If you get the chance to go to Kazakhstan – go. It was my privilege to go out there on a fact finder trip to a group of new schools that are full of the keenest teachers & students you’re likely to see anywhere.
I’d love to share some photos of the schools but for obvious reasons I can’t. Needless to say, small classes, 3 languages of English, Kazakh & Russian in subjects including science pretty intense. Can you imagine understanding photosynthesis in your third language? Can you imagine teaching English as your third language? Incredible but it was there.
Plenty of ICT resources too and internet throughout. Interestingly the web at home for all staff and children was commonplace too. These were not perhaps typical Kazakh families but still a surprise when you go armed with preconceptions.
What about social networking? I asked the students.
Do you use Facebook?
The students laughed politely. No they don’t use it. None of them do. Shock. What they actually use is a virtual clone of Facebook for Russian speaking people and they don’t go anywhere near Facebook at all. Apparently a Russian student came up with their platform and the parallels are quite similar to our American friend. I could kick myself now because I don’t recall the name of the system. Let me know if you know please and put me out of my misery?
Bottom line? Travel still broadens the mind. It’s a pain in the neck logistically but the experience is pure gold every time so if you get the chance just do it.