Kazakh Transnational Multiliteracies: Building Intergenerational Communities of Learning

Reference work entry


Kazakhstan language policy is evolving from one of revitalization of Kazakh to one of trilingualism including Kazakh, Russian, and English. This shift in policy poses new questions regarding Kazakh preschool children’s language and literacy learning. Preschool children learn best through active social interaction, and the home sphere is the most influential for learning prior to entering formal education. With global access to technology, home learning practices have expanded knowledge-sharing. However, in the rural context, access to digital technology and global practices is limited. This study investigates the types of learning interaction that are occurring in remote areas of Kazakhstan and how they differ from more urban areas. The first stage of the 2-year study involved observation in public spaces during the work week. Over 400 observations in 20 towns, villages, and urban centers were collected. This initial assessment stage of the study included 200 h of nonparticipatory observation. The factors investigated were frequency and length of learning interaction, where the interactions occur (urban vs. rural area), with whom (parent vs. caregiver), and what modality (mobile phones, action figures), types of practices (verbal vs. gestures vs. both), purpose (knowledge-sharing, entertainment), and whether technology was used as a part of parental social interaction. These observations address the questions: (1) What types of practices are being engaged at the preschool age, with whom, and using what modality? and (2) In addition to parents, can other community stakeholders facilitate communities of learning through digital technology? The results reveal that in knowledge-sharing, the types of learning practices and interactions among elderly caregivers differ from those of young caregivers. Additionally, variations were identified in types of learning practices between elderly parents and community members in rural and their urban counterparts.

The second phase of implementation included four 5-h pilot awareness sessions performed on a weekend. Awareness sessions covered themes such as active learning, multiliteracies, ethnic storytelling, and story construction. Pre- and post-session questionnaire data were collected. Preliminary results revealed that participants created preschool resources and a community of learning through digital technology. This occurred through the organic participant-created videos on their smartphones. These videos captured extra peripheral learning practices. Additionally, these videos were shared among the participants. Thus, they collectively created a digital community of multilingual learning resources. These findings from the pilot stage address challenges for rural communities through intergenerational participation in preschool learning.


Transnational multiliteracies Communities of learning Preschool Elderly vs. young caregivers Rural vs. urban knowledge-sharing 



This work was supported by funding from the Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Language and Communication Studies, Centre for Applied Language StudiesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Nazarbayev UniversityAstanaKazakhstan

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