Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 6, 2016

Difficulties. Are they worth overcoming?

It’s been a long time that I posted anything on my blog page. I didn’t have inspiration to write or share anything. The last year was a real challenge for me, and I kept overcoming difficulties. Now that I’ve been so much through, I have smth to share.

My list of points will be short. I am not a person who writes a lot 😉 I have only 3-4 thoughts to express. And, dear readers, I firstly do it for myself.

1) Circumstances are meant to prove you wrong. Every time one blames circumstances, no matter how complicated they could be, you never see the whole picture. And mostly, all the responsibility should be on your shoulders. Every time you claim to have no time, energy, sources etc., you should just admit, you don’t want to. And to avoid conflicts with the society you blame circumstances.

2) People are imperfect. Always. They are mortal. Any second they can disappear or die. You never see it coming. you never expect them to betray. But they do. And leave the whole universe that has been created for years in only five days or so. And you just lie on the floor empty, with a gigantic hole in the chest so that you can’t move or take a deep breath. You have no other choice but to exist in a new environment. (nobody asked your permission, you just cope with it).

3) Love exists. It’s a delirium. A sweet escape from the reality. No matter how hurt you were, how bad you felt before with another partner, it comes suddenly, without the invite, out of the blue. The only thing you should consider is a choice: whether you jump into the water or chase the pavements. Your love will hurt everyone around you since the true one is always felt by folks. They are jealous, because if they felt the way you feel (in love) they would be sincerely happy for you. But love is beautiful and it outweighs every imperfection, every breath of it makes your world magnificently and extraordinarily magic.

4) Difficulties are not worth overcoming. A simple side view assists to change the perspective and attitude towards them. You should remind yourself that everything is temporary and ask yourself whether these difficulties matter in another five years time. You probably already know the answer 😉

That’s what I’ve come across so far.

 

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Posted by: strongstudentkz | August 22, 2013

What I really want to learn

Sometimes it is difficult to say or find out what lies under the surface, the inner importance of the problem or just its’ inner meaning. I struggle with the definitions and assumptions, since I realize that I am not that educated or that understanding. It challenges me in research. I seek for truth, but the truth is only truth in particular context. I have never thought about the importance of being tolerant, critical and just humanistic to some extent. I always thought that what was good for me could be good enough for everybody else. Now it is completely different, since research is not just studies conducted in particular field, but stories depicting the most rigorous assumptions and mistakes, brilliant thoughts and ambitious claims, interrogation of relations and comparison of findings, analysis of results and implications for further studies. But the most important thing is that research studies are meant to make a difference, to challenge ideas, to examine theories which inevitably lead to better understanding and improvement. And that is I want to learn, to conduct research, so that I can make a difference, I can step forward and become better than I was yesterday. I want to involve my students in research, so that they could learn from the experience not for the sake of marks, but for the sake of development of their minds, souls and attitudes.

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 15, 2011

Reading Motivation _ it’s never late!

Some days ago, I asked my teacher how I could improve my writing skills and pass my IELTS score. Her respond was: keep reading. And I started. I’m not a person who does or does not like reading. I’m in the middle. And at the moment I’m strongly motivated to read. 2 things should be read by me: my teacher’s blog and essay book. Both of these things are very interesting. I think I should make a kind of list of books I’d like to read and due date, of course.
It’s so strange to get involved in something. Firstly I prepared for it and now I got started. I feel a kind of hunger to knowledge I’d like to earn. Sometimes I think that it becomes boring, but then I recollect my thoughts and begin to realize that our brain is working only under our commands and when we let it go and get bullied it becomes our greatest enemy. Only positive thoughts make us better and give a tremendous opportunity of self-actualization.
Let’s read!

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 15, 2011

Weak students: left behind or hidden talents?

