Tag Archives: Education

Education Killer


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

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

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

TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read) generation, or the rise of the videoessay


To keep up with modern world, education is gradually becoming more digitalized, employing new technology in innovative and original ways. Even though are issues connected with those developments, there is an interesting way out of this predicament.

Education becoming more digital is great, but we should consider the trend among younger generations – the decline in the attention span during reading online – posing as an obstacle to the high quality of education. The so-called TL;DR phenomenon has been described in works of Heddendorf (2015) and Liu (2005), including such characteristics as “scanning, keyword spotting, one‐time reading, non‐linear reading, and reading more selectively.” (Liu, 2005) That is something you probably employ in your daily internet surfing (maybe you even skipped a part of this blog post to get to the main point).

Back to education – creative approaches such as using videoessays in classroom can become the new medium of transferring and presenting academic information in a world where textual information is slowly becoming outdated. As the best way to explain this term, let me present a videoessayists videoessay about videoessay (metavideoessay-ing!):

If you look up videoessay in Google, you will be presented with a variety of resources on the film essay. They can be considered as the provenance of this genre, and are mainly used by students majoring in film and animation. But as Hans Richter portrays the functions of essay film: “[it] can employ an incomparably greater reservoir of expressive means…” (TEDx Talks, 2016) The same can be said about videoessays and if you watched the video above, you will understand the difference between those terms.

And this slight difference, skillfully explained by Evan Puschak, is what creates a leeway for this term to be integrated into the sphere of education. Why not give the students a chance to create and receive information in new exciting ways, letting the audiovisual learners thrive and others to enjoy a breath of fresh air from the digital window, into the wonderful world of videoessays.


Liu, Z. (2005). Reading behavior in the digital environment. Journal of Documentation61(6), 700–712. doi:10.1108/00220410510632040

TEDx Talks. (2016, June 9). How YouTube changed the essay | Evan Puschak | TEDxLafayetteCollege [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ald6Lc5TSk8

[Online image]. Retrieved January 14, 2017 from http://www.memecenter.com/fun/3765633/too-long-didn-amp-039-t-read

A piece of music a day makes you better anyway


The late 1990s. At the age of 6 I went to a pre-school. The same year I started to attend music school in Kostanay. That time I had various music subjects including the class of piano. The year was сrucial in my life since I should pass the final exams to be the 1st grader in a music school and to become a student of a primary school. Fortunately, I succeeded in killing two birds with one stone and was offered to study at the only school with music focus in the city where there was one class of beginning musicians. What could be better than that? – Nothing, and I will tell you why.

To begin with, I think that music is closely related to discipline. That time I did not even know the term “time-management” but was successful in following its rules as it happened. My whole day was full of activities and duties. In the morning I had to attend two to three music classes such as music literature, solfeggio, choir, etc. Then, in the afternoon, as a whole class we attended our compulsory subjects such as mathematics, languages, literature and so forth. Thus, a child who devotes his/her time, except the school subjects, to music, is able to plan a day, as a rule.

Second, when my parents decided to bind my childhood with music they made me a favor. If a child plays various music compositions he tries to reflect and repeat all the emotions passed by the author. As a consequence, children became attentive and respectful towards human feelings. Moreover, children learn how to be patient and hard-working. The reason is it is not nearly easy to memorize all the music notes in a moment and play a composition by heart.

Third, I will agree with those who say that music in education is not necessarily needed. But, I will add that the knowledge of music masterpieces, the ability to recognize them and value develop a person’s inner world as reading of classic literature does. In my opinion, if a person believes himself/herself to be a man of culture, he or she is ought to be aware of the world of music.

To conclude, the world does not rest on its laurels; human beliefs and values change. But still, I hope music will stay with us forever, making us to create, broadening our horizons. So, what could be better than that?

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you”-Jim Rohn

Managing time is a key to successful academic life. There are so many advice in controlling time for students. Having an experience of a student for almost five years, I made a list of most useful tips for using time appropriately during the studies. I will tell you the most effective ones.

Firstly, it is organizing time in details. As an option, you can use making a list, which is the most popular way of planning a day, a week or even a month. If you are not experienced in list making, try to plan your next day only, beginning from morning till the end of your day. Later try to plan your week, and then, when you gain enough experience and get used to it, try to plan your month. Do not forget including one day in a week for your laziness, for not doing anything and having a rest physically and mentally. Also, highlight the most important things in your list in order to know the prioritized things. Here, as a tool in making a list, you can use special notebook-organizer, your mobile phone, your computer or your wall hanging many pieces of papers with pins.

