of useful researches that we are not even aware of or understand.
The speech is convincing and clearly explain what she advocates. She effectively gives examples from her own experiences and statistical information. Up to know, I have read several articles that raise the same issue and suggest almost the same solutions. However, although it highlights only expected outcomes of her claim but not possible negative consequences, this speech is more concrete, much more optimistic and solution-centered rather than empty critiques.

Every kid needs a champion (Deconstruction)

As a teacher, I am aware that teaching profession is not the easiest. Although working with children might be delineated as funny and amusing, sometimes it might have its difficulties as well. However, if teacher and student understand each other, the process is likely to be successful. In her TED Talks speech, educator Rita Pierson, who has worked in this field for more than 40 years, raises the issue of the relationship between teachers and students. She uses expressions of famous Americans and shares her personal experience in order to explicate the importance of the relationship to be successful in teaching and learning.

In the beginning, the speaker provides examples from the words of James Comer that states “no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship” and George Washington Carver’s opinion, which is “all learning is an understanding relationship” in order to underpin her claim. Personally, I found these statements pertinent, since they highlight the significance of relationship in a learning process.

What I like the most from her speaking are the words “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”, which she said to her colleague, who considers she doesn’t have to like children. I think I like it because I have had such situation in my personal experience. As a schoolgirl, I didn’t use to like Physics and didn’t have that passion to study it as had it for the Chemistry. After watching Rita Pierson’s video, I understood that the matter was in my Physics teacher. She was too critical and sometimes rude. On the contrary, the teacher of Chemistry was friendly and tried to build a relationship, which made me be interested in her class. That is why I can state that I completely agree with the speaker that relationship is far more important than it seems. The statement she said to her colleague might seem as an assumption, but not for me, since I have encountered the same situation myself.

Moreover, the speaker espouses the Stephen Covey’s idea, which states that simple things are also important in building a relationship. She doesn’t just emphasize this idea is right, she also practices it in her own experience. It can be seen from the example when she apologized for her wrong teaching to students. As a result, students didn’t judge their teacher, but they just were sympathetic in relation to her. Here we can see that simple thing like apologizing plays a significant role in creating the relationship between students and their teacher.

Building a relationship is also beneficial in teaching students who are academically deficient. Teachers can motivate their students to study not by telling them off for their bad results or marks, but by encouraging them for their minute success. It is also one of the situations that Rita Pierson has had in her experience and considers to be advantageous. I agree with the speaker that it isn’t possible to like all your students, but teachers are just actors and actresses and they establish a relationship in order to direct them to the right way. So, they become a champion to their students, who will always support them.

Image result for every kid needs a champion

Photo credits to: Every-child-deserves-a-champion-.jpg

I was impressed by the speech of Rita, since it was compelling. I consider it is because almost all examples are from her personal experience. I highly appreciate her passion for what she is doing. It is not just teaching, it is also having a valuable human connection, which is the relationship.

Development of immersion education in Kazakhstan

Nowadays, the network of immersion education programs is becoming popular in most European countries. Historically, the first immersion education program was implemented in Canada in 1965, for Anglophone speakers who were taught French as a medium of instruction in elementary schools (Cummins, 1998). Introducing immersion education programs in most cases have benefits for people who will able to speak in a foreign language which leads to being bilingual or even multilingual become a full-fledged member in modern society, where speaking in several languages leads to building a successful career.

Over the last two decades, Kazakstani educational system has changed, when the idea of trinity of languages was presented by our president in 2007 (as cited in Irsaliyev et al., 2017), the first pilot schools began to implement trilingual education policy in three languages. As NIS schools are central schools which are translating the experience of implementing new school curriculum by teaching subjects experience into other state schools.

Introducing immersion education is not spread in all schools in Kazakhstan, because of the few studies in this area.  But, there are some pioneers in implementing immersion education in school education. There are NIS Kokshetau and Taldykorgan. Children from grade 1 not competent in Kazakh attend early immersion program in these schools, where they are taught Kazakh. The other two languages such as Russian is implemented as a second language (L2) for 2-grade children from the second term, while English is studied from 3 grade (Irsaliyev et al., 2017). In addition, 9-grade students are taught Kazakh in late immersion program which is implemented in Bilim-Innovation-Lyceums (BIL). Moreover, 46 % of the school curriculum is taught in Kazakh by “groups with The Russian language of instruction” (Irsaliyev et al., 2017, p. 135-136). The advantage of having proficiency in foreign languages, especially English might provide students an opportunity to take part in the international studies such as PISA, TIMSS and conduct academic research at international level.

