Quick Survey on Kazakhstan’s Teaching Methodologies

I have only polled about 20 young Kazakh men and women about their own educational system in Kazakhstan that they were taught under. As a result, I have gotten some very interesting and surprising comments.  In most of the cases, these Kazakh young people were also exposed to western style education and have cogent comments to make after answering my 24 item T/F survey.  In no particular order I will type out what they wrote but be sure to read the very last comment, that person NAILS it!:

On the side of teacher-centered pedagogy

17 year old Kazakh male from Transport university:

“I think in our country, teachers need more support.”

Teachers who are strong, authoritarian figures will have success, because students will respect them, listen to them.”

23 year old Kazakh male from Kaz GU whose discipline was accounting and audit:

“I think first of all we should work with teachers, because it’s very difficult to be a teacher and not everyone can do that.”

17 year old Kazakh girl wrote: “I agree with giving more opportunities to the students, teachers should be stronger and more serious.”

18 year old girl who was an AFEK student studying in finance:

“I think we strongly need authoritarian teachers because such people teach us to work hard, to be disciplined and finally to get our goals.”

She added on another point: “I think students have possibility to choose the methods of their learning and future occupation.”

27 year old male with a masters in Public Administration and International relations:

“In Kazakhstan we need professional teachers who will be very dedicated and committed to what they do.  To achieve that we need:

-adequate pay for their work ($1,000 USD at minimum per month);

-popularize the teacher status (perhaps, include them into the group of ‘public servants’)

-increase the competition when hiring teachers (admission criteria, etc.)

-attract young professionals

-increase the number of international teachers at schools

No particular distinction of type of pedagogy

23 year old Kazakh woman who had studied politics at James Madison University and had a B.S. in PPA wrote the following: “I strongly agree that courses on KZ’s cultural history should be taught while learning western civilization’s history.”

On the side of learner-centered pedagogy

24 year old Kazakh woman who had studied at the National Medical university and her discipline was obstetrics and gynecology wrote:

“It will be great if atmosphere at universities and schools (during the learning process) will be more related to atmosphere in a real life, job conditions.”

20 year old KARGH female graduate in English literature believes:

“I think Kazakh education system should be more democratic. Because following the Soviet Union system, all the subjects are strictly obligatory.  But I think after 9th grade, pupils should choose those studies which they really want to learn.  And they should make more independent study.  I mean an individual research.”

25 year old Kazakh woman who received her B.A. in Public Administration from Michigan state university wrote:

“Being a product of the American educational system, I vote for a comprehensive, independent, self-education system. Critical thinking is a main point.  Teachers should allow students to see and address a problem from different angles and students should express their ideas and thoughts independently.  Taking initiatives should be appreciated.  Teachers should nurture students to think “outside the box” but close to the reality of our economic, political and social system.”

27 year old woman who has a western MA and studied management and marketing:

“I strongly agree on establishing freedom of all the levels of educational system in Kazakhstan.  We need to shift from authoritative way of teaching to more democratic one to encourage each student’s individual development, personal skill development.  Teachers nowadays need to be stimulators for students’ self-realization, nurture their self-expression rather than obedience.  That’s why it’s most desirable to incorporate more Western style of teaching in the pedagogical studies in the educational institutions of Kazakhstan.”

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    KZBlog said,

    You can see the result. Perhaps the US has to do more to educate people in facts, but many young professionals I work with lack basic critical thinking skills like distinguishing fact from opinion, generating their own opinion, seeing an issue or question from a side other than their own, or even composing original texts. Not because they are stupid, but because no one has ever taught them to think. Or even expected them to.

  2. 2

    kazaknomad said,

    KZBlog, I think that U.S. education has traditionally been open to creative and free expression of thought. If you have that in place as a learning environment, then you can not only tell your opinion freely but hopefully have learned to back up that opinion with solid facts.

    I think you are right about the Kazakh youth are given things they are to think and are not expected to think “outside the box.” If you read my blog for today you will see more of what I am finding out from 30 people who were willing to answer my T/F questions. What I found while teaching in Ukraine and in Almaty is that the students were not told about logical fallacies. They were not made aware that there is writing out there that purposefully will distract or malign the other side.

    Sad but true, some of our American youth do not do very well with critical thinking and are not equipped to sort out fact from fiction. Our challenge as teachers who care about their students is to prepare their students for what is outside the textbook and classroom. The real world has much that is wrong with it, problems that need fixing. If only our universities and schools could be that “perfect world.”


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