Posts tagged Change Management

Kazakh Teachers’ Views about Education in Kazakhstan

I am using the astute writings from my former Kazakh students who are teachers in Kazakhstan’s educational system. They, of anyone, should know what is needed for changes to happen (and quickly). During our Professional Development classes, I had them respond on Moodle to a slideshow I had gotten from a friend of mine who worked at Chevron. Her position was that of facilitating change in different countries by “change management.” She was quite persuasive that things could not continue in “this is the way we have always done it.”  She had been a guest speaker to my MBA classes when I taught in Almaty.  I still had her ppt presentation which is what my ten teachers watched and responded to in the context of thinking about changing management in education. Here are their views:

Student #1 – When I saw the ppt about Change Management, for the first time I thought about the possible “business plan” for the future. I have never thought that the management system in companies like Chevron are so alike the ones we have at schools and there could be any resemblance between schools and companies.

Change Agents? Wow, that sounds very intriguing. Like spies. I think what I’ve learned for these 20 weeks can be very useful not only for me and my colleagues, but also for the school where I will work in future. I know that at first it will be hard to “force” our ideas onto the management and the older teachers with many years of experience; and they won’t listen to us and take our words so easily. We have to show in practice what we have learned and gain respect, and then take some actions in the way changes.

I remember what one of PDP classmates said to me about what her advisor said to her once: “I know that you have better scores in IELTS than the others teachers do, and you are currently having courses about new teaching technologies and can work with computer tools; but this doesn’t mean that you can teach better than they do. They have a HUGE bag of teaching experience and worked methods. That’s why it is better to learn from them how to successfully get the main goals of teaching and teach THEM what you’ve learned at Nazarbayev University at PDP classes”. These were the words of her advisor.

Nevertheless, I think that if a person has something in mind and desire to make it happen, he will do it anyway. But this may need some time and great efforts. I wish good luck to all my group-mates in the “battle” for changes!

Student #2 – During all these months I learned many things that I had never heard before. I used to think that teaching was mostly boring. Actually, it was boring for me when I studied at the institute and had practice at schools.

What I like about the course is I was taught by a professional Western teacher. The first advantage is we had a foreign atmosphere in our lessons. And the second one is we learned about the disadvantages of our Kazakh schools. If we had a professional Kazakh teacher, I doubt if we could deal with that.

Now, it is our turn to show what we were taught, to make change in classroom atmosphere. WE know so many things and can apply any of them at school. We can use surveys (Survey Monkey), for writing, guest invitations for speaking and many other things. The most important is that we should stay in the way even after completion, because there would be no one to help us. And we should learn for ourselves and self-develop. I don’t want years later to meet my group mates, who didn’t use what we learned in PDP with her students. On my part, I will try to do my best to teach what I know to my environment. The majority of the teachers at NIS have been in a foreign country and also know about the modern ways of teaching. Sharing the experiences, we will be able to build a new society at school.”

(to be continued)

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Effectual Dreaming about “Effective Management”


PA060563Last night for my masters class of “English Speaking and Listening” we had as our guest speaker, Daniel J. Connelly talk about “effective management.” He represented CITIbank. He has been with this same organization for 27 years, living in Atlanta, Georgia; Irving, California; Seoul, Korea; Indonesia, Russia and currently in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  I know his wife Julia Connelly, from AIWC (Almaty International Women’s Club)  She has made every move with Dan and sees it as a great adventure.


Dan shared about their organization’s pyramid with four tiers and how people at CITIbank can move to the next level up called “turns.”  From M.O.S. (managers of self) to M.O. (managing others) to M.O.M. (manager of managers) to finally the peak of the organization M.E (executive manager or Manager of the Enterprise). Dan admitted to a question posed by one of my more inquisitive students, that he was a M.E. in Kazakhstan.


Dan talked afterwards about Citibank’s goals or standards, just five of the 10.  These were enough to think about and some of what he said dovetailed with what Marielena from Chevron had spoken on earlier to my class concerning “Change Management.”  Dan claimed that in his organization people always want more information. Communication is BIG, especially when there are changes.


Second, employees expect and want more feedback about their performance (positive or negative) Thus, they can improve if they are found lacking by the time their performance review comes up.  Third, managers should be able to explain how they rank an employee (there should be enough documentation to show why someone received a rank of 1 or 2 rather than a 3 or 4).  Fourth, a manager must have the ability to make tough decisions; finally the fifth, need an understanding of a bigger picture at any level.


Hearing these goals or standards at Citibank made me wonder: how does one come in from the outside as a manager to fix a department that is broken?  I’m not a manager and am happy to stay at the lower tier level of teaching. I suppose there are certain skill sets that people have to move up to the next rung in order to be EFFECTIVE!!!  I’d like to see more of those goals or standards implemented in my own insulated department where I work.  I can effectively dream, can’t I?


