Archive for October 10, 2008

An American Response to My Earlier Blog about Students

The following comment is what I got from an American reader of my Oct. 4th blog.  I responded to him promptly with an answer that I hoped satisfied his curiosity.  At the end of his missive, he didn’t know why I referred to my students as “Kazakhstani.”  I think he thought it was a put down. That is one of MANY things westerners don’t know or understand about this wonderful country of Kazakhstan.  For those who do not know the answer and are truly curious, go to the end of this blog and find out.

“Why do you people have to torment poor students, just let them live and things will surely take care of themselves.

Im no english teacher or anything of that sort but my personal experience led me to think that language and verbal expression is secondary in nature for all humans, and we all think not so much in words or word-related concepts but in ‘notions’ or ideas, and language is used to convey those notions and ideas to other people.

Students (or people generally) do poorly on essays because their language skills and/or vocabulary knowledge and management is not well developed hence they have trouble fully expressing themselves and what goes on in their heads (like me =) ).

People won’t learn things they dont want to learn. In my opinion before even school education begins people should know and be aware of importance of education and knowledge of various fields, as much as importance of proper expression (language) and then be taught vocabulary and its usage. As a consequence they’ll acquire proper tools for good essay writing and other verbal works. Most people that become accomplished writers dont learn those things in school but on their own and possess huge word/vocabulary resources long before any school teacher passes them on. Philosophers and book writers always know lotsa vocab to show they what really think or want to pass on, and structure and all that crap comes as a framework afterwards. Readers look at that long after they realize and comprehend what goes on inside the picture and they normally dont give a damn about the frame anyway.

Btw, im kinda puzzled by your frequent emphasis and acknowledgement of their origin (Kazakhstani). What does it have to do with anything?”

This term of Kazakhstani refers to those people whose ethnicity is NOT Kazakh.  Their grandparents or great grandparents were unceremoniously dumped in Kazakhstan in the 1930s and 1940s.  They may have been German, Ukrainian, Russian, Korean heritage and that is just the way Stalin liked to have his nationalities, all mixed up. Perhaps Stalin’s idea was to outnumber the indigenous Kazakhs so now those ethnic groups whose children are born in Kazakhstan are referred to as Kazakhstani and NOT Kazakh.  

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