I – Introduction
Throughout the 20th century many countries had been trying to reform and organize good education. However many social, moral and other factors hampered this process. For instance, in the US the standardized education hardly influenced on those people who lived in poverty and under bad conditions thus making pupils be left behind. This situation is still true in every country. The 21st century teachers are expected to be prepared to work with difficult children, poor, ethnically diverse and special-needs populations. Teachers should not be the only ones who constantly teach and ask for feedback, but those who can support and help. Even though weak students are misunderstood and left behind, teachers should work to find their hidden talents and motivate them to learn.
II. The nature of misunderstandings between teachers about weak students
The topic related to weak students is rather complicated and controversial one. The standardized educational system existed almost everywhere; the difference was in methods of teaching as weak students were treated differently. Some educators considered them to be minorities; some thought they were naughty and bully ones, sometimes even worse – unable to learn students. That is why different approaches were taken in order to achieve different aims and results, but all concerning the particular task, the issue of weak students. For instance, Fillmer (1975) used non-standard dialect and achievement approaches to reading instruction, which had not proved to be successful in teaching disadvantaged students to read (p. 184). The weak students in this study were treated as black children with non-standard English dialect.
In the Soviet time – the weak student was a shame to his “collective” and later he could perform only labor jobs. One more thing existed in the Soviet system of education is its structure on obedience and responsibility. The society greatly influenced pioneers and “komsomols.” Even reflecting on our parents’ memories, people can remember and agree that the system was really strict and under great pressure from government’s side. As an example can serve grading system in schools of USSR: for example, if the pupil got “good” mark, he deserved “excellent”; if “satisfactory” mark, it meant “good.” As a result, education in USSR had a tendency of inflexibility and impracticality of knowledge the students earned. Moreover, it was quite opposite to the desire all people have to fulfill their potentials, to come closer and closer to their ideal (Ferguson, 1989, p. 354).
Pupils with special needs were disadvantaged students too. Lower-class populations, or minorities, and immigrants were thought to be weak students as well.
One more thing that caused difficulties about understanding the problem of disadvantaged students was the “incurable idealism” of teachers (Coughlin, 1989, p. 570). The idealistic view of educators hampered the process of education, as almost all of them strongly believed that their own methodology worked better than the others’. And weak students were not paid attention much.
All of these opinions and treatments were the basis of misunderstandings and disagreements between educators about the subject of weak students.
III. Disadvantaged students as they are
In order to make any research concerning improving the situation with weak students, it is necessary to define the notion of a “disadvantaged” student. There is more than one possible definition:
1. Naughty
2. Illiterate
3. Unmotivated
4. Unable to learn
5. Shy, etc.
There is no end to this list. There are two categories of weak students according to Levin (2008): 1) students who have been disadvantaged within their lifetimes and 2) those connected to groups who have been disadvantaged historically (p. 94). But the two main reasons that cause the problem of appearing of a weak student are unbearable home life and also ineffectiveness of education at schools to teach those students. In both cases, the circumstances may cause many social problems. Levin also admits that students with disabilities, students who are in programs that have low institutional prestige such as developmental education, and students who are not legal immigrants to the US may be treated differently than other students (p. 95).
According to an online survey done by the teachers of English, which included 14 respondents, 77.8% of them defined weak students as naughty and unmotivated ones. 22.2% believe that they are illiterate and unable to learn students. On the question “are weak students really weak?” – 88.9% answered “yes”, that everyone has great potential and his own unique talent. Only 11.1% wrote “no”, such students are stupid and careless. One more important statement was: weak students hinder teaching process and development of intellectual potential of the school. And the number of respondents, who answered “true” – was 88.9%. This survey shows the real situations at school. Teachers know the problem of weak students very well, and almost all of them realize that behind shy appearance of this student the talent may be hidden. The question concerns whether teachers will work out the trouble and develop and support that child or will not pay any attention to him.
IV. The tremendous role of the teacher in student’s life
According to Whitfield and Klug (2004), in the 1920s, the industrial movement had an extreme influence on educational practices in the US. There appeared a new stream in the teaching process that had an emphasis on sameness and conformity. The society needed a new category of teachers. They should become “healers” (p. 43). But there appears a normal question: “How can teachers become healers? Teachers are those people who greatly influence their students and have the power to make their students feel unique no matter who they are: left behind students or bright ones. The goal of the healer is to make everything whole (p. 46). The supporters should create the atmosphere of trust and confidence, create classroom activities which will encourage students to participate together to create knowledge. Furthermore, knowledge should become not the aim, but means of learning. Only implementing achieved knowledge in practice will be helpful in students’ life.
There are many approaches and methodologies on how to teach weak students: Learner-based, task-based or content-based instructions. The question is what method will be the most effective in teaching weak students? It depends on the person, on the educator himself and his imagination, his feelings concerning students and his teaching style. What the weak students need is the comfortable atmosphere in the classroom and a need to trust his teacher first and then the knowledge he gives. Teachers in their turn should become supporters and strong motivators in order to wake up the burning desire to learn in their students. The old Eastern proverb says: “there is no such thing as bad pupil, but there is a bad teacher.”
One suggestion of improving the situation with disadvantaged students is to create the sense of understanding between teachers and learners. The professor in San Francisco State University Stanley Pogrow, responding in an interview suggested the following: “Stop teaching reading basic skills for 3 hours a day. Cut that at least in half, and you have plenty of time to develop a sense of understanding, and to reintroduce science and social studies to the curriculum”. This “sense of understanding” appears only in cozy atmosphere and strong belief that the teacher is the person who is ready to support and understand (Shaughnessy, 2008, p.360).
Another suggestion to better teaching to weaker students is using the theory of multiple intelligences by Harold Gardner extensively. When the teacher knows what the strong sides of his weak students are, he can easily conduct lessons in effective way. The smart teacher is the researcher; he is always in constant search of new techniques, new ways and new opportunities for teaching. Development of multiple intelligences is a good root for rich harvest, since benefits of knowing your students abilities will help teachers to better understanding students’ needs and ways of learning, thus vary the tasks and activities to fulfill in the classroom.
V. Conclusion
The problem of educating weak students is one of the complicated and up-to-date topical nowadays. And the role of the teacher is really significant. Only the real teacher can identify his students’ weaknesses and his brilliant sides, make efforts to fix the situation and motivate his students. The definition to the weak or disadvantaged student is hardly given, but nevertheless, the teacher can do everything possible and impossible in order to make his students develop their talents hidden behind the appearance.

