Tag Archives: tedtalks


I could not quite relate to TED videos on youtube. This time I was looking at things from the perspective of a speaker; both the stage and the people felt odd, at least at first.

Oh, I talked at the 2018 KazTEA PST Conference about Translanguaging in Pedagogy, a topic my groupmates know I am so keen on.


The STAGE and I

I should mention that one of the venues of the event was at Miras University, a private university in Shymkent. The stage they provided was a tad bit different from those you would see in TED talks. It did not fully meet the expectations of the speakers (including me): it was poorly equipped, it was dark and it was literally near the main entrance. You could imagine some people were entering or leaving the hall as I tried to concentrate on the audience. At first, it was disturbing, but a few minutes into my speech the bypassers and all the extra sounds stopped bothering me. I imagine it was partly due to how absorbed I was into the topic. Maybe, on top of that, it is also because I have learnt to focus on my task even in rooms full of people and noise (Shoutout to my ex-roommates!).


The PEOPLE and I

Although I was afraid the listeners would also be distracted, they were surprisingly glued to my slides and me. Perhaps, the exaggerated intonation and non-verbal cues aided me in drawing their attention. Some still must have felt exhausted after the first day of the conference. It was past 5 pm. A handful of attendees leaned back on cosy sofas and seemed motionless. To try and awaken them, I started walking back and forth asking some questions and projecting my voice in their direction. Understanding that the longer the speech is, the less the audience is interested, I decided to touch upon the essence of the topic only. The decision was also based on the contingent of participants: students and school teachers comprised the majority. I guessed not many of them were familiar with research on multilingualism. Earlier the same day, observing the peers I went to seminars and demonstrations with, I made some changes to my PowerPoint presentation and notes. Owing to that, when I used simple language and relatable examples in my speech, the expressions on the faces spoke volumes. Most nodded in agreement and smiled as their everyday practices were addressed. At that point, I realized how crucial it is to put yourself in the shoes of the crowd to perform better.

Through this experience, I shared knowledge and I learned. I learned to command the stage. I learned to orchestrate seemingly minute details to deliver a speech. A speech that resonates with the spectators. Now, reflecting on the TEDx talk I recall the “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome” meme, which accurately describes what I attempted to do. I advise you to be ready to do so, too.



Linda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction)

As I remember from my school days, our school principal was one of the greatest persons who inspired students to build on their strengths, persuading to believe that all dreams and goals are achievable. This experience allows me to construe that the principal is the key figure in education who keeps the balance in schools. When I saw this videoLinda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction) for the first time, I was speechless, because it really touched me with highlights of the impact and asset that this strong woman brought to the society. It was manifest from her speech that principal, teachers and students in school are more than the system. Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a great principal in Strawberry Mansion High School in the North Philadelphia, who has the 20 years’ experience on a special education for low-performing schools.  She is a solid principal who triggered off a broken school to ameliorate; the woman who had established a student code of discipline among the students with the most outrageous behaviour. The school is defined as a school with the bad reputation and was in the hit list of Philadelphia’s authorities as a “persistently dangerous school”. Nowadays the school is being transformed in a positive direction.

That’s how it was.

She claimed that there was no one around who could be a powerful principal to this school in the last four years, and finally she volunteered to be a principal.  On the first day of work she had witnessed her students fighting each other, after it she moved on to first action toward improvement. During the meeting, one girl named Ashley asked her “Miss… miss, why do you keep calling this a school? This is not a school”.  Linda says that this sort of question made her think back to her low-performing school where she had studied many years ago. Exactly, this was not a real school, the doors were locked with the chains, and the classrooms were almost empty, students carried weapons and there were a drug addicts. What is the worst that even the teachers were afraid for their personal safety. She obviously did a huge work to transform everything in the school, she compel herself to persist these challenges. In this way, her famous slogans were used as leverage to struggle for change. Anyway it seems to me that everything is not easy as it described in her speech.

Her first slogan is: “If you’re going to lead, lead”.

Cliatt-Wayman asserts that everything happens in the school depends on the principal. Being principal requires her to be a leader. She pinpointed that the leader should not sit back in the office, delegate work on others, and cannot allow herself to be afraid of tackling her students’ issues. Also, she emphasized that there’s nothing to be done alone. So, to carry out this task Linda gathered around herself the most skilled staff, who have the faith on children’s potential. All staff including teachers, police officers work constructively, tirelessly and consistently to help the broken school recover. Necessary steps were taken to strengthen the discipline entitled as: “Non-negotiable.” As a result, the school removed from the persistently dangerous list, which in my opinion reflects her truly leadership skills to lead people fearlessly. As she highlighted “Leaders make the impossible – possible”.

The next slogan is: “So what. Now what?”

The principal asserts that the school encountered the low attendance rate, many students were from dysfunctional families, they did not place a priority to study, and this in turn led the school fall behind.  Taking into account conversations about appalling conditions, bad-tempered students, the low results on algebra and literature, she set the goal in front of her colleagues: “So what. Now what? What are we going to do?” Linda depicts development problems and solutions, so she made teachers to differentiate the methodology which might be effective to pay respect to individuality of students. She made every effort to deal with the problems she encountered, but in this video she described only the top of the iceberg. For instance, I was curious to know how they elevate the level of education in details, what exact methods teachers used? So, these questions still required more precise answers.

Her final slogan is: “If nobody told you they love you today, remember I do”.

Her students had financial, social and emotional problems, and no matter what they had she tried to support all of them, because she knows the feeling what it’s like living on poverty.  She believes that opportunities for education and life skills help them to improve their lives and rise from poverty. Linda has daily conversations with her students and  she elevates with pinpoint accuracy those moments when her students feel themselves special, essential and awfully safe.

Though truth be told, my favorite spot is that Cliatt-Wayman has gained the respect and support of the audience on the basis of her work and results. She made tough decisions; she set a clear goal in front of her students, reminding them on a daily basis that education can change their lives.

In her speech there is a powerful message for all educators who have an opportunity to change the world, we should not stand idly by, experience the negative effects of poverty, and be satisfied with promises of authorities. Since any change would require broad support across all sectors of society, she encourages people to let us be prepared to take minute steps toward development of education worldwide.