Innovations in English Language Teaching and Learning: The Turkish Perspective
Çağla Sarp Simpson (Ed.)
Crowd Source ELT © 2014
This publication is freely available for download in pdf format: Innovations in English Language Teaching and Learning: The Turkish Perspective
In this publication we wish to share some of the interesting innovations in the teaching and learning of language which are currently taking place with the context of Turkish education. It is our hope that this will serve as the first volume in what will become a long series celebrating the research being conducted in this country. We begin this journey in the volume presented here, which consists of eight chapters.
Turkey is now playing a major role in the development of science and technology in the world, notes Christopher Babatunde Ogunyemi in the introductory chapter. This contemporary role has created a dynamic landmark in terms of the degree of recognition that the country currently enjoys. To further substantiate their strong international reputation in learning and teaching, the author suggests, it is expedient to redefine teaching and learning in English within the Turkish context.
The second chapter, authored by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Jarosław Krajka and Małgorzata Latoch-Zielińska, focuses on e-learning. The implementation of e-learning, blended learning and distance learning in foreign language instruction has, suggest the authors, become widespread all over the world, including Turkey. With the generation of Digital Natives learning at schools, instructors face the challenge of providing distance learning courses and materials that would meet necessary standards. The re-evaluation of curriculum models and evaluation criteria is thus needed to ensure high quality of distance instruction. This chapter will report on different models of distance learning courses, reflecting on their applicability for English language teaching in Turkey. Moreover, course design guidelines are provided to facilitate effective authoring of online programs.
In the third chapter, David Mearns examines the possibilities of transitioning from pen and paper to online alternatives when giving feedback to student work. The chapter describes ongoing ICT-pedagogical practices for improving feedback given by teachers to students at high school level. Based on the author’s classroom research, this chapter focuses on feedback given on academic essays completed within the writing process, in order to discover how students respond to a different type of feedback than that to which they have been accustomed. The author also suggests that we, as ELT practitioners, find ways to move for a change to our feedback practices, and provide students with an alternative methodology that could lead to better student-engagement and focused writing practices within this context.
Within the field of the education, notes Yasin Aslan in chapter four, a gradual but significant change has taken place recently, resulting in less emphasis being placed on teachers and greater stress on the role of learners and learning. This change has been reflected in a variety of ways in language education and teaching. Research and theory in second / foreign language learning strongly suggest that good language learners use a variety of strategies in order to gain new language skills. These strategies, suggests the author, enhance language learning and help learners develop language competence, in the four basic skills in foreign learning.
Reading comprehension is an important ability that learners need in order to decode meaning of texts in different genres, explains Banu İnan in the fifth chapter. Think-aloud is a technique that learners might use in order to overcome the difficulties of reading texts. With the help of teacher’s modeling, notes the author, learners might observe the techniques their teacher uses while reading a text and they may do the same so as to overcome the difficulties they have in comprehending these texts.
In chapter six, Ayşe Kaplan and Sharon Meredith explain the results of a study conducted at Yasar University in the first semester of the academic year 2010-2011. The aim of the study was to obtain feedback from freshman undergraduate students regarding the EAP course delivered in the tertiary campus and to utilise the data collected to improve and hopefully meet the specific needs of students related to their success in their academic endeavors and acquisition of academic tools. This chapter explores the literature of EAP, programme evaluation and humanistic approach, discusses the findings of the data analysis, and, the authors suggest, offers some implications for the improvement of the EAP programme considering students’ perspectives and suggestions.
Writing in a foreign language has always been a difficult task, notes Nilüfer Güler in chapter seven. Most of the research conducted on the EFL and ESL writing has focused on grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure and paragraph organizing of the target language. However, even advanced language learners’ writings have been criticized by their teachers. Contrastive rhetoric claims that it is as important to gain proficiency in the rhetorical pattern of the foreign language as gaining proficiency in syntax and vocabulary. This chapter highlights the importance of contrastive rhetoric in terms of EFL writing instruction, and some implications for EFL teachers are given by the author at the end of the chapter.
A major part of the bridge between the preparatory program and the freshman year is the series of lectures in mathematics and natural sciences (EMS) which the students attend during the upper intermediate course at Sabancı University, explains Adam Simpson in the final chapter. The hope is that students enjoy the valuable opportunity to experience something of what life will be like for them when they are attending lectures in their freshman classes. Additionally, notes the author, the aim is to show the students that, although the content of the lectures may already be familiar, they need to remember that, this being an English course, they need to become familiar with the language used in these lectures to showcase their competencies. This final chapter is an exploration of the extent to which is actually happening.