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- Scientific methodology: an overview
- Developmental and self-regulatory character of language
- 19. Youth is decisive force of our today and tomorrow
In Uzbekistan 11 years of education are compulsory and free, beginning with 4 years at primary school, and followed by 2 phases of secondary education taking 5 and 2 years respectively. Primary school begins at age 6 and there is no specific leaving examination after the 4 years are complete.
The next 5 years are spent at general secondary school from ages 10 to 15. Following that, there is a choice of between 2 to 3 years of upper education at either general or technical vocational schools. The former provides a certificate of completed secondary education and the opportunity to enter university, the latter a diploma of specialized secondary education, through a network of secondary vocational institutions.
Unemployment remains relatively high, and there are many people desperately in need of new or more appropriate skills. There are a number of state and donor programs in place to address the structural training shortfall. Eventually, the goal is to meet European union standards.
Non university-level tertiary education is provided by national enterprise training centers and a number of business schools, as well as lycea that train professionals in new economic and service fields. Higher education is available from several universities and over 50 higher education institutes.
The flagship is the Taškent Islamic University opened not many years ago. On its grounds still stands the mausoleum of the grandfather of the Mughal Emperor Basbur dating from the 15th Century.
Implementation of correspondence education in Uzbekistan
The national program for professional development (1997), among the tasks connected to improving the preparation of the national pedagogical community, provides for development of a system of professional development of pedagogical specialists. The “flexible system of professional development and retraining of pedagogical specialists providing for high quality and stable development of education” is created that causes a priority orientation of the process of professional development towards support of teachers’ professional and personal development. In turn, “The national program of personnel training” demands a change in the contents and technologies of professional development. In recent years in Uzbekistan, research on development of the theory aimed to increase the qualification of pedagogical personnel has become more active
(N. F. Abdunazarova, N. Z. Mamedov, H. F. Rashidov, D. G. Yuldashev, etc.). On the basis of the best foreign practices, the State requirements for retraining and professional development of pedagogical cadres which “are applied to organizational and scientific, methodical support of educational activity of establishments in the field of retraining and professional development of pedagogical cadres were developed and defined: the structure of the system of retraining and professional development of teachers; the main types and forms of retraining and professional development ...”
The backbone of the component of the organizational structure of the system of professional development of pedagogical cadres is the block of organizational forms of retraining and professional development, which includes two main forms: straight lines (training for educational programs) and mediated (self-education). Straight lines or regular forms of professional development include: (a) training in an educational institution for the purpose of professional development; (b) training at the enterprise or in the research establishment; (c) training in the educational institution as a place of work, using the Ustoz-shogird method. The need for self-education of the teacher is dictated, on the one hand, by the specifics of pedagogical activity and its social role, and on the other hand by the tendencies of continuous education connected to the constantly changing conditions of pedagogical work, requirements of society, evolution of science and practice, and escalating requirements for teachers.
The idea of self-education was accurately formulated by the Polish teacher V. Okon. "Self-education is a type of training, the purpose, contents, conditions and means of which depend on the subject’s needs. It is the process of an absolutely independent doctrine". In psychology and pedagogical sources, self-education is considered as a specially organized independent systematic cognitive activity (G. M. Kodzhaspirova); as a necessary element of creative activity, and continuous professional education (A. Y. Ayzenberg); as a process directed toward independent acquisition of knowledge (E.S. Rapatsevich); as a means of preservation of professional competence (K. M. Levitan), etc.
In the structure of self-educational activity, the leading place is occupied by the motivational component: awareness of the personal and public importance of continuous education, professional improvement and expansion of one’s outlook, the existence of resistant cognitive interests, inclinations, installations, the created call of duty and responsibility. Such a definition is contained in the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan “About the state requirements for retraining of personnel (teachers) and increasing their qualification”: Selfeducation is independent development by pedagogical cadres of new knowledge and skills in the discipline taught in compliance with the State requirements on the level and quality of education. Readiness for self-education, in our opinion, consists of the existence of sufficient professional knowledge and the abilities to apply them. Therefore, pedagogical management of self-educational activity includes the functions of planning, organization and control. If the self-educational level of the teacher is low, then external management (but not self-control) will be the most productive.
Self-education acts as supporting activity in relation to the teacher’s professional activity. Implementation of pedagogical assistance to the professional self-education of teachers, using remote educational technologies as a modern means of communication, makes it possible to organize the education in a form convenient for both parties, as the interaction between trainer and trainee becomes more effective. Self-education acts as a key concept in relation to continuous pedagogical education. In relation to the concept of continuous pedagogical education, self-education plays the role of the educational mechanism of implementation of the concept. In relation to remote education as an organizational form of continuous pedagogical education, self-education plays the role of the didactic principle.
Remote education is an organizational and didactic form of education that differs from the other forms by its way of educational communication. The information and communication technologies used in distance learning are also their means. Their structure and specific weight changes depending on technological progress and the availability of models of organization of the educational process. For the solution of modern educational tasks, satisfaction of educational needs by teachers, by the “correspondence” model of distance learning is optimum. In the analysis of development of the theory and practice of remote education, two types of educational systems the distinction of which promotes understanding of the sense of the contradictions arising in attempts to give a definition to the concept of “remote education” and to come to an understanding of its essence are distinctly allocated.
The educational system, which received the name: "correspondence education", historically arose prior to other types of distance learning. Educational communication at distance by means of post correspondence is the cornerstone of this type of training. The educational system of the second type evolved from information and communication means making it possible to broadcast classroom occupations to remote audiences and to provide educational communication at a distance by means of audio-video broadcasting. The correspondence educational system realizes the idea of remote education as the forms of education essentially different from traditional organizational forms of the educational process (cool and fixed, and lecture and seminar). The educational system of the “transmitting” type realizes idea of remote education as new educational technology reproduction at the distance of the traditional educational process. The parallel development of these two types of educational systems has also led to essentially different (at the level of didactic sense) interpretations of the concept of remote education. These two types of remote education, having various internal organization, also demand various methodologies. Because of the essentially various didactic sense, they need to be considered separately. Thus, if the “correspondent” type of remote education demands development of its own didactics, then the “transmitting” methodology provides the organization and technology of broadcasting (reproduction of a lesson, lecture, etc. at a distance).
The didactic principles of the “correspondent” educational system of remote education realize psychological features and educational requirements trained in this form of education. It is possible to refer to a number of general didactic principles: (a) "correspondent" training on the basis of self-educational activity trained and demanding creation of special educational and methodical and certification materials; (b) recognition of the independence of students in selecting the content and timing of training, a pragmatic attitude to intermediate and final certification, and assessment as a means of motivation and self-control, and not as the purpose and end result of learning; (c) separation of pedagogical roles: the teacher, representing the training content, and consultant (trainer, tutor), directing student activities through self-educational didactic interaction (dialogue); (d) the modular organization of the content of training providing a higher degree of variability and, on the other hand, facilitating “correspondent” communication; (e) flexibility and mobility of the terms of training and, respectively, of the rate of the educational process; (f) minimizing of number of internal occupations (sessions), the requirement of special forms of these occupations justifying their expediency. According to the didactic model of “correspondent” distance learning of educational systems, traditional classroom occupations (lectures and seminars) are replaced with other forms: first and foremost, educational activity training, which provides special sets of training methodical materials, and, secondly, intensive practical group training by so-called tutorials which are very different from ordinary seminars, and are considerably different from lectures. The means and channels of telecommunication are used as a system of delivering educational and methodical materials and ensuring their interactivity - communication between the tutor and trainee during individual consultations and intra group interactions. Only those materials which can be used by means of equipment easily available to the most part of trainees are included in the package of educational and methodical materials.
Realization of the didactic model of “correspondent” distance learning, demands special skills and abilities from the teacher (tutor) concerning individual work with trainees, including the most various types not only of consultations, but also psychological support, and carrying out tutorials for which the tutor has to be able, as well as possessing the material of several training courses, and the ability to organize group work.
The “correspondent” model of distance learning is optimal for the solution of modern educational tasks, and satisfying the educational requirements of pedagogical cadres.
Politics in Uzbekistan
The Republic of Uzbekistan is a presidential constitutional republic, whereby the President of Uzbekistan is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Supreme Assembly, the Senate and the Legislative Chamber. The judicial branch (or judiciary), is composed of the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and Higher Economic Court that exercises judicial power.
