Investments in knowledge bring better gain
Education is the best investment of our time. The Bolashak program is the best and most advanced program in the post-Soviet space and one of the best in the world. Over 30 years of the implementation of the Presidential Scholarship, about 12 thousand highly qualified specialists have been trained. This list includes AlmaU teachers Bodaubaeva Gulmira Akhanovna and Umirzakova Dinara Kaldybekovna. They shared their thoughts on the experience abroad.
1. Please tell us why you chose the University of Illinois? What attracted you to this university?
The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign - UIUC is one of the most prestigious US universities that has been operating for 155 years. Among universities, UIUC is ranked in the top 20 universities and in the top 5% in academic rankings around the world. More than 51 thousand students and graduate students study at the university, more than 2.5 thousand teachers work, 11 of them are Nobel laureates. This is a whole independent student city with a developed modern infrastructure, which includes a unique university library, the second largest in the United States after Harvard, centers for many start-ups and well-known companies: Yahoo, Capital One, Dow, State Farm and many others. others. We are not the first teachers who did an internship at UIUC, earlier in 2021 Kuanysh Abeshev, Dean of the School of Digital Technologies and Asel Arynkyzy, Vice-Rector for Academic Development, who recommended UIUC as an internship base for AlmaU teachers, underwent an internship at this university.
2. What subject did you do your internship in? What is the feature?
The internship program was held in the specialty "Pedagogical Innovations". The peculiarity of the program was the study of modern approaches and aspects for the formation of an effective structure of the training course, the creation of educational design, familiarization with the methods of online teaching and learning, and more. etc. The program itself was full of various events, within which we attended various seminars, trainings, workshops, as well as review classes by leading teachers of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
3. Let's remember the first day of the internship. How did she go?
The first day of our internship began with a visit to an event that took place on March 4, 2022, which was organized by the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. This unique Annual Faculty Retreat - "Breaking Down the Garden Walls: A Promise of Access to Success", which brings together teachers, is to share knowledge about teaching and learning. There were interesting presentations by speakers on topics related to learning, developing relationships, building teacher-student partnerships, student assessment, using educational information resources, and presenting student projects. We are very lucky because this large-scale event is held every year and we were lucky to be participants in it on the very first day of our internship.
4. Did you encounter any difficulties during the internship? If so, please tell us a little more about it.
During the internship, we did not have any particular difficulties, maybe at first there was some feeling of excitement and worries about the change in the situation, the time zone, since the time difference with the United States, time in Kazakhstan is 12 hours ahead. At first, everything was new and unfamiliar for us, but thanks to the interaction with the specialists of the Department of Global Education and Training, which is the inviting party, the adaptation was easy.
I am very grateful to our internship facilitators, which are Department Director Matt Rosenstein, Robert Marinelli Associate Director and Chilan Beau-Lynn Senior Education Specialist at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning for their help with the internship and their willingness to support at any time.
5. How to apply for an internship? Share your experience.
Submission of documents for the internship is carried out online through the web portal of "electronic government" www.egov.kz. All requirements and necessary documents can be found on the website https://bolashak.gov.kz/ru. All this allows applicants from various remote regions of the country to take part in the competition. After the acceptance and verification of documents by the staff of the Center for International Programs, the next stage is the competitive selection, which consists of 3 rounds, such as:
Round 1 - Comprehensive testing;
Round 2 - Personal interview with NEC members;
Round 3 - meeting of the Republican Commission for the training of personnel abroad.
Comprehensive testing includes tests for the analysis of verbal and numerical information in order to determine the ability to analyze information. The most stressful moment is the time limit, so when in doubt, it's better to move on to the next task rather than waste your time. You also go through a questionnaire to identify the personal qualities and psychological portrait of the applicant in order to understand how ready he is to effectively and adapt in a new country and cope with difficulties. Questions may be repeated in different forms to confuse the respondent.
The most difficult stage, in my opinion, is the interview, it is on it that the applicant must convince the members of the NEC that he really deserves to be a scholarship holder of the Bolashak International Scholarship. As a rule, the interview takes place in three languages. Questions are related to the purpose, the internship program to determine the professional level of the applicant and awareness of the choice of specialty. In addition, general questions may be asked to understand how interested the applicant is and what benefits he can bring to society after completing the internship.
6. What are the requirements for participating in an internship?
The requirements for participation in the internship are quite simple:
availability of an unconditional invitation to a foreign organization hosting an internship;
total work experience of at least 3 (three) years, including the last 12 (twelve) months in the chosen area of specialization;
availability of a valid official certificate of passing the KAZTEST exam with a result of at least level B1;
knowledge of a foreign language that meets the established minimum requirements.
The most difficult thing is to receive an invitation from the host, since the list of universities is limited, and it is published on the website https://bolashak.gov.kz/ru. In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude to the leadership of ALMAU and the Office of International Cooperation in facilitating the development of the program in conjunction with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
7. Tell us about the internship program in the specialty "Pedagogy"?
The internship program in the specialty "Pedagogy" was very rich. In general, the program can be broken down into the following components:
- visiting classes of leading teachers;
- attending workshops, master classes on the redesign of education;
- meetings and consultations with the program advisor;
- participation in seminars and conferences;
- development of an online course;
- visiting additional classes in selected courses in the amount of 7 credits per semester.
We got acquainted with advanced technologies in teaching, constantly participated in discussions on improving classes: learner-centered learning, Bloom's taxonomy, course design, course requirements, syllabus compilation, student engagement technologies, student assessment, interactive tools, tools for checking background knowledge, specification tables for exams, effective assessment of student learning, subjective and objective elements of assessment, useful digital tools for classroom learning and web interaction - Jamboard, Google Slides, Telegra.ph, MIRO, hypothes.is, Kialo.EDU, Timeline JS, Wheel of Names, Vocaroo, JeopardyLabs, Kahoot, Padlet, FlipGrid, Mindmeister.
8. What are your impressions of the internship?
Great internship experience! I got the opportunity to do an internship at one of the top US universities. From the inside, I studied the education system and new learning technologies that are used in one of the most developed countries in the world. And this was naturally reflected in my views, I received new knowledge and skills that I am going to apply already here, in Kazakhstan, within the walls of ALMAU.
I can give a few examples - details that seem important to me. In particular, when building a course, it is very important to take into account all the nuances, starting with the compilation of the syllabus, since this is one of the main teaching tools, and it should be designed from the point of view of involvement in the course. For example, in a syllabus, you can use the creative idea "Big course idea", which the teacher must develop himself. The evaluation system is also very important to review, taking into account the objective and subjective elements.