Tag Archives: Astana

Family Language Policy: Kazakhstani Case

Family language policy (FLP) is a newly emerged concept and King at al. (2008) state that FLP “provides an integrated overview of research on how languages are managed, learned and negotiated within families” (King at al., 20087, p. 907).

Unfortunately, no case studies have been done to research this kind of situation in Kazakhstan. But as a member of a big purely Kazakh origin family, I can say about my own experience. Three languages are spoken by different generation in my family. The older generation, my parents spoke Russian when they were young, later, they changed their attitudes towards the languages and shifted to Kazakh. First reason was when they reached 50 years old, and acknowledged the importance of the mother tongue, and the second reason was when their children (my older siblings used only Russian because they went to Russian kindergartens and schools as there were no Kazakh educational establishments in the village) started to speak Russian more than Kazakh at home. So they decided to send me and my younger sisters to Kazakh kindergarten and school. So, the second generation (my siblings and me) are fluent in both Russian and Kazakh languages. The third generation (grandchildren of my parents) are trilingual; they speak Kazakh and Russian in their own families, and they are acquiring the third language; trilingual policy is embedded in their schools and kindergartens. When the whole family units or their children and grandchildren come to visit my parents, they all try to speak Kazakh because my parents are strict when it comes to the use of language and demand from all of them to speak only Kazakh. The second generation also does good attempts concerning the Kazakh acquisition; using “One Language-One Parent (OPOL)” strategy at home (Braun & Cline, 2014). One of my sisters speaks in Russian to her children and her husband speaks Kazakh to them; they do it unconsciously, because my sister cannot speak Kazakh very well and she prefers Russian and as for my brother-in-law, he just simply does not know Russian very well, that is why he speaks only Kazakh with the children. Children differently respond to both of the parents, mostly in that language that they were addressed to.

This is the only one case, but I am sure there are many cases in Kazakhstan; people simply do not publicise it and maybe they even do not know about the existence of the policy. FLP should be accepted as any language law because the government states to augment the use and status of the Kazakh language. Stakeholders, policy-makers, and researchers must fill this gap and develop not only LP but FLP as well. Adopting some other countries` FLP is not an option because it should be designed according to the Kazakhstani unique experience.


Braun, A. & Cline, T. (2014). Language Strategies for Trilingual Families: Parents` Perspective. Great Britain, UK: CPI Group Ltd, Croydon.

King, A.K., Fogle, L., & Logan-Terry, A. (2008). Family language policy. Journal Compilation. Language and Linguistics Compass 2/5. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Smagulova, Zh. (2008). Reforma shkolnogo obrazovaniya: bolshaya peremena [School education reform: big break]. Analytical group “CIPD”. Retrieved from http://agCIPD.kz/archives/602.

Whatever happens, happens for the better…

That is my last post in this year there was a great opportunity to improve different skills through blog post writing. This semester have remembered with tremendous number of assignments and thesis writing process as well. I know that it seems as a big pressure for us but as one of the proverb says “Whatever happens, happens for the better”. The best way to make it easy is to apprehend it as a game where you just play, it should not relate to the drama. Therefore, in this post I would like to share my small contribution and piece of thoughts about the mini-thesis writing process.

At the beginning, while writing the thesis, I have faced with some obstacles as well as my groupmates. The main problem was lack of sufficient time to do my daily work responsibilities and university assignments at the same time. The specific subject what I teach at Nazarbayev Intellectual School is Global Perspectives and Project work where students have to conduct their research on one of the Global issues. In this regard, to teach them how to conduct the research, and then check 40 research works of my students at the same time was challenge for me. That is why, I sometimes finished some assignments later than the deadline.

The next problem was lack of experience to do such thesis. The instructors have provided clear description of the tasks and explanation of the writing the thesis. However, it was not enough in my case, I need to have more face-to-face contact with my professors and instructors in order to understand and have more feedback in real life not only online.

Frankly speaking, I really appreciate to the university stuff for their effort in supporting us. They believe to our ability and always have chance to provide us any advice. I think that is awesome. After all my assignments I became to know more about thesis and I guess I have improved my English. Therefore, I can share my small personal thoughts and experiences for online learners. My advice is never hide your problems, always be keep in touch with your professors, instructors and your peers. That is very important because only these people know what is going on in your life. They could make your life easy, that is why do not ignore this advice.

As I young teacher and new researcher I have started to notice that I always observe different teachers’ methods and approaches of study. The current online course has demonstrated me the new system of teaching and learning. Of course, there are many positive sides of writing the thesis and that could have some improvement after the course. However, if I would be instructor I would have more interaction with my students face-to-face. What I observed is that if you will collaborate and keep in touch with your students that could bring fantastic shifts.

