Tag Archives: Nazarbayev University

From ENU to NU: My Academic Shock Experience

It is going to be an emotional post perhaps, but I definitely need to pour my heart out to someone. I have been asked several times lately “what do you feel about studying at Nazarbayev University?” and normally my answer is “I am very happy to study here”. It’s true, but who can realize what lies behind this simple answer? I will tell you, guys, that behind this answer lies a year of shock, difficulties and internal struggle. And you know why? This is because the university, where I got my bachelor’s degree, had a totally different system of education, other principles, and even different worldview. It has taken me the whole year just to adapt to a new environment and get used to the new rules and requirements of NU. No, I am not against the Eurasian National University, but all the things that I have experienced here at NU last year prove again that universities like ENU do not provide a sufficient academic knowledge and do not develop academic skills. And let me explain why I think so.

Let’s start with the scariest thing I heard here in the first day I came: PLAGIARISM. I am very happy that it is not a scary word anymore, but it was. And I was surprised that the thing that was so absolutely normal and usual in my previous university has a name and is actually forbidden. No one had ever told me that it was bad. I had to accept it and fortunately, I’ve done it well, because my content and my own unique style of writing have turned out to be more important than just copy pasting someone’s ideas and thoughts. Thank you, NU.

Another thing that had been putting a lot of pressure on me, two things to be more precise, was READING ACADEMIC ARTICLES and WRITING ESSAYS. CONSTANTLY. Stop, stop, stop, let me just take a breath. I mean, are you serious? These articles are so mind-blowing, where do you get them? No one has ever told me that such kind of literature even exists! And these essays (oh my goodness, in ENGLISH). Who in this world cares what an ordinary person like me thinks or writes? Or, why didn’t we write essays at ENU?  What? 500 words? Is it possible?

Yes, these were my thoughts a year ago. And, thank God, I don’t think that way any longer. Reading articles has become an everyday routine that gives me not only a new piece of information but introduces me to the theories, concepts and conceptual frames that I can possibly use in my future research (MY RESEARCH. I can’t believe it). As for writing essays, do you have one more? Great. I’ll write it.

And RESEARCH is another new thing that I have encountered at NU. No comments here.

Finally, APA STYLE. This is what I have been struggling a lot with because even in this blog you can see that I am more a freestyle writer than the one who writes in a perfect academic way. Following certain rules in writing and always making sure that your essay is well-organized, clearly developed, accurately cited, has references and so on and so forth, were not my thing and it had taken me months to realize the importance of APA style formatting. But now, I am actually in love with it. I can see a huge progress and development in my writing style, mostly because of Mr. Montgomery’s lessons.  Thank you, professor.

Honestly, these four points I have mentioned are just the beginning, and they definitely have been the hardest things that I’ve experienced here. But who can imagine how happy I am to study at this wonderful university and face all those difficulties? I am happy indeed because it means that I can become a real researcher, a real educator, a real professional. It means I deserve all these things. We all deserve. That’s why we are here. At Nazarbayev University. Thank you, NU.

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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.

References

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

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Education via 3D technology

Nowadays it is not enough to merely be a good teacher, you have to be an extraordinary teacher. The current trends make it necessary to change and improve your ability. Each year, the education transforming into something new and modern teachers should be flexible to changes. In this post I would like to share the new “innovative” technology experience which is already used in the classroom that had positive results in the United Kingdom (UK). In the video the Shelfield Community Academy is using 3D technology in the classroom. It is the first school in the UK to work with Gaia Technologies to adopt and develop the use of classroom 3D technologies.

In terms of implementing it in my own classroom, I think that “innovative” approach might be helpful to my students. In Nazarbayev Intellectual School there is an appropriate condition to apply it. According to comments of students from the video they have felt excited in the classroom. Also, they mentioned that it can make lesson more realistic and fascinating, that they are not just listening but participating in the content of the lesson.

In my perspective, the main barrier for implementing such innovative technology is the lack of attention by the policy makers to such beneficial technology. It is recommended that people propose such way of studying to the Government in order for it to have a positive effect on the country’s state of education.

Reference list

Innovative Technology Film Series – 3D in the Classroom. Retrieved October 9, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vakjnnoj7w

Literature review my First love… (Part IV)

Barbara Smith First Love in Literature

In this post I would like to share my experience of writing literature review. Last year, I was fully introduced to the concept of literature review and I was really ‘falling in love’ with this section of research. In order to understand my own research topic I found some sources which showed me the meaning of my topic. During the process of long night reading and surfing the internet I noticed that I had started to get more deeply involved the process of research. Without a doubt it was an amazing feeling because before I even did not imagine that different literatures could create a miracle of combining all these sources which finally yield a product referred to as a research.

The topic of my research is a Principal’s leadership, where the main focus of the study is teachers` perception of their Principal’s skills at school. There are some challenges that any ordinary students faces during the collection of literatures. It could seem to be biased but it is indeed difficult to find researches which have been conducted in Kazakhstan. I do not know the reasons why there is a lack of research in Kazakhstani context but that are a fact. That is why I needed a lot of time to find appropriate sources which relates to my research, especially research in Kazakhstan. Fortunately, I have found literatures from different countries such as the United States of America, China, Canada, Brazil, and England. Now I am in the process of reading, highlighting and understanding what different authors have sought to explain in their researches.

Personally, I always try to make any process of writing into some kind of game, whereby I need to win the ‘dark side’. For me, the most interesting part is has always been preparation and writing process rather than the final product. That has been my small secret of how to deal with different tasks. Consequently, I use this kind of approach to encourage my own students in the learning process and without a doubt I can say that my students are quite involved in my classes.

In conclusion, it is possible to say that the literature review play significant role in any research. I have recognized that without literature review it is impossible to have in-depth understanding of your thesis. Moreover, the process of reading and then writing main point from the literature need huge amount of time which I absolutely have not really had. The solution is to stay focused in and take control of your personal time and manage your daily life regime. It is only through this way I have tried to do my best. Thank you!

Picture taken from – http://www.makers.com/moments/first-love-literature

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)

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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/

References

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.

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!