Caught in the Middle: Understanding Perspectives of Business and Economics Teachers in Kazakhstan in the Face of Cultural Change

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Title: Caught in the Middle: Understanding Perspectives of Business and Economics Teachers in Kazakhstan in the Face of Cultural Change
Author: Shamblin, Leigh
Advisors: Carol Kasworm, Committee Chair
Timothy Hatcher, Committee Member
Julia Storberg-Walker, Committee Member
Darryl McGraw, Committee Member
Abstract: This qualitative study examines the impact of cultural change on the perspectives of business and economic teachers in Kazakhstan, a country that has experienced tremendous change since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. During this study, eighteen participants completed semi-structured interviews. Data was analyzed using an approach derived from phenomenography. Six changes in society, as well as specific changes in students, were identified as significantly impacting participant?s teaching. Participants stressed that, as a result of the changes taking place, a new world was opening for them and a new model of higher education was emerging in post-Soviet Kazakhstan. While some teachers found a renewed interest in teaching, most found teaching more difficult as a result of cultural change, with some deciding to leave the profession altogether. The study's participants also shared their understandings of effective teaching, identifying two goals and describing six approaches effective teachers use in teaching. Differences emerged between Soviet and post-Soviet teachers with respect to their commitment to the curriculum, their ability to adapt to changing teaching situations, and the effect of increased economic pressure on them. The study concludes that: (a) participants' normative expectations, or their roles, relationships, and responsibilities were most affected by change; (b) participants' pedagogical procedures were largely determined by how they learned to teach; (c) participants desired and were able to change their pedagogical procedures to adapt to changing contexts; (d) Soviet teachers had more difficulty adapting their teaching practices than their post-Soviet colleagues; (e) the context for teaching constrained teachers in their ability to adapt to cultural changes; and (f) while most beliefs about teaching were rooted in Soviet Kazakhstan, beliefs about teacher's roles and relationships were changing in response to changes in Kazakhstan.
Date: 2006-12-08
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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