The movement toward economic reform in Uzbekistan has not been matched by movement toward political reform. The government of Uzbekistan has instead tightened its grip since independence (September 1, 1991), cracking down increasingly on opposition groups. Although the names have changed, the institutions of government remain similar to those that existed before the breakup of the Soviet Union. The government has justified its restraint of public assembly, opposition parties, and the media by emphasizing the need for stability and a gradual approach to change during the transitional period, citing the conflict and chaos in the other former republics (most convincingly, neighboringTajikistan). This approach has found credence among a large share of Uzbekistan's population, although such a position may not be sustainable in the long run.
Despite the trappings of institutional change, the first years of independence saw more resistance than acceptance of the institutional changes required for democratic reform to take hold. Whatever initial movement toward democracy existed in Uzbekistan in the early days of independence seems to have been overcome by the inertia of the remaining Soviet-style strong centralized leadership.
In the Soviet era, Uzbekistan organized its government and its local communist party in conformity with the structure prescribed for all the republics. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) occupied the central position in ruling the country. The party provided both the guidance and the personnel for the government structure. The system was strictly bureaucratic: every level of government and every governmental body found its mirror image in the party. The instrument used by the CPSU to control the bureaucracy was the system of nomenklatura, a list of sensitive jobs in the government and other important organizations that could be filled only with party approval. The nomenklatura defined the Soviet political leadership, and the people on the list invariably were members of the CPSU.
Following the failure of the coup against the government of Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow in August 1991, Uzbekistan's Supreme Soviet declared the independence of the republic, henceforth to be known as the Republic of Uzbekistan. At the same time, the Communist Party of Uzbekistan voted to cut its ties with the CPSU; three months later, it changed its name to the People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDPU), but the party leadership, under President Islam Karimov, remained in place. Independence brought a series of institutional changes, but the substance of governance in Uzbekistan changed much less dramatically.
On December 21, 1991, together with the leaders of ten other Soviet republics, Karimov agreed to dissolve the Soviet Union and form the Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Uzbekistan became a charter member according to the Alma-Ata Declaration. Shortly thereafter, Karimov was elected president of independent Uzbekistan in the new country's first contested election. Karimov drew 86% of the vote against opposition candidate Muhammad Salih (or Salikh), whose showing experts praised in view of charges that the election had been rigged. The major opposition party, Birlik, had been refused registration in time for the election.
In 1992 the PDPU retained the dominant position in the executive and legislative branches of government that the Communist Party of Uzbekistan had enjoyed. All true opposition groups were repressed and physically discouraged. Birlik, the original opposition party formed by intellectuals in 1989, was banned for allegedly subversive activities, establishing the Karimov regime's dominant rationalization for increased authoritarianism:Islamic fundamentalism threatened to overthrow the secular state and establish an Islamic regime similar to that in Iran. The constitution ratified in December 1992 reaffirmed that Uzbekistan was a secular state. Although the constitution prescribed a new form of legislature, the PDPU-dominated Supreme Soviet remained in office for nearly two years until the first election to the new parliament, the Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan (Oliy Majlis), which took place in December 1994 and January 1995.
In 1993 Karimov's concern about the spread of Islamic fundamentalism spurred Uzbekistan's participation in the multinational CIS peacekeeping force sent to quell the civil war in nearby Tajikistan - a force that remained in place three years later because of continuing hostilities. Meanwhile, in 1993 and 1994 continued repression by the Karimov regime brought strong criticism from international human rights organizations. In March 1995, Karimov took another step in the same direction by securing a 99% majority in a referendum on extending his term as president from the prescribed next election in 1997 to 2000. In early 1995, Karimov announced a new policy of toleration for opposition parties and coalitions, apparently in response to the need to improve Uzbekistan's international commercial position. A few new parties were registered in 1995, although the degree of their opposition to the government was doubtful, and some imprisonments of opposition political figures continued.
The parliamentary election, the first held under the new constitution's guarantee of universal suffrage to all citizens 18 years of age or older, excluded all parties except the PDPU and the pro-government Progress of the Fatherland Party, despite earlier promises that all parties would be free to participate. The new, 250-seat Oliy Majlis included only 69 members elected as PDPU candidates, but an estimated 120 more deputies were PDPU members technically nominated to represent local councils rather than the PDPU. The result was that Karimov's solid majority continued after the new parliament went into office.
From the beginning of his presidency, Karimov remained nominally committed to instituting democratic reforms. A new constitution was adopted by the legislature in December 1992. Officially it created a separation of powers among a strong presidency, the Oliy Majlis, and the judiciary. In practice, however, these changes have been largely cosmetic. Although the language of the new constitution includes many democratic features, it can be superseded by executive decrees and legislation, and often constitutional law simply is ignored.
The president, who is directly elected to a five-year term that can be repeated once, is the head of state and is granted supreme executive power by the constitution. As commander in chief of the armed forces, the president also may declare a state of emergency or of war. The president is empowered to appoint the prime minister and full cabinet of ministers and the judges of the three national courts, subject to the approval of the Oliy Majlis, and to appoint all members of lower courts. The president also has the power to dissolve the parliament, in effect negating the Oliy Majlis's veto power over presidential nominations in a power struggle situation.
Deputies to the Oliy Majlis, the highest legislative body, are elected to five-year terms. The body may be dismissed by the president with the concurrence of the Constitutional Court; because that court is subject to presidential appointment, the dismissal clause weights the balance of power heavily toward the executive branch. The Oliy Majlis enacts legislation, which may be initiated by the president, within the parliament, by the high courts, by the procurator general (highest law enforcement official in the country), or by the government of the Autonomous Province of Karakalpakstan. Besides legislation, international treaties, presidential decrees, and states of emergency also must be ratified by the Oliy Majlis.
The national judiciary includes the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, and the High Economic Court. Lower court systems exist at the regional, district, and town levels. Judges at all levels are appointed by the president and approved by the Oliy Majlis. Nominally independent of the other branches of government, the courts remain under complete control of the executive branch. As in the system of the Soviet era, the procurator general and his regional and local equivalents are both the state's chief prosecuting officials and the chief investigators of criminal cases, a configuration that limits the pretrial rights of defendants.
Also passed in the 2002 referendum was a plan to create a bicameral parliament. Several political parties have been formed with government approval but have yet to show interest in advocating alternatives to government policy. Similarly, although multiple media outlets (radio, TV, newspapers) have been established, these either remain under government control, or rarely broach political topics. Independent political parties have been denied registration under restrictive registration procedures.
Despite extensive constitutional protections, the Karimov government has actively suppressed the activities of political movements, continues to ban unsanctioned public meetings and demonstrations, and continues to suppress opposition figures. The repression reduces constructive opposition even when institutional changes have been made. In the mid-1990s, legislation established significant rights for independent trade unions, separate from the government, and enhanced individual rights; but enforcement is uneven, and the role of the state security agencies, principally the National Security Service (SNB), remains central.
With the exception of sporadic liberalization, all opposition movements and independent media are essentially banned in Uzbekistan. The early 1990s were characterized by arrests and beatings of opposition figures on fabricated charges. For example, one prominent Uzbek, Ibrahim Bureyev, was arrested in 1994 after announcing plans to form a new opposition party. After reportedly being freed just before the March referendum, Bureyev shortly thereafter was arrested again on charges of possessing illegal firearms and drugs. In April 1995, fewer than two weeks after the referendum extending President Karimov's term, six dissidents were sentenced to prison for distributing the party newspaper of Erk/Liberty and inciting the overthrow of Karimov. Members of opposition groups have been harassed by Uzbekistan's SNB as far away as Moscow.
Crackdown on Islamic fundamentalism
The government severely represses those it suspects of Islamic extremism. Some 6,000 suspected members of Hizb ut-Tahrir are among those incarcerated, and some are believed to have died over the past several years from prison disease, torture, and abuse. With few options for religious instruction, some young Muslims have turned to underground Islamic movements. The police force and the SNB use torture as a routine investigation technique. The government has begun to bring to trial some officers accused of torture. Four police officers and three SNB officers have been convicted. The government has granted amnesties to political and non-political prisoners, but this was believed to have benefited only a small proportion of those detained. In 2002 and the beginning of 2003 the government arrested fewer suspected Islamic fundamentalists than in the past. However, in May 2005, hundreds were killed by police in a massacre of protesters in the city of Andijan.