The second important thing in time management is doing everything on time, because postponing plans for the next day is a big dilemma. Follow your to-do list and never put off doing something, and it will guarantee that you spend time efficiently. If you delay once, there is no surety that you will not do it again. So, do not procrastinate even once.

The last way of managing your time efficiently, that I would like to share with you is multitasking. There is an example by Michelle Williams, an American actress: “I like to do weird things in the shower, like drink my coffee, brush my teeth and drink a smoothie. It’s good time management”. However, multitasking is sometimes risky for individuals who are not practiced doing it; they can fail easily while trying to finish a number of compulsory deals at once, losing quality of their work. Now then, if it is something new for you, first get used to it!

To sum up, I would like to finish with the words of wisdom by Dale Carnegie:

“Plan your day to achieve your goals. Keep to your plan!”


Dale Carnegie Training. (2015). 100 Tips to reach your success. Retrieved from http://www.dalecarnegie.com

Quotes Gram. (2015). Time management quotes. Retrieved from http://quotesgram.com/time-management-quotes/#uImdWZtGG2

Picture by Sholpan Ospanova. (2015). Retrieved from https://i.instagram.com/sholpana__s/

Is it good to be uniform? or Does APA formatting lead to positive outcomes?

APA universal formatting style facilitates the commonly accepted structure in research paper. As a result we get more standardized work which is recognizable by researchers all over the world.

On the one hand, such kind of standardization helps me to do my research paper credible, feasible, identifiable and accurate. When I pursue the definite rules, it is easier to write the paper, in addition, I have more time to be focused on the issue rather than on the design and structure of my work. Using the APA style gives me to ‘build’ my work in a logical progress of information from more broad ideas to more individual details. Moreover, APA style has improved my written skills, especially how to include in-text citation, furthermore, verifying the sources which maintain the claims in the paper leads to consistency. Following the standardized formatting shows my professionalism and respect for the basic rules of professional research in my field of education. As a consequence, my work looks as a classical performance.

Nevertheless, I asked myself several times: if this tendency of normalization doesn’t encourage researchers to be identical. What about creativity? On the other hand, what if we didn’t have the universal APA formatting? The answer is that in this case the works would be ‘chaotic’ and difficult readable. This phenomenon would complicate the process of well-organized and professional looking academic paper. Even if there are people who don’t like any standards and want to be creative, it is obvious that without any strict rules and regulations there are no any unity and cohesion. We can be creative in our ideas and show our original skills in our research paper but complying with the norms of definite formatting such as APA.

As a recommendation for those who just start to work with APA formatting: do not find any negative points in the given universal APA standardization – start to experience it together with your thoughts and suggestions in every work and in the end you will discover that APA really helps to write a clear, consistent and qualitative paper. Likewise, combined work of the professional teachers, instructors and online automatic tools will help students to become familiar with APA formatting.

Inevitable Future

I perceive the future of education in online learning and this future inevitably will happen. The justification for a strong claim is consequences of human development on education. Invention of paper and industrial revolution gave huge impact for the development of education. Former provided new opportunities to sustain information, whereas latter stimulated introduction of mass public education to educate workforce for industries. Another stage of human development that contemporary has impact on education is technology. The introduction of technology implied supplementary impact than aforementioned stages. Anderson (2008), also highlights the impact of historical events on education. He particularly considers the World Wide Web as the key locomotive for online learning.

“The Theory and Practice of Online Learning” is a comprehensive book by Terry Anderson that incorporates several practitioners’ works from Athabasca University, Canada. This book was extremely beneficial for our group task in Comparative and International Education course. The book consists of four parts. The first part focuses on theoretical base of online learning. The second part focuses on infrastructure and content building for online learning. The third part focuses precisely on design and development of online courses. The last part focuses on delivery, quality control, and student control of online learning. The book provides comprehensive interpretations of theoretical and practical base of online learning and professional expertise from practitioners. However, a shortage of this work is related to practical part, as it is manly related to higher educational institution practice.

Apparently, online learning implied huge effect on the role of instructors in education. Another work that was extremely useful for previous course is “Clarifying the Instructor’s Role in Online Distance Learning” , an empirical study by Susan Easton. She conducted an ethnographic case study with multiple instruments. She admits that online distance learning implies some alteration for instructors, but at the same time it does not require conceptual change in instructor’s roles. The main strength of this study is empirical design. However, as a qualitative study, it does not allow generalization.

