Posts tagged corruption

Finished FULL week of classes

Yesterday marked the end of the third week of teaching composition I classes to my 85 plus students. The two earlier weeks were only four days long because we started on a Tuesday and then we had Labor Day Monday off. So, this was a tolerable week because my last class had about five football players missing (they sit in the front rows) and some of my farmers (they sit towards the back) who are hauling sugar beets. This one class I have at 1:00 p.m. every MWF is a puzzling one. I have 20 students with only four girls and then the athletes and farmers. What a strange mix. They are compliant and dutifully follow my instructions but I have to keep on top of them constantly. It’s the girls that have been the quirky ones lately. The one woman from Somalia or Liberia is probably my best student. Otherwise, all the rest are from here except the football players who are from California, Florida and Texas.

I actually feel sorry for these football players because we have a really bad team competing in Division II, we should be back in Division III because we are just a small university. Don’t know what they were thinking when they moved on up to compete against really tough players from bigger schools that have the backing. Some of my players are quick and good, they get it. Others are here for the full ride scholarship and are NOT academic at all. It was said that once the season is over, they high tale it out of Minnesota and back to the warmth of their former states. We shall see how many last in MY class.

The students are learning about logical fallacies, thesis statements, in-text citations, research databases and a host of other things related to APA formatting style. They have already done one essay for me about their grandparents and I had to ask a second time in their revision paper for FIVE descriptive adjectives about their grandparents. Out of the 85 essays I got with their rough drafts, I only got about 3-4 concrete descriptions. Did they think I was kidding? I had a scoring rubric that read on the top “Follow Instructions Well.” They will know that everything I ask of them, I mean it.

Now I have assigned Paper #2 which is titled “Words Matter” and they have written a persuasive essay on one of the following words like: competition, cooperation, resistance to corruption, patriotism, persistence, trustworthiness, thrift…I can’t remember the other three. These are values we talked about earlier and these were the ones that rose to the top as most important to them out of a list of 40 cultural values. THEN they also have to include in this paper an antonym to the word they choose. So, even though some would like to do “resistance to corruption” it will be difficult to find a journal article that would support corruption. We shall see what they will come up with for essays of 1,000 words.

I was pleased with some of the first essays that I saw with Paper #1. I had started to read one in my first 10:00 a.m. class yesterday and got emotional when I read about a set of grandparents (described very well) who were at the deathbed of the grandpa. They had been married 62 years and the author was able to capture the moment of their loving eyes towards each other during that poignant scene of his departing. She wrote that you could FEEL the love in that hospital room. Oh my, I couldn’t get through it without tearing up and getting emotional. My students looked at me kind of funny but it made my point. I told them, I don’t even KNOW this elderly couple but the power of words is important. Before moving on, I said that an author has the ability of making emotion come alive in others.

Okay, enough written, back to grading papers!

Leave a comment »

Three Different Kazakh students short writings

These Kazakh students’ writings (averaging about 160 words) were written in 30 minutes by my young, impressionable students.  What they wrote caught my eye because they had a clear message.  Whether you agree or not with these students and what they wrote doesn’t matter.  For my purposes, I just asked them to write what their grandparents thought of the past.  A few answered the question directly, others just gave OTHER interesting information. I’m going to have to work on their specifically answering the question as they prepare for the IELTS test…

Essay #1 I have a great story…Great story about my grandfather.  He died 3-4 years ago. But his name will never be forgotten because of his way, sacred way…My grandfather’s name is Nurmakhan.  He lived in southern Kazakhstan, near the city of Shymkent, in Abais ayl.  So in this ayl (very little city) there is a place where there’s a lot of stones.  When he was just a little boy, his mother (my grand grandmother) placed him near these huge stones.  And I think that the ability which he had, he climbed up at this young age.  Today this place name is “Gaiyp eren Kyryk shilten” [not sure what this means in English] and many people as tourists come to this place.  If you have a problem with your health, or if you want anything else you can go to this place.  As a result, many people thanks our God.  It’s really sacred place with healthy water, with interesting and amazing stones.  Just I can’t describe this place, just go and see for yourself!!!

#2 I don’t agree with my grandparents

I know my grandparents thought very well about the Soviet Union because they’ve never seen Kazakhstan without Soviet Union.  They thought that Kazakhstan couldn’t live, couldn’t exist without the Soviet Union.  My grandparents said to their sons that Moscow is the capital city of their Motherland.  I don’t agree with my grandparents.  I think my Kazakhstan is a country which can decide own problems about country.  Nowadays I’m shocked how my grandparents said that Kazakhstan lived only with Soviet Union and Russia. It is not really so.  Of course, Kazakhstan and Russia are partners, economically and politically.  But Kazakhstan isn’t a republic which depends on another country.

My grandfather was a tractorist and my grandmother was a teacher.  My grandfather participated in the II Patriotic War.  Maybe it influenced my grandparents.  I know that for my grandparents, their motherland is Soviet Union.  Maybe for my parents too.  But for me, my motherland is my Kazakhstan, my KZ.  I love my motherland!