In a move welcomed by the international community, the government of Uzbekistan has ended prior censorship, though the media remain tightly controlled.
The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term in elections that cannot be described as free. Freedom House rates Uzbekistan as absolutely unfree in both political institutions and civil society.
The prime minister and deputy ministers are appointed by the president. In effect, the executive branch holds almost all power. The judiciary lacks independence and the legislature, which meets only a few days each year, has little power to shape laws.
The president selects and replaces provincial governors. Under the terms of a December 1995 referendum, Islam Karimov's first term was extended. Another national referendum was held January 27, 2002 to again extend Karimov's term. The referendum passed and Karimov's term was extended by act of the parliament to December 2007. Most international observers refused to participate in the process and did not recognize the results, dismissing them as not meeting basic standards. Karimov had himself re-elected for a technically unconstitutional third term in the 2007 election.
Current linguistic researches in Uzbekistan
As it is becoming more and more common to study bio-cognitive-social aspects of language, more and more researchers attempt to study language the way it is done in core empirical sciences. Yet, this is largely a descriptive effort. As Cummings (2014: 113) warns, for instance in relation to clinical pragmatics, if current trends keep dominating, clinical pragmatics may “develop into a field that collects findings in the same way that the geologist collects rock samples or the botanist collects plant species.” What differs today’s chemistry and biology from such a “pre-empirical” classificatory biology and the main stream contemporary linguistics is that many concepts in contemporary biology and chemistry have their measurable counterparts, and today’s typical biologist collects data also in an objective manner, posit hypothesis, and tests them using objective measuring techniques.
Note also, that in the process, the biologists have changed the questions they ask. They know that because of the contingencies involved, biology could not have predicted the existence of today’s elephants a million years ago, no more than it can predict the exact features of a baby elephant that will be born to a specific female elephant. Yet, they may predict the likely range of parameters of the elephant to be born, and why the history of the environment on the Earth allowed for modern day elephants to develop. General linguists, on the other hand, when for instance concerned with meaning, are still typically interested only in the interpretation of a specific linguistic construct, and not in any quantitative parameters, which could be objectively measured and used to posit and test hypothesis. And, as Cummings (2009) complains, even in empirically oriented clinical pragmatics, there is “a proliferation of clinical findings with little sense of how these findings are related to each other or to theoretically significant questions. It is not an exaggeration to say that a relentless growth of clinical findings which are largely devoid of theoretical implications has been the dominant trend in clinical pragmatics to date.” Cummings (ibidem: 113) goes on to point out three pragmatic theories that are capable of modelling clinical disorder processes—she notes, however, that “all three theories have succeeded in bringing forward experimental evidence in support of their claims. Given that these theories involve competing or opposing claims, one is led to conclude that experimental evidence should not be treated as a final arbiter in an assessment of the validity of theories. It is perhaps appropriate at this point to move the debate onto non-empirical grounds”.
When referring to non-empirical grounds, Cummings means classical philosophy of language and pragmatics. What else, however, will help the discipline, and a touch of which is the topic of this paper, is the philosophy of empirical sciences. Empirical sciences could bring in a lot of valuable insight, not only concerning the issue of hypothesis formation and verification, but also, it could offer powerful ideas for structuring data.
The philosophy of science has a long tradition and it is impossible to discuss it all in one article. There are even no general definitions of such concepts as a theory, principle, law, hypothesis which would mean the same across all of its sub-disciplines. For an overview of the vast progress concerning the specificity and diversity of scientific explanation in biology, for instance, one might go to Braillard and Malaterre (2015), “Explanation in Biology”, or consider the contents of The Bio-linguistic Journal. The overview of Zipfian linguistics, on the other hand, will be found in the Journal of Quantitative Linguistics and accompanying book series. Therefore, at this place I must start from selecting a specific perspective to see whether it could be relevant for language studies. I decided to limit myself to the theory of science as explicated by Bunge (1967, 1973, 1996, 1999, 2003), and constrained by Altmann’s (1978) assumption about self-originating and self-regulatory character of language. Therefore, before proceeding further, first I shall outline Bunge’s (1973) view of the methodology of empirical sciences.
Scientific methodology: an overview
Amazing progress that has been taking place in every walk of life these days has its roots in the empirical paradigm developed in natural sciences. The empirical paradigm in natural sciences is based on researching material reality through building and testing its models. Models are created in order to explain the old and predict new characteristics and behaviour of a given fragment of the reality under study. Building a model of a given object, or process, involves selecting its most relevant features, given the aspects of that object, or process, we want to account for. For instance, in relation to modelling a flight of birds it means that an ornithologist interested in bird migration will consider different characteristics of a bird than a hunter who is concerned with estimating the place where a bird he has just shot will drop. The former will consider factors such as the characteristics of the environment in which the given species can be found, its endurance and reproduction circle; while the latter will characterize a bird in terms of the parameters relevant in Newton’s dynamics—he will set out to estimate the force of the muscles and the mass of the bird at stake.
Scholars select the relevant features of an object under scrutiny based on what they know about it at a given stage of the development of a relevant discipline and based on their own intuition. In new disciplines such knowledge and experience is initially expressed in natural language. As a given discipline advances, the core of the respective knowledge is increasingly expressed through received formalized theories (systems of (mechanistic) universal laws, such as the laws of Newton’s dynamics) that express some general aspects of the mechanism sustaining the processes present in the class of phenomena. These theories, not testable per se, let one formulate testable hypothesis (phenomenological laws) concerning models of specific phenomena, or specific theories. (In the case of Newton’s dynamics such a specific theory could concern the movement of the Earth around the Sun). Importantly, the resultant testable hypotheses (phenomenological laws), typically, are not implied solely by a given mechanistic law being tested, but also by some additional assumptions made while constructing the model of a given phenomenon. These additional assumptions are of two types. First, these are approximating assumptions, such as approximating Earth as a material point with a zero volume when modelling its movement around the Sun with the help of Newton’s laws. Second, there can be some additional, already well tested mechanistic laws that are also relied on when describing the specific theory to be tested.
In empirical sciences one says that a given phenomenon (its model, also called a specific theory) has been fully explained (corroborated and tested) when two conditions have been met. First, one has explicated the mechanism which brings about and/or sustains that phenomenon in terms of some mechanistic laws and the assumptions made when constructing the given model (specific theory). Second, the explication proposed implies some hypothesis, which can be and has been tested. Historically speaking, one begins with searching for empirical rules (also called phenomenological laws), which capture patterns in data (the way Kepler did, when he analysed the data collected by Tycho Brache, finding that the mathematical formula for ellipsis summarizes the observed positions of planets revolting around the Sun). Only later does one search for some mechanistic laws, which (along with the assumptions made when constructing the given model) imply the respective formulae—hypothesis. (This was what Newton did in relation to Kepler’s results). Yet, one may also begin with constructing a theory and next searching for a model (specific theory) that will imply some regularities which can be tested objectively.
We may also note that given the structure and origin of human brains, which is a result of a long developmental self-organizing processes, conditioned by very specific environmental events, it is likely that language, an off-spin of linguistic activity, becomes self-organized and self-regulated, too. The likelihood of that hypothesis has been corroborated by a number of the quantitative characteristics of language, such as demonstrated by Zipf’s, or Pareto’s laws, which characterize self-organizing and self-regulating phenomena. Altmann (1978) proposed that this self-organization and self-regularization of language, is a result of optimization process in individual brains, which result from selection processes taking place in societies, aiming at some sort of economy of language use on the parts of speakers and listeners.1
Optimization processes with their source in the sum of individual verbal behaviours of a given linguistic community members, must in turn, depend strongly on the contingencies involved in the actual individual histories of language use (parole). Therefore, in empirical linguistics carried out in the paradigm of empirical science as outlined by Bunge and based on Altmann’s (1978) hypothesis, only statistical laws and principles make sense—can be proposed, searched for, and tested objectively cf. Grzybek (2006), Koehler (2012). Interestingly, language speakers are not always aware of such statistical patterns in language.
Linguistic principles in empirical linguistics as just delimited may concern either local or global processes. Local regularization processes in language may take place due to the capabilities of individual human brains alone. For instance, the ability to select the most alike option during categorization (thus to correlate referents with symbols) depends on the capabilities of an individual speaker. This, as shown by Skousen (1989), may alone lead to some linguistic regularization, such as the regularization of past tens suffixes in Finish. After such a regularization, the resultant semiotic system is easier to remember and use, thus, more economic. Another well understood mechanism which economizes communication locally is shortening highly predictable lexemes. This process results in lowering the production effort practically without increasing the comprehension effort.
