Archive for May 20, 2008

Today’s “Virtual Classroom” in Kazakhstan

Our Kazakhstani teachers in the Language Center will have three days of professional development workshops which should be exciting for me and the 30-40 teachers who show up to learn.  Some have already signed a “Contract of Involvement” of what they want to accomplish in our “Virtual Classroom” since they all have varying degrees of skill levels with the computer.  I think they will be thrilled to be learning for two hours at their own computer going at their own pace. 

I was happy to find a typing tutorial and speed tests for 1 minute up to 5 minutes.  Some of the teachers will want to practice that, others will be VERY ecstatic about using the URLs to build thesis statements and also outlines!!! It is similar to the Citation Builder where you put in the information and then the computer works it all out for you in either MLA or APA formatted style.  Pretty soon we will give computers our ideas and opinions and it will spit back a fully cited essay, plagiarism free!!!  Just kidding, but it is fun to have such a fantasy outside the box in our virtual classroom. 8)

For my powerpoint presentation this morning for the teachers, I’ll be using many quotes from President Nazarbayev’s latest book titled The Kazakhstan Way, just out as of this year by a London publisher, Stacey International.  The following are quotes of Nazarbayev’s that I’ll use from his Afterword under the heading titled “Education and National Identity.”

p. 327 When speaking of the nation’s competitiveness, it should not be forgotten that competitiveness is, first and foremost, about making the most of one’s advantage.  However, before we can identify them, we must first understand who we are…


And in the twenty-first century it is to give life to individuals of a particular caliber, and generate new ideas.  The skills of the steppe mentality we have inherited in our genes perfectly reflect the global trends of mobility and systemic organization.  Nomads were always mobile, and all their actions, seemingly incomprehensible at first glance, always conformed to the set cycles of the weather and principles of social mutual relations.


The concept of ‘lifelong learning’ that places emphasis on continual education and the regular refreshment of personal skills is embedded in the field of education worldwide…


National baggage should not hamper the integration of the Kazakhstani younger generation in the field of general education worldwide, or reduce their competitiveness.


Every Kazakhstani should have a sense of his own worth and take responsibility for his actions and life.  Learning to assess a situation in an analytical and critical manner and taking key decisions, being able to work creatively with information, including the latest IT – that’s what really counts.


p. 328 The shortage of creative people sure of their potential and abilities to take worthwhile risks may be the greatest obstacle in Kazakhstan’s way to developing a science-based economy.


p. 329 Kazakh saying “Try to master seven languages and know seven sciences.”


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