Essay #3 Kazakhstan’s economics is not so good

There are many problems but first of all, I think we should fight against corruption.  Why do I want it?  Because corruption disturbs the development of our country.  For example, the level of education might be better but unfortunately many of our students often hope for their dad’s money, therefore our country doesn’t have enough clever workers.  And second, what I have noticed is that many buildings are built not good enough.  Due to half of that money which should have been spent on good houses or on different buildings, some people take.   We have many, many problems like this in our country.  Now, I don’t know how I can solve this problem but I can just offer to study hard and not make the same mistakes as other parents.  To sum up, I think corruption is our great problem, so it will be my first aim to solve it.

Comments (2) »

Voted BEST ppt and VERY Last Comments

Last night I had my MA graduate students, who are in different programs and disciplines, look at my MBA students ppt presentations from spring semester.  In anticipation of doing their own final project, I wanted my current students to see what the final product should look like. 

Of course, I took off the names of my former students from the title page of the first slide so that they could be evaluated without infringing on privacy issues.  I had those 19 who attended last night look at the slides very quickly but carefully.  We were not looking at content but rather the layout of each and noting whether the criteria I set out had been satisfied.  I expected a title page, helpful graphics, wording the right size explaining their topic and a reference page done in APA format. The seven topics shown were:  1) oil economy 2) tourism in Kyrgyzstan, 3) financial crisis, 4) photography, 5) corruption, 6) violence against women and 7) leadership. 

Violence against women won out.  Why? because the person’s passion and heart showed through her slides even though she was not in the classroom where her speech from last spring had proven very impassioned. Second, was the corruption slideshow because the presenter had been damaged by corruption and his statistics and graphics were very good.  Perhaps it had been therapeutic for him to do this project.  Several years ago, he had started a business and lost a large sum of money due to bribery and extortion.  Both topics garnered the most of the students votes because they commented that both were very actual in their own society and elsewhere in the world.

Back to what my listening students had been writing about “Doll Face “and “Freedom Within,” these are the VERY last comments even though there were more.  My undergraduate students sent these comments to me electronically, I just HAD to share what their deep thoughts were.  I’m pleased to be all 100 students’ teacher, most all are working hard to do their assignments.

Lena wrote about “Doll Face”

That woman robot was totally artificial. She was just constructed mechanic machine. And when she first saw a shot of more naturally face than she had, she decided to become the same. At first time it was very easy to her, because all her needs were just lipstick, powder, and special pencil for her brows. Of course she was happy; her aim was achieved, and her face became more natural. But as I can say, nothing changed at all. It was just superficial perception of being human. And suddenly shot on the TV set changed again. At that tome it was more beautiful and more natural face of a REAL WOMAN! Robot was surprised, but she continued her “extreme makeover” . She changed lenses, made her make up better. And her face became totally the same with the face on the shot.

But I noticed that every time before shot changed, TV set moved away. And every time it moved farther and farther. I think it means the more strong and difficult aim you have the more force and efforts you should put on it.

But this robot had limitation on her long stretching. And when the next shot was showed, she couldn’t even see it. Her mechanism wasn’t long enough. SO after all attempts, “she” broke up.

 This film showed us an analogy on our daily life. Every time we try to be better, i.e. to change something in our looks, behaviour, or way of life. Society presses on us. But the “broken up” ending in this video, shows us that some day, we can be broken up too. It could be moral, psychological or even physical trauma. We should be stronger, and never try to find a special idol.

The more suitable example is Hollywood. Many women and men go to a plastic surgeon, to change their looks. They want to be tiny, more beautiful, to have another shape of nose; sometimes they want to look like famous celebreties, but they can’t stop! After one plastic operation goes another and once it could be mortal for them.

BE YOURSELF! only harmony with your soul and body can make you happy.

 Yesmurat wrote about Freedom Within and answered the questions “Where do you feel trapped?”   From my personal view, it is only our imagination when we think that there is no way to exit from a problem. If we have equation, we always have solution. However once I was in the situation, when I wanted to do something, but it was not in my hands. My grandfather was dying in my hands, and I could not help him, then I understood that we, people, are very wick creatures, that everything in God’s hands.

Rustem wrote the following about the two video clips:  My own impression about the movie “Doll Face” was that people have to live their lives being themselves. If they will copy someone else their life will be broken.  I also believe that we don’t have to find our selves, we have to create our selves.

 My impression about the movie “Freedom Within” was that there are so many beautiful moments in our world but some people don’t see them.

 Tolegen wrote his opinion about “Freedom within”

 In my opinion, the idea of the film doesn’t aim to show that freedom was under carpet, but the freedom in near us. And the main hero is a regular human, who is mired in the gray routine, stuck in the box, however freedom is always at hand.

It certainly affects Kazakhstan and a lot of other countries as well, because such problem is everywhere where people suffer from the same routine everyday, becoming a “bird in the cage” and feeling all alone with no perspectives. However freedom is near us, we should just open ourselves to it, we just need to start longing for it.

Comments (1) »

Corruption at Our University???–Not so fast!!!