However, during the implementation of immersion program, some challenges might appear. For instance, the school curriculum should be updated to correspond with the modern requirements of multilingual education.  It is still a lack of training courses for teachers and producing modern teaching materials both for teachers and students. The new methodology of teaching ought to be adopted and the curriculum should be updated to correspond with the requirements of the immersion education.

To sum up, the development of immersion education programs are new for Kazakhstan, but the first implementation of them in NIS and BIL, I hope it will have a positive attitude and help to improve proficiency in several foreign languages of students. On the other hand, in Kazakhstani context immersion education is required to do some research to find out the best way of implementing language immersion in all Kazakhstani schools in the future.


Cummins, J. (1998). Immersion education for the millennium: What have we learned from 30 years of research on second language immersion?  In M. R. Childs & R. M. Bostwick (Eds.) Learning through two languages: Research and practice. Second Katoh Gakuen International Symposium on Immersion and Bilingual Education. (pp. 34-47). Katoh Gakuen, Japan. Retrieved from

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”.




6 Problems with our School System (deconstruction)

The video is prepared by Next School which promotes upgraded educational curriculum under the highly innovative Big Picture Learning framework. The video explores some major problems that current educational system encounters in most parts of the world. The creators are claiming that current traditional educational system is outdated and needs to be refreshed. Although this video is mostly about an Indian and American school type, I try to connect it with Kazakhstani context. Let’s see if their arguments coincide with our situation.

The main argument of the video is that the real world is rapidly changing whereas, school system remains the same and not changed in hundreds of years. They claim that children are not prepared to real-life situations as schools have been established in an Industrial Age and have that mentality. Unfortunately, the writers do not provide an exact context within the video, that is why I investigated it myself and found that it was about India and U.S. However, if to contrast their claim with Kazakhstani situation, it exactly underlines our current situation. For instance, three months of summer holidays were designed in early 1930 to create a labor term which was a part of industrialization. According to the People’s Commissariat for Education of USSR, it ended in 1980. But, interesting to note that three months of summer holidays still exist in Kazakhstan up to these days.  Here, I was convinced that traditional school system is a legacy of an Industrial Age.

The next argument provided by the creators of Next School is the lack of autonomy and excess of control among children. They claim that “Industrial Age values lack of autonomy” and “every minute of a child’s life is tightly controlled”. Here, if to compare the situation with Kazakhstan, I completely agree that today there is a deficiency in autonomy among children, teachers and even principals. I speculate it to be a reminder of the Soviet times. Although I accept it as an aftermath of that times, I truly value the past education. But, education should coincide with the demands and globalization, not history.  It is true that every minute at school is controlled as 7 lessons per a day and 40 minutes’ lessons with 5 minutes of break. The child’s control, however, a subject that can be negotiated by their parents and teachers, and to treat it as a consequence of an Industrial Age without good pieces of evidence might be an assumption.

The other problems with the traditional school system are “memorization” and “extremely standardized system”. Firstly, the authors argue that children memorize not having a chance to perform what they have learned as they forget about it after an exam. They support authentic learning type where children will be able to apply what they have learned in a real world. Again, I was convinced with their idea of changing memorization with authentic learning strategy, but they should have provided some examples. As from the personal experience, we used to memorize a lot at school and even university. By saying ““extremely standardized system” the scholars mean that every child receives the same materials to study. They claim that children’s abilities are different and should be treated so. It might be true that kids have different capacity and potential in performing school task, but I think it might be more convincing if the scholars used more concrete examples in dealing with such issues.

Overall, the video was designed for all stakeholders in the field of education starting from children to policymakers. Although some arguments needed to be supported by good pieces of evidence, I was convinced that our Kazakhstani education system needs to be updated and reformed.  But, one thing that they did not mention is that change in education is mostly top-down process unless it is a private educational organization.  I would suggest providing more concrete examples of solving these issues.

What do you think of this video?


Next School. (2016). 6 Problems with our School System.[Video file]. Retrieved from