3 Main Difficulties for English Learners in Turkey
Turkey, being famous for its fast-growing economy, fulfilling the educational needs of most of the people around the globe has been my residence for the past three years. As an ELT professional, I have the privilege of teaching English in various educational institutions in the country. During my tenure in those institutes, I came upon various reasons as to why students are having difficulty in learning English. I devised various solutions by adding in more activities and solving the complications from the grass-root level.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Karina G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The correct organized education process and ambiance are important for learning a new language. For instance, the colleges where I had chances to work, which are one of the biggest and famous in Turkey, have been exposed to variable surprising things by the Turkish educational system: teachers make the language acquisition process nervous, stressful and complicated. Mentors try preparing students for assessments but do not promote the students for daily speaking. Every month, there is a government test, in all educational institutions, which is extremely important for parents. Moreover, the rating and reputation of the schools depend on this test. That's why teachers spend all of their energy on students to be ready for the evaluation and no time to teach and practice daily speaking English.
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Lack of Teacher Professional Development
Indeed, teachers have to be well-prepared for the lessons. Learners need various activities to be interested and motivated to learn the language. English teachers work hard in Turkey, around forty hours a week. Consequently, they do not have enough time to improve themselves and search for new and creative ideas. These issues have been a problem for them and it influences the process of learning. If schools' managers appropriately make the schedule and programs for English teachers, it will improve the overall quality of education. Furthermore, teachers need to consider the difference between English and their native language. In particular, to build the correct sentences in English, we need to use the Subject which comes before Verb and then Objects but in the Turkish language, people use the additional syllable of the verb instead of Subject and Objects always come before Verb.
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Choice of Teaching Materials
Additionally, teachers have to choose suitable course books, which will help students in the learning process. For example, I have worked with "Thumb up" books in Turkish primary school. The manager did not give attention that the books are written for native speakers and include topics that are unsuitable for kids whose English is their second language. One of the topics was: The Present Perfect Tense which has taught in the subject of “The history of ancient China” in second grade. In this issue, books are a real problem and make the learning process harder for teachers and students.
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In conclusion, preparation for tests needs to be combined with another type of activities to encourage students to study. I want to admit that a systematic and well-organized learning process, which engages the students in a real situation with congruous methods and materials will provide a good ambiance for learners.
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