Archive for March 21, 2008

Good Friday and I’m Sad!

Pretense exists in academia BIG time, that makes me sad.  I’m surrounded by it in spades here in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The pre-existing Soviet style of education was filled with “Pakazooka” which my husband uses as a Russian term which means something for show but the opposite truth is hidden behind it.  Both Pretense and Pakazooka start with a “P.”

 Ordinarily I’m a fairly positive, upbeat type of person but not today.  Our very complex situation at our institution has caught up with me.  I’m sad because I was framed for a minor, minor incident, blamed for something that I didn’t do.  Another person lied about something so they wouldn’t have to take the rap, yet if they had ‘fessed up they would have been surrounded by grace.  More pretense!  Pretending that you are better than you really are, which is essentially PRIDE!!!  More “P.”

 What is it about education that puffs people up?  Someone writes and publishes an article several years ago in some journal.  Big deal, does that make them more knowledgeable in all other areas of life?  Hardly, yet they do know one tiny piece of their own little puzzle. We all inhabit a very large but complex world.  These same “know-it-alls” have some letters behind their name that start with a “P” which puts them in a higher pay bracket.  Do these Ph.D. types REALLY know the very people they are trying to educate?  I doubt it nor do they care.  They seem to care only for their own ego and reputation based on whatever theory they are promoting in their own sphere or discipline.  The Soviet Union’s scholars pushed a LOT of theory and had very little real application.  If they had used authentic research with hard evidence, it would have gone against their ideology that communism was supreme.

 I have a strong empathy for the people of Kazakhstan who want to know and learn in order to be a part of the twenty-first century. They were thought of as awkward and behind the times in comparison to the rest of the world. Yes, many Kazakhs may have their own quirky way of going about their education since they’ve only come out a system that promoted pretense and pride just 15 years ago.  That system under its own heavy weight of lies caved in and it left many shattered lives as a result.  Some grabbed for the goodies and property, others scrambled for other perks with Kazakhstan’s natural resources.  A new, rich class of Kazakhs exist who care nothing for intellectual property and believe they can use their new toys or equipment to steal from others. We call that same practice, which is common in the classroom with the advent of the computer, plagiarism.  Another “P.”

 What to do about a group of people who do not want to write their own thoughts but would rather “cut and paste” others’ writings?  This gets back to the first “P” I mentioned about pretense.  The old way of thinking prevails, “We pretend to teach and the students pretend to learn.”  I know Someone who came into this world 2,000 years ago who took the rap for us, he took the blame.  He tried to teach an ornery lot of people who were filled with themselves.  He went to the cross to rid the world of a lot of “P.”  I’m sad today but feel I can say along with Paul from Galations 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ…”

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