Yet, language seems to be also optimized globally to a significant extent as evidenced e.g., by implicational universals. In other words, some uneconomic solutions allow economizing some other aspects of language, which outweighs the loss in another aspect of language use. (For instance, having suffixes marking gender in Slavic languages, allows these languages to limit the usage of pronouns, as well as to make word order more flexible thus produce cohesive discourse in a more economic fashion.) Such cross-optimization could not have happened locally due to conscious effort of an individual speaker. In such a case natural selection-like mechanism, as proposed by Altmann (1978), could have been involved—language efficiency factor could have selected among early language varieties. In line with Altmann’s (ibidem) proposal, having reviewed research based on neural nets modelling, Kwapień (2010) found out, for instance, that OSV languages take considerably more time to learn than SVO and SOV languages, making them less efficient. Another proposal of this sort is that, at least early on, people speaking a more efficient variety of a local language (e.g., communicating faster, more precisely, using a language variety easier to imitate) were more successful in a given linguistic community, which, in turn, increased the exposition of their speech variety, resulting in the increase of its replication among the remaining community members.
Before moving on to the next section, I would like to comment on the potential influence of the normativity on language formation, as brought up by a reviewer. The issue of normativity is a very complex one and a topic of a heated debate. For an overview see The Normativity of Meaning and Content Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy. One of the foundational issues related to normativity is parallel to that of basic encodings, which cannot be shared between different individuals. As far as basic encodings are concerned, the proposition of Bickhard and Campbell (1992) presented in a special issue of Journal of Pragmatics was groundbreaking in solving that latter problem. If one followed a similar reasoning, normativity would be a derivative of language formation mechanism, not its cause. Luckily, I do not need to discuss this extremely complex issue here, because as noted by the reviewer, “The example study given later by the Author escapes this issue, because adjectives can be exchanged in order without breaking linguistic norms.” So whatever stand we take as far as normativity is concerned, we may safely skip discussing it here.
Professional activity: teachers
Based on a long-term experience of work in the Department of Open Educational Techniques of Moscow Institution of Open Education, we may positively state that teachers are in great need of realization of self-education, building of an educational path in advanced training, critical evaluation of their pedagogical activities, cooperation with colleagues, and self-presentation or presentation of group work. All the above examples, according to the new educational standards, are an obligatory result of learning in educational programs of basic general education. If a teacher does not know how to use “key competences which are the basis for learning”, how can he/she teach their students to do this?
Apart from advanced courses giving an impetus for the development and professional self-development of a teacher, one of the main factors that makes it possible to generate skills of self-education, goal setting and self-evaluation of a teacher, to increase reflection culture, i.e. improve the competence of selfeducation, is the planned work of a school administration with regard to the support of professional activities of a teacher. Each teacher is unique from the point of view of their personal characteristics, features of character, and experience. Hence, the work of a school deputy director should include individual support of the pedagogical activity of a teacher. In the context of switching to the new system of remuneration of teaching work, the role of a school deputy director has changed considerably. Nowadays, their functions include not only control, but also consultations rendered to a teacher with regard to building a path of their selfeducation, and improvement of their professionalism and career development.
Coaching technology is one of the most prospective instruments for the realization of this direction of the activities of a school deputy director. This technology of career building was widely circulated in business environments in Europe and USA. In Russia coaching technology is circulated in business structures and is demanded mainly by senior managers. The word “coaching” itself is of English origin. It means “to train, to teach, to prepare for something”. One of the meanings of the word “coach” is “carriage” or “vehicle”, which is why in a figurative sense coaching means the way of bringing a person to the place where he or she wants to be. With regard to educational matters «coach» or «coachman» for the first time was used in Oxford in XIX. Students called their tutors, teachers in such a way, whose responsibilities included rendering support to students in their choice of courses necessary for passing exams and preparation for schools. Coaching is a new strategy of work with a person, which is used not only for consultations and professional training, but also for the development of creative potential, and support in setting new targets outside the scope of customary perceptions of reality. Coaching may also be identified as a technology of support of the process of upgrading professionalism, planning, and implementation of career development.
The first step in supporting a teacher includes the recognition of professional interests of a teacher and their comparison with its pedagogical practice. The result is the determination of the outcome of the performance of a teacher with regard to self-education during the year and planning of stages of their achievements. The results of each stage are discussed, the teacher draws conclusion about how far he or she has realized their current goals, and then the goals of the next stage are set. We need not repeat that the results of each stage, of each discussion, are supported by documents. Thus, a file is created, which is in a sense a portfolio of a teacher. Work with a teacher is carried out by means of individual interviews. The role of the deputy director is to listen, ask for explanations, and ask questions (not suggestive). Due to this way of organizing work with a teacher, conditions are created under which a teacher makes a decision independently, sets his or her own goals, and makes self-evaluation of the performed work. In the course of support, it is possible to give advice, sometimes suggestions with regard to the means of performance of work. However, a decision on when and how the work is going to be done is always made by the teacher.
Please, consider the following example. Teacher “N” in a Moscow school became aware of a change of the form of the performance review in a higher qualification category and the need to pass the performance review in the form of a portfolio. She requested that the deputy director support her. In the course of the interview, the teacher pointed out the following difficulties in the future performance review: short period for preparation of the portfolio, and alack of necessary documents. As the following step, the deputy director tried to find measures to be undertaken by the teacher to successfully pass the performance review. The teacher remembered offers about making a speech at a round table, preparation of an article for a journal, participation in a conference, etc. The deputy director offered to make a schedule of works to prepare for the performance review in a week and in three weeks. The teacher immediately made such a schedule, and eventually a question about providing the necessary support to the teacher was asked. Teacher “N” asked to give consultations re: the preparation of an article. Afterwards, such assistance was given to the teacher. During the interview, the deputy director did not give advice, did not try to comfort the teacher, but put questions, and the teacher started feeling better. If at the beginning the teacher had doubts about her abilities and felt uncomfortable, at the end of the interview after making a general plan of action for the short term, the teacher calmed down, her position having changed from the viewpoint “I cannot do anything” to the viewpoint “I have a chance”. Questions asked by the deputy director were not suggestive questions. Only the teacher herself knew answers to such questions. The purpose of the deputy director was to render assistance to the teacher so that she could answer her questions herself, and allay her concerns, i.e. to help herself. “N” came to be consulted by deputy director within the established periods, strictly adhered to the schedule of actions prepared by her, and passed performance review successfully.
Coaching gives very good results in an uncertain situation, in the situation of quick change of working conditions, as was the case with teacher “N”. The deputy director at that time was also not well acquainted with the new form of performance review. However, the information that the teacher initially had was enough in orderto start moving towards achieving the set target. High efficiency of coaching can be explained by the fact that the conclusions or decisions that were made by the teacher were her own findings. The result is high motivation, aimed at solving problems or implementing ideas, as well as the improvement of self-evaluation of a teacher and its assurance in its own forces. With the experience of self-support, a teacher may translate this to their students; for example by means of organizing tutor support for a student, or comprehensive work with the student’s portfolio.
The use of coaching technique facilitates an increase in the activity of a teacher, the level of their professionalism, and as a consequence, an improvement in the quality of education.
Educational technology is the use of both physical hardware and educational theoretics. It encompasses several domains, including learning theory, computer-based training, online learning, and, where mobile technologies are used, m-learning. Accordingly, there are several discrete aspects to describing the intellectual and technical development of educational technology:
educational technology as the theory and practice of educational approaches to learning
educational technology as technological tools and media that assist in the communication of knowledge, and its development and exchange
educational technology for learning management systems (LMS), such as tools for student and curriculum management, and education management information systems (EMIS)
educational technology as back-office management, such as training management systems for logistics and budget management, and Learning Record Store (LRS) for learning data storage and analysis.
educational technology itself as an educational subject; such courses may be called "Computer Studies" or "Information and communications technology (ICT)".
An educational technologist is someone who is trained in the field of educational technology. Educational technologists try to analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate process and tools to enhance learning. While the term educational technologist is used primarily in the United States, learning technologist is synonymous and used in the UK as well as Canada.