Vast literature focuses on different aspects of online learning and most of them provide sound discourses. Nevertheless, most of discourses are related to interpretation and implementation of online learning. Despite strong discourses it is apparent that online learning is the future of education.

Anderson, T. (2008). The theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca University Press.

Easton, S. S. (2003). Clarifying the instructor’s role in online distance learning. Communication Education, 52(2), 87-105.

Stay online, learn online


Online learning environment is a set of teaching and learning platform for digital aspects of education. Growing number of online learning courses convey strengths and drawbacks. Different authors evaluate the value of the virtual learning.

Oncu and Cakir (2011) argue that online learning environments have a promising future for all stakeholders of educational process, including researches, practitioners, and learners. The investigation called “Research in online learning environments: Priorities and methodologies” focuses on four research goals and matches four existing methodologies to improve student outcomes in online learning environments defined as learner achievement, engagement, and retention. In order to accomplish these research goals, formative research, developmental research, experimental research, and activity theory methodologies were recommended by authors. The first two types of research methodologies are mainly appropriate to improve the quality of designed online courses; experimental studies are useful to compare the effects of different teaching methods that influence learner outcomes.

Robinson and Hullinger (2008) identified the reasons for an increase in the implementation of Internet-related technologies. Besides the authors used vital engagement dimensions that the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) defined to measure student engagement in online courses from 3 universities. According to the findings of the article the online curriculum should dynamically engage students through challenging academic rigor, consistent and timely student–faculty interaction, a collaborative learning environment, and activities that enrich the development of the student. The present findings serve to encourage the application of the concept of engagement to improve the quality of online instruction.

From the personal point of view the development of online learning opens the new chapter in education. We all hear about the necessity to meet not only the needs of our students’, but also about the value of alignment between education and real life, more specifically how to apply learned skills in the daily life. Some challenges that digital learning creates are engagement and motivation of the students. Due to flexibility in the format, learners could easily be distracted from the online courses. Another challenge is providing valuable feedback from instructors. Online education has a vast majority of advantages as well. The opportunity to be educated from the distance cuts living and travelling costs for both educator and learners, and expands a time management schedule. For me it means spend more time with my family and children.


Oncu, S., & Cakir, H. (2011). Research in online learning environments: Priorities and methodologies. Computers & Education57(1), 1098-1108.

Robinson, C. C., & Hullinger, H. (2008). New benchmarks in higher education: Student engagement in online learning. Journal of Education for Business, 84(2), 101-109.

Salmenova G. (2014). Nazarbayev University. Graduate School of Education. Retrieved September 12, 2015 from http://www.instagram.com

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).

Words HURT…

Image credit: http://www.tolerance.org/bully-at-blackboard
Image credit: Mark McGinnis

“Teacher, I forgot to do my homework”

“Why haven’t you forgotten your head instead?”

Most of the teachers at my elementary school felt themselves responsible for making us pay for our errors by punishing, humiliating in front of the class or even calling our parents. I always felt sorry for one boy, Utegenov, who usually had to stand in front of the class while listening to the teacher’s sermons. His head down, he would then follow her finger which pointed to the corner of the classroom. Did it change anything? No. Every day was Groundhog Day for him. Lessons associated with humiliation and fear of failure are never going to inspire children to study. The students learn best in a mistake-friendly environment and when they are told that making mistakes is normal.

Just out of curiosity, I tried typing “дети учатся лучше когда …” (students learn best when) on the search engine and the findings were not surprising at all. “When parents believe in them” and “when they do mistakes” are the most popular ones. One of the reasons of fearing failure is high expectations (Steifer, 2001). It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that parents believe in their child’s abilities. The notion that the failure equals intellectual inferiority is fundamentally wrong. Students who are afraid to fail are most likely to abate their efforts next time (Cole, 2014). There is even a word for the fear of failure – atychiphobia. To change the attitude towards the mistakes, children should be taught that failures are inevitable and they should be viewed as valuable lessons.

By creating a psychologically safe place for children, it is likely that we diminish the chance that students will become reluctant to learn. According to the most eminent proponent of human development theory, Albert Bandura (1989), it is crucial that one has a belief in one’s own efficacy:

Persons who have a strong sense of efficacy deploy their attention and effort to the demands of the situation and are spurred by obstacles to greater effort (p. 394).