Moreover, I would suggest creating different video-lessons where instructors will demonstrate all the aspects relating to the course. I think my peers will support me that it could provide more motivation and relieve the stress especially for Master’s students.

In conclusion, I would say that it was honor for me to be there, to have a chance to have attempted my best and participate in this blog, thank you. Separate appreciation to my groupmates for their amazing ideas and dizzy experiences without their support I think we could not have such atmosphere and spirit to study. Good luck for all of us in the process of writing our ‘big-thesis’ and my congratulation with coming Happy New Year. See you next year.

Image retrieved- http://www.imagesbuddy.com/images/108/2013/12/may-all-coming-year-be-one-which-rewards-all-your-coming-days-with-success-happy-new-year.gif


Once upon a time in the kingdom of APA… (Part III)

GpaD8Image credit http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/230452/biblatex-biber-maxbibnames-with-style-apa

My professional life has led to some questions about how to become a real and true teacher. Questions such as why education becomes complicated year-by-year, why do people create some ‘techniques’ and ‘methods’ which are sometimes not necessary in the real life and what would be simple ways to explain these concepts to students. I always try to analyze and review my professional experience to find out what the challenges were for me and how I solved those problems. This thought process always leads to the birth of new ideas which are actualized in my classroom.

My first year at Nazarbayev University introduced me to the American Psychological Association style (APA). At that time it was an absolutely new and scary technique for me. Previously, I never thought it was necessary to provide the source of information in a study. However, I now understand that it is very valuable practice otherwise it would be considered that you have plagiarized different works without citing the authors. Even after long spell of practice it is still confusing in terms of following the formats but I know that it is quite possible.

In my opinion, the APA uniform system has some advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, it needs to clarify for whom it is needed. Audience identification is very important; educators at university ought to known APA or other styles such as MLA, Chicago and so on. In education there is a rule, ‘Publish or perish’, which means your career as an educator will depends on your professional publications. That is why, it important that one knows all techniques in education. However, if you are not professor or researcher I think basic knowledge of APA style formats are enough for application in some assignments at school for a student. My point here is that people should focus on their interest area of study rather that learn by heart all these many rules.

To sum up, my three year experience as a teacher without a doubt I will not recommend to anyone the choice of teaching profession as it is a very complicated profession in the whole world. It needs huge number of passion and time to be a real teacher. You need to have universal skills and know different techniques such as APA style. That style needs more than one year to understand them. My advice in this post for future students is always share your personal experience with other students because only your peers could explain to you in a simpler language APA style and not your lecturer. Another advice is more practice; only during the practice you would see the common rules. Thank you and Good luck!

Online learning. Traditional vs. Online education? (Part II)


Nowadays online learning became to be pivotal part in any society. Basically, education have been transformed and changed in terms of accessibility and flexibility. In fact, as a teacher of 21 century, every day we meet with online learning when we need to prepare for the lesson or create different activity, we mostly use internet in order to find some materials or some sources. I can definitely say that online learning was discovered because of time necessity and it is possible to suggest that in the next decade there will be absolutely new form of learning. In this post I would like to examine traditional and online learning.

In order to explore the topic I found different sources about online learning. The first one was written by American scientist Joseph L. Holmes (2015) and the main strength of this article is creating equilibrium environment in education. The term equilibrium in the article means suitable level of collaboration between students, faculty, and administration needs can all be met. The author emphasized the important distinguishes between classroom and distance methods. Furthermore, online learning can stimulate high levels of teacher interaction and higher levels of student learning through the application of teamwork, high-level problem solving, peer review, debate, individual and group projects, and other similar activities (Holmes, 2015).

According to Chen (as cited in Holmes, 2015) in terms of traditional classrooms there was an idea of improving relationships between teacher and student, face-to-face classroom support may feel more natural, and teachers may be able to more readily adapt to class situations based on verbal and non-verbal cues.

Another article was provided by Roanne Angiello (2010) where the author compares between traditional and online learning. There are different perspectives for and against which increased spreading of online degrees, courses, and training. The main idea of this article is that current teachers need to know how effective online learning is before increasingly scarce resources are expended. It is studied by the U.S. Department of Education, “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies,” which has demonstrates on this issue. As a result it concludes that, on average, “students who took all or part of their classes online performed better than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.”

After reading these two reputable articles I recognized that it is not possible to say that we should not apply traditional or online learning because both of them are significant and different. That is depends on what do you want to study. I think the current teachers should combine both of them and encourage all learners to actively participate in that learning process. That is the main purpose of to be a teacher, to be agent of change and to seek new ways of learning. What we, I think doing right now.

