Kazakh Teachers’ Views on Education (Part III)

Today will be the last installment (for a while) of my former students’ writings on their own Kazakh educational system. It would be interesting to line up the problems that American teachers have next to those that are part of the daily grind of the Kazakh teachers.  I sympathize with these teachers in Kazakhstan who have a Herculean job to educate their young charges in three languages, catching up with the rest of the world but doing so with skimpy resources.

Perform a miracle with these bright minds of the future, but DO it without much help other than learning pedogogical theory and DO it with a low pay and lowly status.  I suppose my American teaching colleagues have guns to fear or stubborn and rebellious students to coddle.  Usually if a teacher knows her students’ needs, she can tell when someone is a bit “off” and needs some counseling.  The tragedies that have happened in the U.S. and elsewhere when kids shoot up other kids, like Columbine for instance, should never happen.

So, please when you read my fifth student’s entry on what she thought about “change mangement” she is only using the term “guns” and “shooting” to illustrate a point. An American teacher would never make this innocent mistake.

Student #5 – Throughout our PDP program we students of our American teacher discussed a lot about the changes we as young teachers could introduce to the rotten system of post soviet thinking. It is really good to speak about the problems, and make people aware of them. I was always a good critic of my surroundings and saw the problems people have here very well since my own student time. But since I started to go to school as a teacher I saw many students smart ahead of their time and smarter than me. Also, they turned out to be more aware of the “problem people.”

Now I am anxious to become one of those who knows the problem and complains but also never sees the solutions that are taking place. I think that it is good if we take change management as our guns and start shooting people with the idea of changing, but we have to not forget that we have to also shoot people with taking actions rather than being simply aware.

So, in my opinion, the first thing we must pay attention to is developing critical thinking. We should teach students think about the reason of what they are doing. So, in the nearest future students can ask questions and teachers must be ready to answer them. Unfortunately, the majority of teachers are not ready for these changes. They want students obey them totally.

Second, if we want to change something we should begin with the top. That means, with our administration because however smart and modern teachers are, they can’t do anything without the approval of the boss.

I’ve learnt much from these courses and I hope I will be able to apply the knowledge I got here.

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