Group webpages, blogs, wikis, and Twitter allow learners and educators to post thoughts, ideas, and comments on a website in an interactive learning environment. Social networking sites are virtual communities for people interested in a particular subject to communicate by voice, chat, instant message, video conference, or blogs. The National School Boards Association found that 96% of students with online access have used social networking technologies, and more than 50% talk online about schoolwork. Social networking encourages collaboration and engagement and can be a motivational tool for self-efficacy amongst students.
Webcams and webcasting have enabled creation of virtual classrooms and virtual learning environment. Webcams are also being used to counter plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty that might occur in an e-learning environment.
Combination whiteboard and bulletin board
Main articles: Whiteboard and Interactive whiteboard
Interactive whiteboard in 2007
There are three types of whiteboards.The initial whiteboards, analogous to blackboards, date from the late 1950s. The term whiteboard is also used metaphorically to refer to virtual whiteboards in which computer software applications simulate whiteboards by allowing writing or drawing. This is a common feature of groupware for virtual meeting, collaboration, and instant messaging. Interactive whiteboards allow learners and instructors to write on the touch screen. The screen markup can be on either a blank whiteboard or any computer screen content. Depending on permission settings, this visual learning can be interactive and participatory, including writing and manipulating images on the interactive whiteboard.
Screencasting allows users to share their screens directly from their browser and make the video available online so that other viewers can stream the video directly. The presenter thus has the ability to show their ideas and flow of thoughts rather than simply explain them as simple text content. In combination with audio and video, the educator can mimic the one-on-one experience of the classroom. Learners have an ability to pause and rewind, to review at their own pace, something a classroom cannot always offer.
Main articles: Virtual Learning Environment and MUVE
A virtual learning environment (VLE), also known as a learning platform, simulates a virtual classroom or meetings by simultaneously mixing several communication technologies. For example, web conferencing software such as GoToTraining, WebEx Training or Adobe Connect enables students and instructors to communicate with each other via webcam, microphone, and real-time chatting in a group setting. Participants can raise hands, answer polls or take tests. Students are able to whiteboard and screencast when given rights by the instructor, who sets permission levels for text notes, microphone rights and mouse control.
A virtual classroom provides the opportunity for students to receive direct instruction from a qualified teacher in an interactive environment. Learners can have direct and immediate access to their instructor for instant feedback and direction. The virtual classroom provides a structured schedule of classes, which can be helpful for students who may find the freedom of asynchronous learning to be overwhelming. In addition, the virtual classroom provides a social learning environment that replicates the traditional "brick and mortar" classroom. Most virtual classroom applications provide a recording feature. Each class is recorded and stored on a server, which allows for instant playback of any class over the course of the school year. This can be extremely useful for students to retrieve missed material or review concepts for an upcoming exam. Parents and auditors have the conceptual ability to monitor any classroom to ensure that they are satisfied with the education the learner is receiving.
In higher education especially, a virtual learning environment (VLE) is sometimes combined with a management information system (MIS) to create a managed learning environment, in which all aspects of a course are handled through a consistent user interface throughout the institution. Physical universities and newer online-only colleges offer select academic degrees and certificate programs via the Internet. Some programs require students to attend some campus classes or orientations, but many are delivered completely online. Several universities offer online student support services, such as online advising and registration, e-counseling, online textbook purchases, student governments and student newspapers.
Augmented reality (AR) provides students and teachers the opportunity to create layers of digital information, that includes both virtual world and real world elements, to interact with in real time. There are already a variety of apps which offer a lot of variations and possibilities.
Media psychology involves the application of theories in psychology to media and is a growing specialty in learning and educational technology.
Effective technology use deploys multiple evidence-based strategies concurrently (e.g. adaptive content, frequent testing, immediate feedback, etc.), as do effective teachers.Using computers or other forms of technology can give students practice on core content and skills while the teacher can work with others, conduct assessments, or perform other tasks. Through the use of educational technology, education is able to be individualized for each student allowing for better differentiation and allowing students to work for mastery at their own pace.
Modern educational technology can improve access to education, including full degree programs. It enables better integration for non-full-time students, particularly in continuing education, and improved interactions between students and instructors. Learning material can be used for long distance learning and are accessible to a wider audience.Course materials are easy to access. In 2010, 70.3% of American family households had access to the internet. In 2013, according to Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission Canada, 79% of homes have access to the internet. Students can access and engage with numerous online resources at home. Using online resources such as Khan Academy or TED Talks can help students spend more time on specific aspects of what they may be learning in school, but at home. Schools like MIT have made certain course materials free online. Although some aspects of a classroom setting are missed by using these resources, they are helpful tools to add additional support to the educational system. The necessity to pay for transport to the educational facility is removed.
Students appreciate the convenience of e-learning, but report greater engagement in face-to-face learning environments.
According to James Kulik, who studies the effectiveness of computers used for instruction, students usually learn more in less time when receiving computer-based instruction and they like classes more and develop more positive attitudes toward computers in computer-based classes. Students can independently solve problems. There are no intrinsic age-based restrictions on difficulty level, i.e. students can go at their own pace. Students editing their written work on word processors improve the quality of their writing. According to some studies, the students are better at critiquing and editing written work that is exchanged over a computer network with students they know. Studies completed in "computer intensive" settings found increases in student-centric, cooperative and higher order learning, writing skills, problem solving, and using technology. In addition, attitudes toward technology as a learning tool by parents, students and teachers are also improved.
12. Masters’ research paper
The master’s research paper is worth 2 units of credit towards the MA or MES degree. The student will normally prepare a master’s research paper over three terms, in two stages
The research paper proposal, and
The completed research paper.
At University of Waterloo this paper is considered a “milestone” and at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) this paper is recorded as "GG 698".
I. The proposal
Each research paper MA/MES student will have a supervisor and a reader. The student will develop a research paper proposal for approval by her/his supervisor prior to the end of the first term.
Detailed guidelines for the preparation of the research paper proposal are attached.
II. The completed paper
Each research paper MA/MES student will have a supervisor and a reader. The student will develop a research paper proposal for approval by her/his supervisor prior to the end of the first term. A copy of the approved research paper proposal will be kept in the student’s file.
The research paper will normally be completed in the Spring (third) term. The paper should be approximately 8,000 - 12,000 words and be organized into clearly defined sections on problem statement, status of research, research procedure, findings, and conclusions. Student and supervisor together must agree on the organization of the paper into discrete chapters and on the necessity or suitability of maps, statistics or appendices.
Research papers can take a variety of forms such as a journal article format or a standard research paper. In principle, the research paper shall be of such quality that it is publishable in a refereed review journal relevant to the discipline in question.
The research paper must be presented to an Examination Committee composed of the student’s supervisor and reader. Students will make a 20 minute presentation, to be followed by 40 minutes of questions (20 minutes for each committee member). At the conclusion of the presentation two members of the committee will excuse the student and briefly discuss and agree upon a numerical grade. A portion of the final grade may be allocated to the presentation itself.
The title should be as short as possible with key words given prominent place.
Divide your proposal into 5 sections: the problem statement (1-2 pages), status of research (10 pages), research procedure including a time frame for each task (2-3 pages), references cited (1-2 pages), and a chapter outline for the research paper (1-2 pages). The text should be presented as a series of well integrated paragraphs. Some ideas on what to include in each section are provided below.
Section 1 - Problem statement (1-2 pages)
Ease your reader into the proposal. Identify current activity in your research area and indicate reasons for your interest in the area.
Clearly and succinctly state what you intend to do. In one sentence, identify your problem statement, either as a question, statement, or hypothesis.
Briefly indicate the scholarly and practical/social relevance of your project. Here you should state the contribution that your work will make, i.e. why bother?
Section 2 - Status of research (about 10 pages)
Place your research into context with previous work. The literature review should be presented in a way that justifies both your topic and your methodological approach. It is normal to go from the general to the specific. For example:
The first paragraph might describe the general area of human or physical geography that is involved and identify landmark works, key authors, and the main research emphasis. At this general level, much has been written and you will need to be selective in what you reference. The idea is to give a brief historical overview of the field.
The next paragraph(s) might focus on research that is similar to your own. Try to provide a brief overview of the different questions that have been asked and the most common methodologies that have been used. Include references to works that exemplify or illustrate these various questions and approaches. The purpose is to establish what already is known about the general problem, so it is clear how your study will contribute to further understanding.