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 15, 2011

Meeting with Chad

Recently, we had a wonderful talk with Chad Harris, whom we waited so long. It was a wonderful experience, he is a very interesting person. He has a lot to say and to advice. I was in the role of the observer. My friend told about him a lot and it seemed to me that I know him. He raised up-to-date topical questions about kazakh language and teaching methods. He made me think about patriotic feelings and I realized that they started from the language you speak. Chad told the truth about people’s acceptance and their attitude towadrs each other. Especially kazakh people. I do believe that we must speak our mothertongue, but people should be more encouraging and tolerant, otherwise we will not be able to learn it because of shame.

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 15, 2011

6 presenters with persuasive talks

Recently we had talks of persuasive character. 5 of us were performing persuasive speeches about our topics and I’d like to say that this time the situation improved itself. Almost all of us had good performances. Personally, I was really nervous but then everything went better.
I can say that this time the class had prepared better. The structure and flexibility was felt in every step of some of us. The most persuasive speech was Bota’s speech. Even though her movements were rather monotonous, she expressed clearly the idea of how the confident person should behave when he totally knows his subject. I felt the structure of MMS, as was using it myself. When you really know what the need of audience is according to your topic, everything goes smoothly.

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 15, 2011

5 presenters with informative talks

Last week we had the informative talks of our group mates. It was an interesting experience. They’ve tried to perform the toastmasters and I can say for sure that it was very interesting experience. It’s really difficult to stand before the audience and try to tell about your scientific research. It’s strange – we speak before the class all the time but nervous and tense atmosphere appeared that day. I think it was because of 10 pairs of eyes at one moment. I’m joking. In fact, the nervousness was because of first experience; even mature teacher Laura was a bit embarrassed.
I can tell that I liked only three talks: Laura’s, Damesh’s and Ainagul’s. Laura was really impressive and she used her topic by applying it in her speech fully (imagine that). I think it was the one informative talk among others. Yes it was a bit persuasive but almost all was mentioned in her talk. Ainagul was really eye-catching at the beginning and then her speech just faded away. I liked her examples and the way of presenting the material but coming back to the informative character of the speech – it wasn’t an informative one at all. Damesh’s speech was fully persuasive. Clear and concise it seemed to come from her heart. It was not performed on the paper at all I think as her words came from her heart that’s why were so touching.
To sum up, I’d like to admit that with the help of the handout Kristina gave us – anyone can build a good and concise speech. Just follow the steps and do your best. To tell the truth, I think no one used that tips from our teacher.

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 14, 2011

Games people play

“Life is the stage, people are actors” said William Shakespeare. He is probably right. I would also add: performance is the game in which all of us play. And everyone wants to perform the main role. We create and develop our own problems and mistakes. We provoke each other and take care of each other. We understand and we don’t. Find something right or wrong. Scream at each other and hate, fall in love and forget. And every time intently or not we perform new and new characters and personages. One day  you are a loving mother, a teacher at school or a bus driver. Next day you are an angry monster or a melancholic prey. The roles change according to the situations and circumstances. But wait a minute: is it THAT sort of thing you’d like to live throughout your life? I don’t think so. And even if you say yes, I don’t believe you.

