Archive for March 15, 2011

Using Content in Kazakhstan’s Context (Part III)

Finally, the last part of the brochure explains the future goals of the Professional Development program (PDP) that we launched last fall of 2010 at our western university in Astana, Kazakhstan.  Tomorrow, we will have a closing graduation ceremony with my ten PDP students.  It will be a proud moment for them to receive their “Certificate of Completion” after working long, hard hours for 20 weeks of this program.  I hope it will continue next year.  I’ve heard rumors that those in charge want 50 teachers, maybe as many as 100 teachers to do a PDP curriculum like this.  We shall see what happens…

Furthering the Main Goals of the four courses of blended learningThe targeted students should be Orken teachers and recent graduates of pedagogical institutes from throughout Kazakshtan. Secondary schools in Kazakhstan need to be integrated with higher education goals and objectives, sadlymany secondary school graduates are not adequately prepared for the rigors ofuniversity studies in a western setting. The secondary education curriculum needsto support the goals of this University for future success of the students.Those goals as stated by the President of Kazakhstan are the use of creative solutions toproblems by innovation and using modern technologies.
This goal can only be accelerated and managed if the Kazakh teachers are givenadequate instruction on how to use multimedia programs, teacher-studentcommunication tools and social networking programs. That way the Kazakh teachers can efficiently teach English in all skills of reading, writing, speaking andlistening more effectively to young students who are receptive to this form ofinstruction that uses the self-access approach. That is why all teachers throughout Kazakhstan should be equipped with the high standards of information literacy.That was my mission from the start and to the very end for my PDP students.
Kazakh teachers need the extra training and instruction in information literacyand the use of modern technology especially. These courses were targeted to helpfacilitate the teaching of English in a meaningful manner where the burden istaken off the teacher to “know-all” and placed squarely on the students’ to haveintrinsic motivation to learn on their own independently. Because we are living inthe information age, students will have to take more responsibility for their ownlearning autonomously while the teacher becomes less teacher-centered and allowsthe classroom to be more student-centered.
However, the parents of school children need to become involved in this processas well so that the learning community is not only with teachers and students.Sometimes the parents may expect teachers to be wizards and to make their children geniuses. Teachers in Kazakhstan need to be given higher status bylearning and knowing more. Otherwise, it will be impossible for the public to beopen or ready to have specialists in the field of technology, if the teachers are notgiven adequate training and continuing education courses as the President of Kazakhstan knows is important in any company or corporation.
I believe that if you teach the teachers properly, the rest will follow. I believe the changes that are needed are those in education and that is why an achievable goal is to eventually have a Masters degree program for teachers so they are betterequipped to teach modern technologies to their students. These four courses aremerely a certificate program that can be thought of as a pilot project to eventuallyturn into an MA degree program. I believe from the caliber that I have seen inthe teachers I have worked with this past year, they are very capable. Once they learn different teaching methods and the use of information literacy, it will have a tremendous ripple effect with the Kazakh students for the ultimate good of this great country of Kazakhstan.

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