Finally, you will want to provide more detailed comments on research studies that are very similar to your own, noting what questions have been answered, what questions are left unanswered, and what evidence and methodologies appear appropriate for research of this type. You may find only a few studies that fit into this category (or possibly none). Studies that fit into this last category can sometimes provide a blueprint for your own research.
Section 3 - Research procedure (about 2 or 3 pages)
This is where you state how you plan to operationalize the research problem, i.e. how will you accomplish your research goal? Consider the following:
What general approach or framework will you use? synthesis and critical evaluation of qualitative materials? survey work? statistical analysis of quantitative data? comparison of different cases/places? numerical modelling? reasoned logical argument? development/application of a technique for a specific type of problem? etc. The general approach largely determines both the information and techniques needed to answer your question and can usually be explained in one sentence.
What information/data is needed to answer your question? How much information will you need? What should it look like? Where and how will you get this information - from direct field measurements? questionnaires? secondary data (e.g. census or other government data)? air photos, maps, or archives? participant observation? published literature? etc. Check out as far and as early as possible the availability, reliability, comprehensiveness, costs, and format of data. Also be careful about logistics, such as the need for specialized computer support or training, language or distance barriers, and the need to have allresearch involving human subjects reviewed by the Office of Research Ethics.
- What techniques will you employ in the examination of your data? Be as specific as you can. Decide before you collect the data whether you want to make statements of inference as this will affect how the data must be collected. Decide how you would like to present the evidence (as statistics, graphs, tables, verbal argument). Determine what skills will be needed for data collection and data analysis, e.g. field techniques, survey design methods, library skills, techniques like content analysis, cost-benefit analysis, parametric and non-parametric statistics, GIS. Decide how you will develop your skills in these areas and make concrete plans to do so. Remember - the research paper is an opportunity to learn.
-Prepare a time frame that indicates when you will undertake the various tasks that are necessary for the completion of the project. Present this as a chart in the proposal.
Section 4 - References (about 1 or 2 pages, 20-40 references)
A reference list is not the same as a bibliography; a reference list includes only those materials that have been cited in the proposal. As a general rule, references are needed when the information is not general knowledge or when specific points are being made. An acceptable method must be used consistently. The author-date system is strongly recommended as it is the most widely used method in the social sciences. Remember that the page number is included in the reference only when you are using direct quotes or when you are reproducing tables or figures. Of course, page numbers for articles are given in the reference list.
Section 5 - Outline for the completed research paper
Most research papers are 40-60 pages long and contain 4-6 chapters. Usually you will have an introductory chapter, followed by a literature review or research context chapter, followed by a methodology chapter, followed by one or more results chapters, followed by a concluding chapter. Give your chapters appropriate titles and decide on the approximate length of each chapter. Then decide what is likely to be included in each chapter and organize these themes into chapter subsections. Give these subsections titles and once again indicate the approximate length of each.
Model your writing style after a refereed academic journal. Expect to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. Reorganizing paragraphs, polishing sentences and searching for the best word are all part of the revision process. Identify your weaknesses (spelling, grammar, adjective use, useless phrases, etc.) and work on them. Don't treat what you have written as sacred. If necessary, scrap part of your text entirely and start with a fresh piece of paper or a blank computer screen.
For detailed guidelines on the appropriate formatting of references consult a reference relevant to the discipline in question, such as:
Northey, M. & Knight, D. (1992). Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Studies: a student’s guide to research writing and style. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Graphical, tabular and photographic illustrations
Graphs, maps and tables all provide information and so they can be used in any report, including a proposal. Never include filler, however, such as graphs that are not referred to in the text or tables that contain too much detail. Always think about how information can be best communicated to the reader. Be careful so as not to over describe a graph or table; just make the points which are central to your argument.
13. Conclusion of research paper
There are generally three sections in the Conclusions and Recommendations Chapter
Section 1: Conclusions
This section gives you the opportunity to discuss the meaning of your results beyond what they mean statistically; that is, you interpret the findings and indicate what can be concluded from them. In your discussion, indicate whether the results confirm, totally or in part, your original expectations or predictions. For each hypothesis, indicate whether it was supported and why. Discuss any limitations inherent in your research procedures. What implications do these limitations have for the conclusions drawn from the results? You should also discuss the relationship of your results to the original problem description:
Will any of the alternatives make a difference, help solve the problem, or improve the situation?
What are the long-term as well as the short-term implications of your findings?
How do your findings relate to those of other researchers cited in the Literature Review?
In some cases, the findings of several hypotheses may be interrelated. In that situation, you might choose to discuss those findings together and explain the interrelationships.
Section 2: Policy Recommendations
Other recommendations may also be appropriate. When preparing this section, remember that in making your recommendations, you must show how your results support them. A recommendation for a preferred alternative should include:
Specifically stating what should be done, the steps required to implement the policy, and the resources needed;
Discussion of the benefits to the organization and what problems would be corrected or avoided;
Discussion of the feasibility of the proposed policy;
General statement about the nature and timing of an evaluation plan that would be used to determine the effectiveness of the proposed policy.
Section 3: Recommendations for Further Research
In this section, you finally have the opportunity to present and discuss the actions that future researchers should take as a result of your Project. A well-thought-out set of recommendations makes it more likely that the organization will take your recommendations seriously. Ideally you should be able to make a formal recommendation regarding the alternative that is best supported by the study. Present and discuss the kinds of additional research suggested by your Project. If the preferred alternative is implemented, what additional research might be needed?
So what should a conclusion do?
Remember that a conclusion may be read as a stand-alone item. As such it needs to inform the reader of what was done, how and why, what was found, and why it matters. It can be a challenge to reiterate all of this succinctly and without boring repetition, nevertheless, that’s the task of the conclusion.
Conclusions should do some or all of the following:
remind the reader of the research problem and purpose and how they were addressed
briefly summarise what has been covered in the paper
make some kind of holistic assessment/judgement/ claim that pertains to the whole project (i.e., more than a descriptive summary)
assess the value/relevance/ implications of the key findings in light of existing studies and literature
‘speak’ to the Introduction
outline implications of the study (for theory, practice, further research)
comment on the findings that failed to support or only partially support the hypothesis or research questions directing the study
refer to the limitations of the studies that may affect the validity or the generalisability of results
make recommendations for further research
make claims for new knowledge/ contribution to knowledge.
(adapted from Belcher, 2009; Paltridge & Starfield, 2007; Swales & Feak, 1994)
How is a conclusion organised?
A conclusion is sometimes described as a mirror image of the introduction, in that it moves from the particular to the general. There is another sense in which the discussion and conclusion section is the reverse of the introduction: an introduction contains extended discussions on the previous existing research and literature on the topic, and relatively little on the current research. In the conclusion section the new research, positioned against existing knowledge, is the primary focus. In the concluding section, existing literature and previous research is used for confirmation, comparison or contradistinction (Swales, 2004 cited in Paltridge & Starfield, 2007, p. 147).
Every thesis is different and writers need to decide what suits their particular needs, writing style and methodological approach; however, being aware of common patterns and genres can help writers make judicious decisions to suit their own particular thesis. We know, for example, the structure of a Conclusion section in a thesis commonly follows these stages or moves:
An introductory restatement of research problem, aims and/or research question
A summary of findings and limitations
Recommendations for further research
Given what we know about reader behaviour wherein the abstract, introduction and conclusion are often the only parts many readers bother with, it is essential that the conclusion concludes the paper in a succinct and punchy fashion. This is the last (but not only) chance to ensure the reader has clarity about what’s been done and the merits of these endeavours. Is it important that the conclusion answers the question: ‘So what?’ This is the hardest challenge for a conclusion-writer, so using strategies such as The Conclusions Bank and freewriting big ideas can be critical for building a conclusion that is great.
And finally, perhaps it is useful to remind ourselves of relevant aspects of the definition of a ‘conclusion’ – the conclusion is the end or final part; it is the result or outcome of an act or process, a judgment or decision reached after deliberation. No wonder it’s so hard!
14. Different types of classes at university
Course Type Definitions
In order to classify courses appropriately in the schedule, it is important that the following definitions be used when departments create, modify, and schedule courses.
15. How to defend PhD after Masters
Defenses consist of four parts: first, the candidate introduces themselves, then presents a summary of their work, interrupted and followed by questions from the committee. Finally, the committee meets in private to discuss the presentation and dissertation.