Image credit https://lmujulie.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/e-learning-is-excellent/


Angiello, R. (2010). Study Looks at Online Learning vs. Traditional lnstruction. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed For Quick Review, 76(2), 56-59.

Holmes, J. (2015). Closing the significant differences gap between distance and face-to-face instruction. International journal of Instructional technology and distance learning, ISSN 1550-6908, 13-23.

Empowering women


During the first fall session of English for Professional Purposes course instructors challenged us by giving unusual assignment. The purpose of this assignment was to familiarize us with various resource materials and learn how to cite them correctly. The sources were: books, magazines, websites, journals and film. At that time I have seen just few films about education, including the plot of the drama film “Mona Lisa Smile”. The main character Katherine (teacher at Wellesley College) was advocating that women should actively seek opportunities to be not just good wives and mothers, but also add to this balance career.

Investigating the other academic sources I discovered variety of materials, however professional characteristics of the leaders are widely and commonly known, since the analytics entirely covered many characteristics of people in charge. However the personal qualities of the female leaders in school environment are still needed to be investigated.

Korcheck (2002) observed that “women can creatively manage and manipulate available resources, transferring their energies to laterally extend their influence into other areas” (p.25). I agree with the author that female leaders have their own outstanding and unique characteristics, which could be applied effectively in the school environment.

According to the research conducted by White and Smith (2012), the professional characteristics of women in leadership positions range from higher in the cluster of trust, with the cluster organization as the second highest rated, the third cluster was drive, the fourth cluster was interpersonal, and the fifth and lowest rated leadership attributes cluster was tolerance. I agree with the authors, that the potential leaders needed to be recognized according to the characteristics, so they could be trained on time and be promoted accordingly.

From the working experience I realized the importance of role models or mentors. As the new teacher I am seeking for right decision making techniques from different sources. It could be my colleagues, books, the internet. As Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said that women need “the so-called idols and those that are writ large across the night sky, and then we can have the accessible ones. They can teach us how to do things and instill a belief that we too can achieve great things” (Prevett, 2014).

Therefore the purpose of my thesis is to reveal from the interviews of women leaders unexplored data about various aspects of their work lives in Kazakhstani schools with diverse culture environment. Their personal reflections will contain professional virtue that will promote and facilitate women leadership.

The experience of the first year gave opportunity to discover different edges of educational system all other the world. We were lucky to be educated by diverse representatives of academic field at NUGSE and I am looking forward to continue this year of study.

Reference list:

Flannery, R. (2012) Not just the obvious. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/

Johanson, F. (Producer), & Newell, M. (Director). (2003). Mona Lisa Smile [DVD]. Colombia Pictures.

Korcheck, Stephanie A., Ed.; Reese, Marianne, Ed. (2002). Women as school executives: Research and reflections. Austin, TX: Texas Council of Women School Executives. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED473403)

Prevett, H. (2014). If only Branson were a woman… The Sunday Times. Retrieved from http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/

White, T., & Smith, B. (2012). Career and Technical Education Secondary Female Teachers: Leadership Attributes. The University of Georgia. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ995892).

The adventure of writing my first master’s thesis (Part I)

stay_at_home_dad_126540277First thoughts when I started to write this blog is how should I start, what is the meaning of blogging, how it will help me to improve my language and writing skills. There is a simple answer is just I have to start and try without it I could not feel those emotions such as adrenalin that someone will read this crazy notes and may be it will help someone to have a motivation to start write own thesis. To be honest I still confused in my thesis topic. There are some thought how it will look like and for whom it should be interesting because I really want to write ‘not very boring’ paper which will have value in education area, which even will guide for all the readers and potential audiences.

Let’s see what my thesis is. At the first time as an ordinary student of university with high ambitions and expectations of thesis it was difficult to identify the concise direction of my thesis topic. All my life I really interesting on leadership aspects generally then after enrollment to Nazarbayev University I’ve decided to focus on leadership style of principal at school where the principal play key role at school. I wanted to identify what types of leadership styles are in my school. However, then after talking with my professors and instructors we came to conclusion that it would not have sense only examine principal leadership style it will have sense if I will examine point about teacher’s attitude of leadership skills not styles.

Then it was the time where I read a thousand articles, newspapers and different source where were provided examples about principal leadership skills. Ideally it should not be problematic to collect all my sources and thoughts into research. However, as a young father and teacher of Nazarbayev Intellectual School it is difficult to find some time in order to write the components of my thesis. That is my first blogging where I share my thought about thesis and I think that later I will add more specific of my thesis. I would like to say thanks to davidphillip to collect all of us into this blogging and to wish good luck for all of us. Thank you!

