ERG SES H 12, Assessment in Education
Development of education system in Kazakhstan follows the general trends of global education system. Active growth, ongoing modernization of education, high speed access to the last achievements of science and technology in the beginning of XXI century have had a revolutionary impact on methods, technology and content of education on all its levels in young former Soviet country Kazakhstan. Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) which has demonstrated positive influences in teaching and learning processes in Europe is introduced in the country as an innovative and alternative approach to Soviet Union legacy and traditional learning in our schools. Officials, different stakeholders, researchers, and other actors involved in secondary school system hope that this education model would enable Kazakhstan citizens become global citizens, being active part of integration and internationalization as well as overcome existing socio-economic challenges. It is also sharply discussed in the context of implementation of the Trilingualism Policy in Kazakhstan.
In mainstream schools of Kazakhstan students have one medium of instruction which might be either Kazakh or Russian. In the meantime, when students are accepted to Nazarbayev Intellectual schools (NIS) from grade 7, they study particular subjects only in Kazakh or Russian languages regardless of their initial medium of instruction. The list of subjects taught in Kazakh as L2 includes History of Kazakhstan and Geography, in Russian as L2 – World History and ICT. Gradually students also start to study Science related disciplines in English, which is the third language (L3). NIS is an experimental platform for the implementation and adaptation of widespread advanced trends in education, further disseminating its experience to the whole secondary school over the country. Nazarbayev Intellectual school of Physics and Mathematics in Taraz is one of them.
This research is the part of longitudinal qualitative research which intends to study CLIL teachers’ practice generally and examine the effectiveness of CLIL oriented professional development (PD) courses and present the results of the first round. The rest part will be outlined in the end of academic year 2017-2018 in June.This research attempts to address the following questions:
- What challenges do NIS CLIL teachers face in delivering content?
- How CLIL teachers address the challenges?
- What in-service PD courses CLIL teachers attend?
- How professional development courses affect teaching quality?
The rationale behind of this research was the results of the previous study on NIS teachers’ perceptions and challenges faced in CLIL classrooms which was presented at ECER 2017 in Copenhagen. According to the previous research conducted in 2016 in NIS Taraz, due to inadequate language skills for implementing the CLIL, teachers had a feeling of insecurity in teaching their subject. It was many teachers’ potential problem. They had not known also how to conduct CLIL classes, since teaching methods were different from the ones they were trained and practiced. A problem for many teachers, principally, was that they had not felt they had the skills and knowledge to do this. Apart from poor language and methodological knowledge, teachers reported about lack of support and help by school administration. Therefore, in order to improve the language competence and teaching skills of content teachers, school administration organized different types of professional development courses. Also, both content and language teachers worked collaboratively so that they could learn and share ways of teaching. Due to the lack of official pre-service programs in the country, where content teachers can prepare themselves as CLIL teachers and the constant need for in-service teacher training programs, NIS organizes master classes and workshops with professional CLIL trainers.
This large scale qualitative research employed case study since the given method could enable us with rich and reliable data (Cohen,2007) . We made an emphasis implicitly on the practice of CLIL model in school, where all the CLIL teachers had been taking various professional development courses at the period of research conduction in school and elsewhere. The courses were aiming at preparing educators to deliver content in L2 (Kazakh and Russian) and L3(English) properly and improve their teaching skills. The research was conducted at the site of NIS in Taraz city which has been practicing CLIL 4 years and disseminating its experience to pilot schools of the region. We applied such instruments as individual interviews, lesson observations and document analysis in order to collect maximum credible data (Cresswell,2014). The study had engaged 30 CLIL teachers with different medium of instruction such as Kazakh, Russian and English and different teaching experience, background education and preparation by maximum variation sampling. Teachers of 10 different subjects shared with their perspectives on the effectiveness professional development courses in face to face interviews prior to going to observe their lessons, afterwards it led to follow up interviews with some teachers. Lesson observations foci were teachers’ language use and method of teaching content in target language. Official documents as teachers’ Kaztest (Kazakh language test), Aptis, IELTS results for the period of 2013 to 2018, subject test results, teachers’ final papers for training courses were thoroughly studied for parallel comparison and final analysis of the interviews and lesson observations. The research was held in strong accordance with all the ethical principles and standards. After getting gatekeeper’s permission for research conduction informed consent forms were presented to the participants. Those consent forms informed them about research purpose and whole procedure. Teachers were selected on volunteer basis and given the chance to withdraw at any time. The school administration was interested in this research and had given us permission to name the school. However teachers’ names were not asked and written during Interviews and observation processes. Pseudonyms were used to keep participants’ confidentiality and anonymity. Any personal identifiers emerged during the Interview was coded and removed.
Results of the first session revealed that CLIL teachers had gained enough confidence within 4 years of experience. All of them had highlighted a great effectiveness of language courses conducted in school by local Kazakh, Russian and English language teachers once a week as well as of those trainings teachers had done abroad. Once school administration became aware of CLIL teachers’ need in their support by previous study results, school principal and vice principals tried to provide personal and professional support for CLIL teachers, encouraging them, learners and parents. Interviews, lesson observations and document analysis witnessed teachers’ progress in classroom in terms of language competency. However, teachers wished to have several classes on language preparation or chance to consult with their language trainers more often rather than one hour per week. Besides, research participants emphasized the utmost essence of in-service professional development courses which were held once a week at school by CLIL trainers. This type of courses fostered methodological growth, and according to the results of lesson observations almost all the participant teachers looked professional and skillful. PD courses and horizontal planning ascribed neat collaboration among teachers of different departments. Mostly, language teachers had initiated assisting CLIL teachers with planning and linguistic goal setting for the lesson and on the way of achieving those aims. Moreover, through analyzing documents about language competencies of the teachers, it was found out that language knowledge rate of the teachers is gradually increasing. Despite, some CLIL teachers showed their intention to become the part of curriculum development and policymaking process to be confident and aware about CLIL in-depth. Overall, the first half of the research resulted with positive tendency mostly. The second round of this research is in progress now and going to be finalized by June, 2018and included into presentation in Bolzano.
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