While most of the committee will have read most of your thesis, you cannot assume that everyone has read every chapter.
The committee needs to be able to assess impact and depth. Usually, the committee has some idea of this before the defense, but whatever the student can say to make this assessment easier, perhaps just through emphasis, is likely to make the defense go much more smoothly.
Generally, the whole defense will not take more than two hours, but should take considerably less time. Part of the challenge of a defense is to convince the committee that you can summarize the important points of your work in a very limited time.
Your presentation (and thesis) needs to address the following:
What is the problem you are studying?
Why is it important?
What results have you achieved?
Some committee members will want to know if the works has been published and where and how it was received. For example, if you have written software, indicate where it is being used, either for follow-on work or in some production or test environment.
Have a list of your thesis-related publications as a slide. Indicate any awards that a paper may have received. For most people, it's easier to list some honor than "brag" about it in person.
If you have presented your work in a conference or at job talks, be sure to anticipate and address the most common questions asked there.
The committee should be handed a copy of your slides.
Be prepared to briefly summarize your background (undergraduate degree, how long at the university, etc.)
No more than 30 slides, plus "back up" slides with additional material in case of questions. The most effective way of making your committee members mad is to come unprepared with a stack of 80 slides and then madly skip through them.
Number your slides, particularly if one of your committee members is linked in via speakerphone. Consider using some kind of remote presentation software.
List your contributions early.
When presenting your contributions, be sure to use "I" and not "we" so that the committee will know what aspects of the work where yours, and which were group projects.
Keep discussions of related work very brief, but be prepared to answer questions of the "how does this differ from so-and-so's work" succinctly.
You will not be asked to prove results again.
Be prepared to back up any comparative statement with facts, in particular statements like "works better", "faster", "scalable" or "optimal". If you are presenting a protocol, how do you know that it works correctly?
If you have multiple parts in your dissertation, consult with the committee ahead of time as to whether it makes sense to omit some of them for the presentation.
Hints for Dissertations
It is better to focus deeply on a single area then to work on several topics, each of which is pursued to a moderate depth.
Systems work must be coupled with implementation and some kind of numerical comparitive analysis to demonstrate the improvements from existing or alternate approaches.
Your thesis needs a one page executive summary that a layperson should be able to understand. Test: give it to a relative of yours that does not have an engineering degree...
You are likely only to defend a PhD thesis only once; your defense is a special occasion, so consider dressing appropriately, at least business casual, but a suit is not inappropriate.
It is customary to provide refreshments for the audience, such as coffee, bagels, cookies and fruit, depending on the time of day.
The Role of PhD Committee Members
Committee members (should) read the draft thesis (and provide feedback). Obviously, students appreciate an in-depth reading, but it is common for committee members to focus on chapters closest to their expertise. Reading depths varies - some provide line edits, others just suggest larger issues that should be addressed ("Your related work section in Chapter 10 is a bit sparse and ends in 2005."). While this is probably not the place to suggest "do another year of research", filling in gaps is ok and I'd rather postpone a defense by a month if needed. Before the committee gets the thesis, I've done a first or sometimes second reading, but the whole point of the committee is to keep the advisor honest (and complement his or her knowledge or taste).
Committee members attend the PhD defense, usually in person. Typically, this lasts about 90 minutes. Take notes on any editorial improvements (e.g., "make clear that the throughput graph is measured in gallons/minute"). Vote on the outcome and sign the form.
If the student is given a set of changes to implement, the advisor asks students to detail on how they implemented the changes, similar to how an author may respond to reviewer comments for a journal. The committee informally signs off, or not, on these changes. There is no need to re-read the thesis.
Checklist for Dissertation
Before you submit your draft to the committee, be sure to verify that you have done the following checks:
Check for missing chapter or figure references;
Section, Chapter, Figure are capitalized;
All references converted from  to [1,2,3];
Consistent capitalization in captions;
Verify expansion of all abbreviations at first instance;
Avoid "tremendous", "huge" and other similar adjectives;
End to end -> end-to-end;
Check references for capitalization of abbreviations and missing data such as page numbers.
16. Importance of English in Uzbekistan
The spread of English in Uzbekistan greatly differs from that of Russian, back at the beginning of XXth century, being marked mostly as a desirable rather than suppressive process (Hasanova 2007 a, c). Uzbek people realize that English is significant in all regards when it comes to pursuing international education, attaining a good career and keeping up with the rapid pace of world changes. They greatly favour the English language, seeing it as the key to successful and prosperous life. Language specialist Rod Bolitho marks such strong interest in the language by two factors: the intention of studying and working abroad and idealisation of The UK and US. These two reasons, in his opinion, are the strongest motivations for the Uzbek to learn it. Hasanova (2007b) attributes the continuously increasing interest in the country in learning English to the international significance of the language.
Even though Hasanova (2007a) mentioned the scarcity of sources informing the language situation in the country, there are language specialists who have discussed this topic, sharing their empiric observations and experiences. West (2013) characterises English in Uzbekistan as a subject language, mostly acquired through educational training. Bolitho predicts that English can totally supplant Russian in several decades. Duff and Dickens (2005) in their work drew attention to English teaching and the language level in rural areas in opposition to urban parts of the country. Snow, Kamhi-Stein and Brinton (2006) looked into teacher preparation experiences in the country, illustrating a unique English-medium program preparing English language teachers –IELTE (Institute of English Language Teacher Education).
The English language owns the status of foreign language in Uzbekistan (West & Sheykhametova, 2016). However, the government wants to see the language become a second language, fluently used by society, especially the younger generation. This intention of the government can easily be observed in the decree of the president (see appendix), where the role of English is highly emphasized and both education and media are called for reformation and upgrading to serve the pervasiveness of English in the country. A number of language specialists (Dearden, 2014; West, 2013) highlight the importance of the presidential decree in the increase of attention to the English language in educational establishments, which is occurring in all stages of education.
Several large-scale projects in cooperation with British Council have been launched to achieve the purpose set by the government, including PRISETT focused on training pre-service teachers and EnSPIRe-U aimed at reforming English teaching in Higher Educational Institutions with non-linguistic majors. (West & Sheykhametova, 2016). The two projects have largely addressed the educational problems described by Duff and Dickens (2005) as well as Hasanova and Shadieva (2008). Both in-service and pre-service teacher training has become the focus of the Ministry of Education in mitigating the historically formed limited approach to language teaching and communicative development. (Hasanova, 2007a)
Since the enforcement of the decree all English language teachers have obtained a privilege of receiving a 15% (urban areas) or 30% (rural areas) bonus on top of their monthly salary, if they have reached a level of C1 in CEFR and prove this with an IELTS certificate or a certificate of language proficiency at the National Testing Centre, which was assigned to design tests to check English teacher’s language proficiency. The aim of this is primarily encouraging teachers to upgrade their language levels, which, in essence, is the principal obligation of a language teacher. Nevertheless, this policy has shown its positive impact on the quality of educational staff and has become the main criterion of employment in the country, not only in education but in other spheres as well. This approach helped the Uzbek to understand what level must be acquired to meet the requirements of modern standards.
Continuous language training is another important consideration in the Decree. According to it, instead of starting to learn a language from the 5thform (Hasanova, 2007a) children must now start learning English from the 1stform of the primary school, at the age of 6-7. The Decree indicated how the language must be taught in the first year and how it should continue further. It must be noted that English has been taught even at pre-school institutions, being the only foreign language taught at this age and level (Hasanova, 2007c). Therefore, much attention has been paid to the development of appropriate programmes and textbooks in order to meet the modern world criteria and standards of teaching English to young learners. Media started to broadcast TV shows, programmes and films in English with Uzbek subtitles to serve as additional source for the people of all ages to learn the language and hasten the growth of English in society. The streets are filled with English text, including commercial advertisements, shop names, instructions, etc.
As has been mentioned above, the main concentration has become to change the language learning from the traditional Soviet approach of grammar-translation, which was a usual method of teaching English for many years, into a communicative method, practised worldwide. The Ministry of Education with the support of The British Council and Macmillan (Hasanova 2007a, 2007c) have been creating textbooks for all stages of education incorporating state-of-art methods and techniques. Different specially-organized material designing teams are regularly trained in order to provide educational institutions with up-to-date teaching materials in addition to worldly acclaimed best-seller textbooks.