NU Strategy: is it effective?

According to Haward et al. (2003) strategic planning is “a conscious process by which an institution assesses its current state and the likely future condition of its environment, identifies possible future states for itself, and then develops organized strategies, policies, and procedures”(p. 3) In other words, strategic planning is kind of tool for organizing the present on the basis of the designing of the desired future. That is, a strategic plan is a road map to lead an organization from where it is now to where it would like to be in five or ten years.

Haward et al. (2003) in their study A Guide to Strategic Planning for African Higher Education Institutions identified four fundamental elements of an institution’s strategic plan, which are: a mission statement; 
a vision for the future premised on institutional values and goals.

In this post, I would like to discuss whether mission, vision and goals statements of NU strategic planning are effective or not. First of all, I would like to mention that Nazarbayev University (NU) is a new university which succeeded within three years in all directions, the same situation happened in 1997 when Astana became a capital of our republic. It was an incredible idea with ambitious goals but clear vision. Today we can say and we see that everything is possible with the support of an active and enthusiastic people who are not apathetic and believe in their future.

The “Vision” statement of the NU Strategy is “to give Kazakhstan and the world the scientists, academics, managers and entrepreneurs they need to prosper and develop” (NU Strategy, 2013-2020). Hayward, Ncayiyana and Johnson (2003) tell us “the vision should inspire, challenge and focus the institution” (p.17), so our university has a strategic vision, a clear understanding of its accomplishment, and the willingness and intention for change. And I think it is effective.

Although, the “Mission” statement of the strategy is kind of “short” but I think it still expresses a clear and precise aim. According to Maki’s study (2002) “an institution expresses its educational values and philosophy through its mission statement” (as cited in Hayward, Ncayiyana and Johnson, 2003, p.15). I like the words in the “Mission” statement like “a model” and “contribution” because it means that NU cares not only about it is own prestige and status but about all universities of Kazakhstan. It is very important, because in order to achieve success and be recognized in the world we have to be a cohesive nation.

In my opinion, goals of our university show that university has an understanding and vision what to do, where and how to follow to perform these five ambitious goals. The evidence is a development and creation of the “Operational Plan for 2014–2016” for the implementation of the Strategy. The Operational Plan is a basis for achieving the strategic goals and completing the challenges.

In conclusion, both Nazarbayev University and its Strategy can be example for other universities. Our university idea is successful because NU is working hard and in a short period of time NU achieved a lot. NU is succeeding not only on the “paper” but acts accordingly in the practice, showing others that it is a feasible task.


Hayward, F. M., Ncayiyana, D. J., & Johnson, J. E. (2003). A Guide to Strategic Planning for African Higher Education Institutions (Vol. 1).

Nazarbayev University Strategy 2013-2020.

Annual International Education Fair in Astana

For educational institutions the beginning of the February is always associated with the International Education Fair. School graduates participate in the fair to get more information about foreign universities all over the world.

This year the global education fair took place in Radisson hotel on the 3rd of February. During the whole day school children of the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades were visiting the fair. The fair is always organized in the high level because the place, where the fair takes place, is always very comfortable, big enough and easy to get. Together with foreign universities` representatives local translators are provided. In order to decide what university to choose for children, many parents prefer to know more information about universities.

This is the second year I participate in the fair. I can compare the level of organization of how many visitors come every year. The school graduates make me proud of them because they are prepared enough good to enter the university. At the education fair they have not challenges in communicating with foreign university representatives. Almost all students of the 11th grade have passed IELTS and earned high scores such as 7.0 or 7.5. It seems that every year students realize that they have real opportunity to study abroad; therefore, being proficient in English language is very important. Besides, children are very motivated to enter the world class universities all over the world. Their ambitious are very high so that let them be competitive among other students.

The education fairs always help school graduates gain more useful information in order to choose what to study and where to study. The foreign universities` representatives share all need information about the university they come from. They present special scholarships or provide overview pictures of the university campuses and explain advantages of studying abroad. Sometimes parents make contacts with representatives and keep in touch with universities in order to be sure that they make a right decision about the educational institution for their children. Without a doubt, the first step of education is a crucial on the way towards successful career.

Students’ Internship: Myth or Reality

Few days ago I met my niece who is a fourth year student at one of our universities. I knew that she was going to have an internship for the rest of the term. To my question how was your internship going she replied without any enthusiasm – “It is fine but actually I do not go there every day. I went  there just to introduce myself and to settle with organization authorities that they put stamp in my report at the end”. “How will you write report then?” – I continued. “I will write something” – replied she playing with her mobile.

