Students Write about Dewey; Givers and Takers Delayed

According to my blog yesterday I WAS going to write something about “givers and takers” but it will be delayed to tomorrow when I can get some of my students’ input about their opinions on their high school and university teachers, those who are “givers” and the others who are “takers.” 

I was going to write on this because recently I was in the presence of a “taker.”  They are no fun simply because they are unhappy people and want others to share in their unhappiness.  They project their un-joy on others simply because they are miserable.  They usually elbow their way up to the top and do not care to give other people help along the way.  Well, perhaps their form of “help” is to give advice and think they know more.  “Takers” lack soul or spirit and our university abounds with that kind of joyless person.  They are here to supposedly teach Kazakhstan’s future or they are here as administrators but do it for the hefty salary and not much else.  Our university is the best paid institution in the whole country.

Fortunately, I spent the weekend with “givers” and it was refreshing. They are here to volunteer their time for the good of Kazakh society.  Sometimes there are eternal benefits in giving your time and effort to your students, as teachers who give “all out” in the classroom week in and week out, we may never know the impact we have.  I want to be a “giver” teacher and not a “taker.”

For now, I want to share with you some of my students’ writings from my two listening classes.  They write from their heart and I learn from my young charges every day.

Listening students write about John Dewey’s “a problem is necessary to start thought.”

A.A. I agree with him [Dewey], first of all, because I have problems too, not so global, but still they’re problems and when not solving them in time, they become harder to solve.  For example, some home assignments, which have quite big quantity of work.  You have free time, but decide to relax or have some fun or chill out any other ways.  Due to deadline, you’ve got a lot of undone job, so it becomes a bigger issue than it was previously.

Nomad civilizations of Central Asia, for example, our ancestors.  Their dividing of tribes and families according to territorial principle didn’t help them to defend themselves from outer enemies.  It was a problem to unite them, and as a result our nation suffered a lot beginning with “clan” wars and continuing with joungars, Chinese expansions, Central Asian kingdoms or Russian colonization (sometimes becoming invasion).  But then, after a while we have independence again and do not have such problems because we solved it.

D.M. – I want to say about Kazakhstan when it was in USSR, our grand-grandparents worked hard, it was difficult to survive, after being independent country, KZ had too many problems; we didn’t have a national currency until 1993, our population had to work 10-12 hours a day, but now our country is developing, I think that if we didn’t have such problems in the past, we wouldn’t achieve a lot in present.

A.B. Like in the time of Soviet Union, maybe you had a great idea, but you couldn’t realize it because of your country.  For example, a Nobel prize winner (Literature) Boris Pasternak couldn’t take a prize because if he would, he could be punished for this.  So his country didn’t let him do what he should.  But he sent a letter to the committee of Nobel prize.  There he said that he was very pleased and honored to be a winner.  But unfortunately, because of the views considered in his motherland, he can’t appear to take the prize.  He hopes that someday it would be like so.

R.S. When we were elementary students we do not have any home tasks, we go and doing nothing.  But when our tutors give us many self-study essays, etc. we try to do these all and we become more aware of things we haven’t known before.

 

S.N. Both quotes by Toynbee and Bergson have similar meaning, in both of them problems are “tackling fuels” of solving problems.  When you have problems, you start thinking hard and if you don’t have any problems, you don’t think, that means you’re not developing.  Lack of development leads to decadence of living level.

 

How does “Necessity is the mother of invention” and “thinking outside the box” relate to today?

A.O. “The first quote I can explain on the USSR’s example.  In time, when people couldn’t buy anything, because of special politics, people should think about how to make by their hands.  And what usually people from the West bought in the shops, we already had it hand made.”

 

A.Z. “Thinking outside the box’ is about creative people.  They are unordinary, they think differently from other people.  They don’t just see the easiest ways but their minds broaden and their thoughts are also very complicated, advanced, outside the box.  I hope there are more creative people, they really make our lives more interesting.”

 

K.O. I think these phrases relate in these terms, how I love to say: “As many men, as many minds and thoughts.”  I think that practically all people have their own minds and it is very important thing in our time because of this you will be creative and democrat.

 

O.A. I think these relate to motivation, because we are lazy.  People have motivation to do nothing and for this they create new devices, technology.  People don’t want to do it themselves, by hand, that’s why they create something new, which helps to do some hard work, etc.  But there are some things which people can’t do it on their own.  In this case, invention is very helpful for all people.

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