In view of educational reforms and high demand for English together with International practices in different spheres, the idea of introduction of education with English of medium of instruction started to seem feasible to the government. At present, educational establishments with English as a medium of instruction have become the most preferred institutions to study at. To meet the demand for the desire of people to be educated in English, the number of such institutions has been increasing from year to year.
These reforms have undoubtedly been aimed at integration with the Western World and acquiring information access as well as ability to keep up with the pace of changes taking place in the world. Looking back, now it becomes clear that the Uzbek government started the process of bringing the National Language closer to English “to enter the world community” (Shoumarov & Iriskulov, 2005) and communicate effectively and effortlessly on an international level (Hasanova, 2010) when it decided to convert the Uzbek alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin in 1993 (the law on Latin script adoption).
17. Accomplishments in education system of Uzbekistan
Today Uzbekistan is a large scientific center in Central Asia. Almost 300 scientific institutions function in the country. There are a well-developed research basis and a wide scientific fund with over 25,000 skilled scientists and researchers. The scientists of the republic carry out fundamental research in the important trends of modern science contributing greatly in such branches like microelectronics, astronomy, biophysics, genetics and geology.
The accomplishments of Uzbek scientists in probability theory, hydrometeorology and the study of superconductors, medicine and agriculture are well known. During the transition period, the share of public funds allocated for the development of science make up 0.5 - 0.6% of the budget. Over 3.5 billion Soums are allocated annually for research programs carried out by the State Committee on Science and Engineering. Stemming from the issues of Uzbekistan's development, the priority trends in scientific research include the utilization of genetic engineering in the production of new kinds of silkworm cocoons; the development of solar thermal systems; and the development of water-saving irrigation and water conservation technologies.
The Academy of Sciences
The Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan was formed on November 4, 1943, on the basis of 10 scientific-research institutes involving scientists of the evacuated scientific institutions from Ukraine, Byelorussia, and western regions of Russia. Today the Academy of Sciences is a supreme scientific institution in the republic and a center of research. The scientific institutions are incorporated into seven branches depending on the profile of their research: physico- mathematical sciences; mechanics and management processes; earth sciences; chemical-engineering sciences; biological sciences; philosophical, economic and juridical sciences; history, linguistics and literature. During the years of independence the scientists of Uzbekistan have scored great accomplishments in different branches of science. The Academy of Sciences has instituted Gold Medals named after al-Khorezmi, Khabib Abdulayev and Zakhiriddin Babur. Academician Kh. F. Fazylov, in 1993, has become the first holder of the Gold Medal named after al-Khorezmi in the field of natural and engineering sciences. Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, U.I. Karimov, was the first to be awarded with the Gold Medal named after Z. Babur for his great contribution in the humanities.
In 1992 academician I. Kh. Khamrabayev became the first knight of the Gold Medal named after Kh. Abdullayev for his merits in the field of geology and geophysics.
International Scientific Cooperation
During the years of independence Uzbekistan has established and is developing scientific and technical cooperation with the USA, the European Union, Japan, China, Republic of Korea, India and others. As their basis they have over 60 international agreements in the field of scientific-engineering cooperation and the protection of intellectual property. Partnership relations are established with the scientific and engineering associations of the European Union INTAS and INCO-Copernicus, NATO's scientific committee, the American Civil Research and Development Fund (CRDF), and the Ukrainian Scientific-Research Center. In 1999 about US$4 million was allocated for Uzbek scientists as international grants to implement the scientific and engineering projects. The decree by the Cabinet of Ministers of the republic stipulates a number of financial privileges, including exemption from state payments and taxes for the international scientific-engineering programs implemented in Uzbekistan. Lately a number of joint scientific-engineering projects with the USA, Germany, India, and the CIS countries is carried out along the priority trends on a bilateral basis. The republic regularly hosts international scientific-engineering seminars and conferences in various fields of natural, humanitarian sciences, medicine, agriculture, applied research, the innovation issues, the commercialization of science, the development and the transfer of technologies.
World Science and Uzbek Scientists
Prominent Uzbek scientists working currently are the successors of the scientific traditions and schools which have been set up in the republic during the previous years. A large group of world-famous scientists has been and is still working in the Republic of Uzbekistan. In the field of mathematics the science of Uzbekistan was made famous by such outstanding scientists Academicians Romanivsky V.I., T.N. Kary-Niyazov; T.A. Sarymsakov, T.D. Djuraev, S.K. Sirajdinov; in physics by Academicians U.A. Arifov; S.A. Azimov, WS.V. Starodubscev; in mechanics - Urazbaev M.T., Khodjinova M.A., Rakhmatullin K.A., Usmanhodjaev. In the field of chemistry - Academicians A.S. Sadykov; S.U. Yunusov, M.N. Nabiev; in biology - Academicians Shreder R.R., K.Z. Zakhirov; D.K. Saidov, Rusanov F.N., Mukhamedjanov M.V.; in medicine - Academicians V.V. Vakhidov; S.A. Alimov. The Academicians Kh.M. Abdullaev, H.N. Baimukhamedov, and G.A.Mavlianov in the field of earth science. The Academician Ya. G. Guliamov was an outstanding archeologist. The works by the Academician I.M. Muminov in the field of philosophy have attained world fame. The works by the Academicians Yu. Radjabov (Radjabi), G.G. Guliamov (Ghafur Guliam), Aibek, K.N. Nigmanov (Yashen) in literature and music are well known in the world. Academician Kh.S. Suleimanova did eminent works in the field of jurisprudence. American encyclopaedia "Who is who" published in 1992 in USA included almost thirty names the best Uzbek scientists.
The level of education in Uzbekistan corresponds to the parameters that are typical for the leading states of the world. Ninety-nine per cent of country's population is literate; the principle of general 9-year education is still preserved. Judging by the indices of educational level, Uzbekistan is among the leading countries of the world. The country has managed to preserve the state system of training specialists, thus ensuring wide access to education for all strata of the population. The reform of educational system and training the national specialists is a state priority, that is embodied in the National Program on training the personnel and the Law on Education. In the sector of pre-school education the network of home kindergarten and complexes of "kindergarten - school" has been formed, as well as 800 groups, where children can take up art, music, foreign languages and basis of computerization. Over 400 academic lyceums, secondary schools and colleges have been formed at the expense of state investments. On the basis of the Decree issued by President Islam Karimov, On Establishing New Institutions of Higher Learning, dated February 28, 1992, a number of new universities and their branches was founded in the country. In 1997 the government of Uzbekistan started holding the second stage of reforms in the field of education. At present, any school can choose that program, which more completely meets its requirements and type of teaching, which means a partial decentralization in the system of education. The Asian Bank for Development allotted its credit to the government estimated at US $ 40 million to purchase new text-books for schools and US $50 million for the development of professional institutions network.
The National Program of Training
The National Program of training specialists and the Law on Education have laid the foundation for reformations of the educational system in Uzbekistan. The National Program is oriented to the formation of a new generation of experts with high professional and general culture distinguished for their creative and social activity. The program, among other things, stipulates the formation of absolutely new structures - the academic lyceums and colleges. On February 24, 1998, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a special decree on organizing lyceums, colleges and their management. The reason for the formation of them lies in the fact that students will acquire not only basic but also specialized knowledge on certain disciplines for further training in an institution of higher learning. Within 3 years boys and girls master 2-3 professions. Today there are over 400 academic lyceums and professional colleges in the republic. There are 246 specialized secondary schools where 250,000 students master 170 specialties.
Great attention is paid in the republic to the improvement of educational system and training of qualified specialists. On the basis of the president's decree dated February 28, 1992, twenty-four new institutions of higher learning and their branches to train specialists for principle branches of the national economy were established. Today there are 59 institutions of higher learning function in the republic, including 16 universities, 39 teacher training institutes, medical, technical, economic, agricultural, and other institutes. About 300 thousand students master 276 specialties there. The oldest higher Institutions in Uzbekistan are the National University named after Ulugbek (in past: first - Middle Asian, than Tashkent State University), the Technical Institute ( Polytecnical Institute). Since 1991 the number of higher educational institutions has increased by 30 %. New higher educational institutions have appeared: the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Academy of State and Public Structuring, Academy of Armed Forces, Academy of Ministry of Internal Affairs.
18. International journals of the world
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