Hence, one particular solution comes to my mind. Imagine those children so excited to write their first letters at class, pinching the pen between those little thumb and point finger. They do their best to write correctly and neatly, but mostly they fail to do it the first times and unmerciful red “F” is written in their workbooks. Imagine another situation where children are given pencils instead of pens. They would be able to erase their mistakes and have a chance to correct them – this would be a good lesson to start with. Helping children to perceive their mistakes positively is priceless. Even when we have to discipline children, teachers and adults should uphold the dignity of the children because as in the case of Utegenov, humiliation never worked and never will.


Bandura, A. (1989). Regulation of cognitive processes through perceived self-efficacy. Developmental psychology, 25(5), 394.

Cole, S. “Fail again. Fail better.” Failure in the Creative Process. Steifer, S. J. (2001, 10). Don’t let fear of failure hold you back! Current Health 1, 25, 14-16. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/209833604?accountid=134066

Steifer, S. J. (2001,10). Don’t let fear of failure hold you back! Current Health 1, 25, 14-16. Retrieved from http://http://search.proquest.com/docview/209833604?accountid=134066

A Girl with Dombra

Over the last hour, approximately 21 girls have been born in Kazakhstan (Committee on Statistics, 2014) and they will soon be looking for a role model to follow. As history is mostly silent about women, it is our duty to teach our young girls the examples and legacies our grandmothers left. Having a real, strong and positive female role model in the history is important if we are to transmit the moral and spiritual values of the Kazakh to our young ladies of the new generation. One such story, told by her granddaughter, is about a strong woman who saw all the cruelties of colonization and wars, but never ever gave up the hope of a bright future for her children.

During Stalin’s forced famine of 1932- 1933, the Kazakh had their food taken away and were left to die from starvation. At the same time a witch hunt on thousands of Kazakh leaders, writers and intellectuals began and they were falsely accused of plotting an armed revolt. The population of the Kazakh dropped from 7 million to less than 2 million (Khan, 2014) and those who left were mostly women. Dead silence… but far in the depths you would hear the dombra. It was her, Dina, disciple of the Great Kurmangazy himself.

She was a tall, strong and indefatigable woman. Very straightforward, she would never fall in line. When her husband Nurpeyis died, she was pregnant with her third child and called him Jurinbay (from Kazakh word жұрын – what is left) – remainder. According to the old Kazakh tradition, she married her husband’s brother, Nurali, after his death. They had many children but some of them died in infancy.

In 1916, in the time of World War I, when the tsarist government decided to mobilize men of the minority ethnicities to the front, the oppressed people of Middle Asia rose in rebellion against the colonial policies. Dina’s kuy (folk instrumental piece played on the dombra) “1916”, unlike other composers’ works, was optimistic, even though her son Jurinbay was taken away too. There was no crying, nor complaint, nor gloom. All you could hear was the tramp of horses and the joy of people who had heard the great news about the white tsar being overthrown.

As difficult times began again in 1921 and partly because she was the second wife, Dina and Nurali decided to divorce. As the famine started she and her ten children migrated to Astrakhan, Russian SFSR. In order to save her children from starvation she gathered millet in the mountains, grinded it into flour and other cereal products and made porridge.

She managed to save all her children through these hard times. But in 1941 the World War II had began and all her four sons were called to the front. She never complained. Dina wrote another moving kuy “Order of Mother”. Even when only two of her sons returned, she celebrated the victory of her people and composed the kuy of the same name.

Image credit: http://e-history.kz/ru/publications/view/906
Image credit: http://e-history.kz/ru/publications/view/906

Dina Nurpeisova was one of the amazing women by virtue of whom the Kazakh nation could regenerate later. The lives of those women can teach our children how strong Kazakh women can be. The story of the greatest woman dombra player should be written in golden letters in the pages of history, because history is “herstory” too.


Erkebay, A. (2012, January 1). Interview with Balzhan Nurpeisova, the granddaughter of Dina Nurpeisova. Retrieved         February 18, 2015, from http://anyzadam.kz/jo/info/1272/

Hamit, A. (2014, November 14). Asemkonyr – Mother’s Benediction/ Retrieved February 18, 2015, from http://aizhanhamit.kz/%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%BC%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD%D1%8B%D1%80-%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B5-%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B3%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5/

Khan, S. (2014, February 3). The losses of the Kazakh after the famine of 1932-1933. Retrieved February 18, 2015, from http://www.megapolis.kz/art/Poteri_kazahov_ot_goloda

Ministry of National Economy of the Republic Kazakhstan. Committee on Statistics (2014). “Birth rate in Republic of Kazakhstan in 2013”. 21 May 2014