I tried to encourage her and started to list the benefits that she could get from internship. First of all, students could gain experience and in addition to specialized skills of field, they could gain transferable skills which are required at any job (e.g. communication, computer proficiency and team work). Secondly, gain practical experience or finally, network, meeting with people, communicate and find new opportunities for future job. Unfortunately, I could not convince her to go and have her internship. She was confident that attending internships is waste of time and nobody would spend time on student.

I was not shocked because this situation is very familiar and it is not phenomenon that students may have a false internship. I do not state that all students are in the same situation but I know many students who even do not have a desire to take a “real” internship, attend it every day and learn new things.

The question is “Why is it happening?”

I would assume that students are not interested in future career and they chose their profession because of parental influence or they did not get enough UNT scores. Students are just lazy and prefer spend time watching TV or conversely, they have to earn money and do not have time for internships. Next could be the attitude of employers to students. They really do not have time to teach them, it is easier to put stamp and let them go.

Unfortunately, it is happening and government, universities, employers themselves should somehow motivate students to change their attitude to internships, especially those who study medicine and technical specialties.

Is it fair that Inclusive schools does not include children with Down Syndrome in Kazakhstan?

http://http://www.google.kz/imgres?imgurl=http://d1435t697bgi2o.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/social-exclusion.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/dont-work-on-your-401k-those-days-you-feel-left-out-64114/&h=400&w=600&tbnid=aXIVDN_wTM_uQM:&zoom=1&docid=9lsR75pRr3vTnM&ei=E8TAVLrKOqPuyQOWr4KQAQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CFcQMygwMDA We all know that by 2020 70% of schools should be inclusive. But, have you ever thought about who will attend this school? What type of disability among children will deserve to be known as “educable”? Few days ago I met one woman. She has a four-year old daughter with Down syndrome. To my surprise, her daughter is highly developed; she speaks, understands and does things just as other kids are doing.  I had a great conversation with that woman, we had one thing in common (beside of being mothers of girls with Down syndrome). Similarly to me she had negative experience with Psychological- Medical and Pedagogical Commission (further PMPC). She asked advice, as PMPC did not want to send her daughter to the advanced special group in the kindergarten (integrated groups in the kindergarten are not similar, one group is attended by speechless children, another –advanced, by children with minor delayments), and further, even if the girl will continue to make progress in her development, PMPC denied to send her to inclusive school. They convinced their rejection with facts that children with Down syndrome has psychological problems and their presence among typically developed children is unsafe for latter, moreover legislation system of Kazakhstan do not allow children with such diagnosis attend normal or inclusive school. Overall, having being humiliated, poor woman decided to move to Russia, where her daughter can easily attend inclusive school. http://www.google.kz/imgres?imgurl=http://www.corporate-adviser.com/pictures/620xAny/0/3/3/2077033_Screen-Shot-2014-02-06-at-18.01.40.png&imgrefurl=http://www.corporate-adviser.com/group-risk/group-risk-features/exclusion-confusion/2006377.article&h=371&w=620&tbnid=tPDgXE-CpYW_qM:&zoom=1&docid=FbJRdkeFYkhgCM&ei=E8TAVLrKOqPuyQOWr4KQAQ&tbm=isch&ved=0CCYQMygMMAw Currently, Psychological-medical- and- pedagogical commission (PMPC) is the key stakeholder in special education in Kazakhstan. The PMPC is responsible for diagnosis, assessment, and determination of treatment, training and education. They develop individual programs for each child, and monitor their progress. PMPC provides assessment for all children after they are 4 year old, and before other transition within the educational system. In other words, PMPC makes decision, whether a child with disability can attend special school or his developmental level is low. In another words, it is the organization, which provides individual approach in choosing the educational niche for children with disabilities. Let me clarify one thing, we all think that children with special needs are covered with special education, because all children must attend school because it is obligatory. But unfortunately, children with special have to prove PMPC that they are knowledgeable and deserve place in special school and kindergarten. So by looking to the answers of that woman’s questions, I started skimming different types of documents and laws, and there were no word in them, that children with Down syndrome cannot attend the inclusive schools. It was unfair from the side of PMPC not to include this girl to the special advanced group in the kindergarten, and this would be severe discrimination to reject sending her to inclusive school, even if she will have required abilities. I am finishing this blog with a sad sense, because there are still unwritten rules discriminating vulnerable children and excluding them from proper education and society. Can we as future leaders challenge this system or not????