Archive for October 23, 2009

Fall Color Photos and other thoughts

PA210604Things are looking up at my place of employment in Almaty, Kazakhstan as the fall leaves are falling down.  According to the latest newsletter for this month our university president is “looking to improve the quality of language instruction by hiring more highly qualified faculty.”  We were at a big meeting of all English teachers who are the Kazakh faculty in the center. It was explained to them by the director that they must have a masters degree in three years in order to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Education.  Supposedly they have been teaching English many years with only the equivalent of a bachelors degree.  I believe the Kazakh students who are paying a hefty tuition deserve better.  But naturally this is a VERY touchy subject!!!

Also, on a more upbeat note, there has been a commitment of $200,000 “to the improvement of our library reserves, principally for access to online research databases and electronic journals and reestablish the research fund to support faculty research and conference attendance.”  Since I arrived on this campus two years ago, I have continued to push the electronic databases in all my classes no matter what subject I teach.  What a privilege these Kazakh students have to access Ebscohost, J-Stor and ProQuest through what their tuition money pays for rather than using their first impulse to access Wikipedia or ask.com or google so quickly and think it is research.

Yesterday I had to confront a student who submitted something about mobile phones that was straight from Wikipedia. He had kept the hyperlinks in place and claimed it was his own writing.  He remained glued to his chair even though I said I was done explaining to him that he was failing the course and that he has just blatantly plagiarized!  How ignorant do some of these students think I am?  (don’t answer that!)

I continue to enjoy all the colors around Almaty, that lifts my spirits when other things at work try to undermine that. 

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