Finally, the best thing Dan said in answer to a question about his background was that his undergrad was in English Literature.  He is a reader and analyzed things early on in his career of finance which lent itself well to his first jobs and even now.  My KZ students need to know that reading is the key in order to become better writers.  I want both for them.  But that takes hard work. Some of these masters students need to work hard as well. I caught some cheating last week when they took their midterm on our four prior speakers.  Very enlightening to find out that perhaps over half the MA students were from outside our western university culture.  This place tries to drill it into their students by the fourth year that cheating and plagiarism is verbotten.


I’ll be giving the mid-term exams back to my students tomorrow along with a little pep talk before mid-term break about working on their papers.  I really want them to find out how important it is to read academic journal articles.  You have to have substance in order to be able to have a good final product.


I think my masters students appreciated yet another GREAT speaker who was candid enough about his background and experiences and willing to share his valuable time with us.  Maladetz! Dan! Thank you!!!

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Photos with Two Speakers from Chevron and Nestle

P9170538My MA graduate students listened to two lectures this past week as part of their English Listening and Speaking course.  Both speakers are friends of mine from outside my university.  They readily agreed and accepted to come and talk with my eager, graduate students.  

P9150530On Sept. 16, Marielena Andino, Project Manager at Chevron talked about “Change Management.”  On Sept. 18 a Financial Director for the Eurasia section of Nestle, Rafael Requena came and talked about “Nestle Principles.” After his talk and answering the students many questions, he handed out big Nestle candy bars.  My students were VERY pleased!  I was too.


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Change Management (Part II)

Yesterday I referred to what my graduate and undergraduate students reported in their assessment of our Language Center management.  Today I will show part #3 of this tool and the responses are quite positive.  Tomorrow, I may reveal the dark side of the different patterns that are apparent to two different groups of people, first year students and graduate students who have been around the block with our university.

Sponsorship All sponsors understand their role in making the change successful and visibly demonstrate their commitment Reinforcement  Rewards and consequence are built into the deployment, demonstrating commitment to change 
 Clear Direction Implementation has been appropriately framed, with clear objectives, scope, and success metrics Competency Development The organization has the skills and tools to be successful if asked to exhibit new behaviors


CommunicationIndividuals at all levels understand how the change impacts them and what actions they need to take to contribute to its success


Measurement Clear metrics and processes to systematically monitor  progress are implemented
EngagementOwnership for the success is cascaded throughout the organization through dialogue and process Planning and ModificationsThere is a doable plan but a process to incorporate the feedback of others is established

Q 5 – Communication – We have a history of developing communications that are effective (e.g. clear, concise and enabling people to know exactly what they mut do to be successful).

Graduate students:  17 Yes 1 No

Undergraduate students 16 Yes 4 No

Q 14 Our university updates their implementation plans throughout the change process to incorporate both what is being learned and the feedback of those most affected

Graduate students 15 Yes  3 No

Undergraduate students 15 yes 5 No.

What does the above mean?  I don’t know, I’m rushing off to my second of three classes today.  This is a FRIDAY and I should thank God for it.  TGIF!  I am making up classes with those missed on Constitution Day because it was a Kazakhstan holiday.  I remember the 9-11 victims and their families today.

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“Change Management” (CM) Assessment Tool Results

 I adapted an assessment tool and gave an inventory concerning “Change Management” this past week to all of my Kazakh students.  Some opted not to do it, others “believe that our university’s Language Center does not need to change and are satisfied with the management approach.”  However, it seemed my older, graduate students had different views than did my first year students.  

 Of the first fourteen questions, this is what was most telling especially with simply giving Yes or No answers to each question:

“A change in management will significantly alter the way teachers and administrators in the Language Center do their existing work.”

Listening students: 16 yes 16 no 50% half agree that it will be a significant change

Writing students:  22 Yes  7 No  76% agree

Masters students: 16 yes 3 No 84% agree

 Of the remaining who agreed in Part #1, these students were asked to answer questions from Part II of the questionnaire: “How complex/challenging is the people side of this Change Management at the Language Center?”

 Q 3 We are aware that the needs of the different teachers and administrators are complex and conflicting and that many people have strong opinions about this change.

Writing students: 20 yes           1 No

Listening students 14 yes          4 No

Masters students  14 yes          4 No


Q9 We need to get this implementation right. Errors will be costly with painful consequences.

Writing students: 18 yes           3 No

Listening students 13 yes          5 No

Masters students: 13 yes          5 No


Q 11 We need to establish/follow a systematic and consistent approach to implementation of Change Management.

Writing students: 18 yes           3 No

Listening students: 15 yes         3 No

Masters students: 15 yes          3 No


Part #3 of this Change Management Assessment Tool dealt with seven areas

1)      Sponsorship

2)      Clear Direction

3)      Communications

4)      Engagement

5)      Shaping/reinforcement and Competency development

6)      Measurement

7)      Planning and Modifications

 I’ll deal with the outcomes of the three parts in tomorrow’s post.  I’m digesting what the patterns are saying to me.  Very interest results.  One last comment made by a writing student that I think tells of his frustration:  “Basically I don’t have any problems with studying at our university and the system of education that is practiced here.  I agree with almost all changes.  The only change that I really don’t like is constantly increasing payment for education.”

(to be continued)

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