 Everyone wants and deserves happy life: Place to live in, food to eat, water to wash and drink, air to breathe, person to love, children take care of and many other vital things. They also need friends and relatives. Freedom and strong health. If one stands still for one moment he can admire the world around him opening embraces to hug him for a fantastic journey of beautiful sounds and wonderful smell. All routine will disappear at once!

Sometimes I forget about my own motto of life: whatever happens – happens for best. I can become frustrated about some problems on study or after arguing with a friend of mine. But again, the problems are created by us and the best thing is not to think about it, but cope with it and find solution. And when I recollect my thoughts I realize that the most important thing is to stay myself. And nothing should destroy my belief in happy life!

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 14, 2011

Amazing teacher from Goethe Institute

Recently we had a very interesting meeting with Annemarie Bechert from Goethe Institute. We got acquainted with her on the 1st of March, when our group mates made their presentations before expats. She was one of them. We liked her from that time. She seemed to be an experienced teacher. And when she came yesterday I realized that this is true. Annemarie told us about her mission here in Kazakhstan. Actually, she is the teacher of German, but her English is perfect. I like her style of narration and outgoing manner of behavior. She openly shared with us her thoughts and knowledge about the situation in Kazakhstan. We also talked about German and Kazakh cultures.
So, Annemarie’s work here in our country is related to helping schools to organize teaching process, evaluating teachers, and early starting teaching German in schools. She also cooperates with Orken. What we learn from her way of supporting teachers is new methods and didactics. She also talked about social studies and notions like “intellectual and civilized”. In Germany while using these words one should mean the value in their meaning.
According to Annemarie, Astana is the central point of the new Kazakhstan. And everything gained here should be spread to other cities. The question was which English we teach: object related or person related.
I like Annemarie very much. I do believe that she is a real teacher and has much experience. She is simple person at the same time.

Posted by: strongstudentkz | March 10, 2011

Together we made it!

Wow! A week has passed since our presentations, but feels like it was yesterday! All of us made great job! And I congratulate all of my group mates. But I want to talk about all of them in details:
First was Damesh. Her speech was clear and her voice was rather loud. She was confident and believed every word she said. She knows much about lifelong learning and has passion to implement her knowledge in practice. I do like her presentation.
Second was Ainagul with Critical thinking. Her theme was closely connected to Damesh and Aliya. She was nervous, but it didn’t spoil her presentation much. She could tell us all she wanted but she used much time.
The third was Aliya. She did great job. Her “warm up” was really interesting and appropriate to her topic. The grammar game was illustrated perfectly and she presented it in the context. Her presentation was very good but she contradicted herself while answering the questions. But still, this presentation is my favorite one.
The forth was Laura. Her ppt was colorful and eye-catching. Laura is the professional and it feels in every word she says. I like her speech and it impressed me much. Talking about imagination made me imagine what I can do with my pupils!
The fifth was Bota talking about studies abroad. Her ppt was simple and clear and I like that fact. She was very confident and faithful enough and her truthful attitude caused many questions. If she could stand for a minute and think, she probably wouldn’t tell some things about scholarships. She seemed a little bit subjective. But I do like her speech. The job was well done.
Second day of presentations was a bit nervous as well. And this time we had more guests.
First was Botagoz, she was very cute and smiling all the time. She was nervous at the beginning but to the middle she started to feel herself confident. I didn’t notice her cliché word “like”, and I was very glad for her. It was good sign and good start.
Second was me. I was praying not to spoil a thing and thanx God everything was fine. I was too short but answering questions for a long time. I was afraid of Josh’s questions, but fortunately he gave his approval.
The third was Dinara, talking about listening skills. Her ppt was excellent and simple at the same time. She was confident and spoke skillfully.
The forth was Nurbolat. His ppt was somewhat unfinished. He had almost no eye-contact. Reading from the slides does not look interesting, especially when you are standing before the audience. To the end of his speech he improved the situation.
The last but not the least was Anara. She was afraid more than any of us. Her ppt was the best. CLIL is a complicated issue, she was brave enough to speak about it. I do like her presentation.
That is for now! I think that the first experience was done good. Good luck to all of u! Kristina, thanx for such opportunity! We will be missing you!

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