The following are what my Kazakhstani students wrote:

 

I think ours is the only University without corruption using money as a source of it, but I’ve heard about sexual corruption here, when girls get A+ for being with a lecturer couple times.  Fortunately, Kazakhstan politics let foreign professors come and teach here!

 

I heard that there are some corruption here.  Some securities helping to students for money to enter the teacher’s office.  And the students grabbing their exams even they can log on their computers to find information about exam.  I think students who are doing this are doing nothing good for themselves.

 

There was one situation when I first entered our university, I asked is it possible to pay to a teacher so he will get you A+, somebody told me that if you want A+ you should buy a teacher a car!!! And after that I didn’t even think about it.

Today, I didn’t see that someone is trying to “buy a teacher.” But there is a group of people that help students.  For example, made different assignments for us.  Sometimes it is very comfortable.  If you have many subjects and you haven’t time to do assignments, you can ask this group to do it instead of you.  Of course, it is not fair and you don’t learn the main points that your university teachers gives to you!

 

I have never met corruption at our university and I’m really happy with this, this place is the only university, where there is no corruption in Almaty (in suburban areas situation is even worse).  I think the only reason why corruption still exists is teachers’ small salaries and I think that they are not guilty, this is the government’s fault.  Teachers and doctors are the main professions and their salaries are less than accountants or manager’s, that I think is simply not fair!  Ours is a private institution, that is why it pays good salaries and is independent.  It does not depend on government payments, that is why there is no corruption here.

 

Taking into account the level of corruption that we have here in KZ (According to the list of most corrupted countries, we are in the top list, definitely top 50 😉 However, our university is considered as non-corrupted, but to tell the truth, you can compare our place with the U.S. where common people do not give or receive bribes but very few people in power do.

I heard very few stories of bribing teachers, usually they are some local teachers, almost none are foreign.  It is understandable that people who are educated, and intelligent and if they earn enough money, they will not get involved with things like bribery. 

On the other hand, teachers in state universities of KZ are also educated and intelligent but they earn almost 5 times less than our university teachers.

Most cases of bribery we may witness at the higher level (like administration), people are merged in groups and lobby interest of each other, relatives work together and things like that happen.

As tolerance of our people is pretty high, I can say that corruption will still exist until new generation comes to power.

 

Actually, I haven’t heard or seen any cases of corruption here because our institution is private.  I don’t know how it is supported by politics but I know that the President [Nazarbayev] helped it a lot at the early stage of growing when it was only opening.  This place is financed completely form its students.

Honestly, I never heard anything about corruption here at our university.  I didn’t have any professor or staff asking me for a bribe.  There are many professors who come from other countries and I think they think it is not normal to ask a bribe from students in order for them to get a better grade.  However, here we have many professors who are from Kazakhstan and I still didn’t hear anything about corruption because in my opinion they value their job and they make a decent amount of money.  In contrast, I know that in many other universities in Kazakhstan, bribery is a normal thing.  For instance, students can buy the grade that they want.

I don’t know a lot about Kazakhstan’s politics because there are so many things happening in the world.  However, our President [Nazarbayev] visited our campus’ new building this summer.  It was shown everywhere, on TV, newspapers.  My thought is that it was some kind of advertisement for our school.  Our President is very good at International Relationship matters.  Globalization is happening so we need people who can speak English and know about other countries.

 

I believe teachers at our university do not take any bribes.  But there was a story, last year when we were preparing for our final exams, my friend came to me and said: “Oh, you’re preparing for an exam? Stupid you are.  Here are the answer keys, take it.”  It shocked me.  When the exam day came, I saw that the answers were the same as in the answer key that she gave me.  I got angry.  I think that it is dishonest.  Then I asked her: “Where did you get this answer key?”  She said, “From security.” This answer made me calm, I was happy there was no bribe among teachers.

And what about politics in Kazakhstan, I think it helps the future of our university because in the Ministry of Education of KZ, they made some correctnesses [sic] in the constitution of education and some rules are changed, I think it will help for the future of our school.

 

I’ve never been a witness of corruption in our university.  Nevertheless, it’s rumored that some students buy answers to the exam.  To be more clear, it’s necessary to say they steal them.  Main tool for doing this dishonest action are the securities.  But in my point of view, that’s not true.  Firstly, most of professors are foreigners.  And second reason is that teachers wouldn’t leave exams in the cabinets.  Even if they do, there are lots of cameras nearly everywhere.

Kazakhstan politics helps our university directly by inviting professors from abroad.  It’s unusual for them to take bribes.  And the exchange programs help a lot, our students are punished in another country and would not like to experience the same feelings coming back in Kazakhstan.

 

I’ve not heard so many kinds of corruption but a little where people who I’ve heard from said that it is very dangerous and mostly impossible.  Firstly, I heard to buy a diploma from our university and to be finished here (but I don’t know what mark and GPA you will have) it costs about $15,000, but it depends on your mark and GPA that you want, (this is my point of view).  Secondly, I’ve heard that two semesters mark you can get for $6,000.  So Kazakhstan’s politics helps to stop corruption in our university but I don’t think you can stop corruption, not even in 50 years because it is now like a normal thing.

 

 

Leave a comment »