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Welcome to Perspectives in Teacher Education!

This will be our class website during the course and is currently “hidden” to search engines but publicly available. Once we have all agreed that the content is ready, we will make it live and visible. This website will ultimately serve as a way to connect and disseminate your learning and knowledge with a wider audience within Kazakhstan and worldwide.

Class meetings

At NU campus, GSE, Room 2001, Block C3

Off campus at UNDP

Office Hours

Daily, prior to class (GSE C3, 5.005) or by appointment (add appointment app)


Email: anna.cohenmiller@nu.edu.kz Office phone: +7 (7172) 70 49 57

WhatsApp: +7 701 109 0392

Class Dates and Times

Monday, June 5—Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Class meetings at NUGSE will take place from 10am-1pm and 2-4pm. Some class meetings will take place off campus and in small groups.

Course overviewThis interdisciplinary course explores issues and perspectives on postsecondary education in the Kazakhstani and international contexts. This course is appropriate for current and future postsecondary educators and other professionals working in postsecondary education contexts. Topics include: shifts in policy and practice for postsecondary educators, professional development and pre-service postsecondary education training, and the sociocultural contexts that shape, influence, and constrain learning and teaching in higher and post-secondary contexts.

The aims of this course are three-fold: (1) to expand students mindset about sociocultural issues of education about the world of higher and post-secondary education through hands-on and reflective practice, (2) to learn about collaborative methods of teaching, and (3) to disseminate information on sociocultural issues of higher education to a Kazakhstani and international audience. For the purposes of the course, our class website is www.issuesinhighered.wordpress.com.

Course conceptual framework: This course is based upon the concepts of respect, understanding, and collaboration as suggested by educational theorists and practitioners such as Maria Montessori, Alfie Kohn, Sir Ken Robinson, Paulo Freire, and Luis Moll. It is learner-centerer and framed to address the needs of the individual and the full class, which may result in a change in the calendar and/or assignments as needed.

  • I see each student as bringing a unique contribution that should be honoured and respected. I expect students to also work to respect a diversity of thought and perspectives while building upon their knowledge. The development of new knowledge is the key and understanding our own perspectives within the way we see the topic will enhance your learning today and your future development.
  • You will be learning multiple aspects in this course–the course topics/objectives as set out–and also an APPROACH to learning and teaching within any context, whether formal or informal that is based upon respect and understanding

Course objectives:

By the end of the course, students who are actively engaged in the course will gain the following objectives as related to perspectives on teacher education, in particular as they relate to sociocultural issues, social justice and multiple ways of knowing:

  1. Describe the role of higher education within a broader local/international society.
  2. Critique and analyse contemporary issues in local, regional, and international higher education contexts.
  3. Conduct fieldwork outside of the university, in an institution/organization that addresses sociocultural issues related to education.
  4. Collect, analyse, and sythensise data related to issues in higher and post-secondary education.
  5. Apply previous learning to critically reflect on the ways in which our identity intersects with our understanding of higher and post-secondary education.
  6. Evaluate the relationships between issues in higher and post-secondary education as they relate to the local/international contexts.

AssessmentIn this course, we will be engaged in what I am referring to as “collaborative assessment.” Inspired by the going gradeless movement, this course will emphasise growth and knowledge development.

  • I will be providing feedback on your work as well as students having a chance to work with one another to provide feedback. Through the use of constructive feedback, you will have a chance to redo and improve your work. At the agreed upon point of mastery for the particular assignment, you will be done with that part of the course. Prior to that you will have an option to redo.
  • In this way, there will be no letter grades or points for each assignment. Instead, at the end of the course, each student will have a conference with me where you will provide a written rationale using specific examples as evidence to demonstrate why you should get a particular grade in the class. 

Assignments: There are FIVE overarching assignments. More details will be provided of each of these assignments in class.

  • 1. Readings (individual work) – with associated summary, critique, peer feedback, and revising. (LOs 1 & 2)
  • 2. Field work with UNDP (group work) – participant observation at UNDP, take field notes, with their presentation at NU, and summary/reflection on the experience. (LOs 1, 3, 5)
  • 3. Link round-up (group work) – search, locate, and organise current higher education posts/articles of interest to those in higher education as related to one specific focus addresses a sociocultural issues within higher education.
  • 4. Gender audit (group work) – read and learn about gender mainstreaming/audits, collect data, analyse, present findings.
  • 5. Dissemination (group work) – in a group of three you will become “editors” of a particular assignment (e.g., readings) and collect revised information from within those assignments.
    • You will then provide a brief report of approximately 2-3 pages and a PowerPoint.
    • The report will provide: (a) an introduction to the assignment, (b) why it is important to higher education, (c) sociocultural themes found from across the information, and (d) suggested next steps.
    • The report should be in English AND Russian or Kazakh.
    • The report will be published on this website and potentially in other outlets as well.

Important reminders about this class:

  • Use of electronics. This class is built upon respect between one another. This means that such things as the use of electronics should be chosen wisely. For instance, texting is particularly disruptive and appears incredibly rude to classmates, but searching for key topics for an assignment on the computer while engaging in group work would be considered an appropriate technique.
  • Attendance is mandatory. We are together for eight days face-to-face and hopefully we can finish everything within that time. It will be intensive, but that’s the nature of an “intensive course.” If an emergency occurs, let me know immediately, so we can ensure you are not unenrolled from the class.
  • There are MAJOR consequences for plagiarism (e.g., using others words without acknowledging the source). You could get expelled from your program. If you don’t know what counts as plagiarism, just ask! Better to be safe than sorry.