ITTT tefl internationale

All you need to know about teaching English abroad!


Problems for ESL Learners in Turkey

Problems for ESL Learners in Turkey | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I have started teaching English in Turkey, since 2018. If you are planning to start your teaching career here, I would like to mention several pros and cons and problems of learning English for the speakers of the Turkish language.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Hanie s. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.


First of all, learners expect teaching to be prescriptive rather than descriptive, which indicates, they tend to memorize the sample instead of learning through the examples and explanations. Secondly, students are occasionally, immersed in criticizing the politics but the teacher should not join, due to the fact that they do consider the world’s opinion of them.

Also Read: How do I choose a TEFL course?


One of the most significant difficulties that learners may find, is sentence structure; In Turkish, the main structure is subject-object-verb which is quite different in English. Of other notable issues, usage of “to be” can be considered. In another word, they entirely have not got the verb “to be”. For instance, the term “He is a doctor” in Turkish is “ He doctor”.

Moreover, the verb “to have” is hard to be used as well. To put it another way, it does not have a direct Turkish equivalent. Another key to remember, making negative and interrogative in Turkish is by adding particular particles, that is to say, they may find it difficult to make it correctly. Finally, the most remarkable issue, I assume, is pronunciation. To give an illustration, the letter “E” pronounced differently according to the word. Likewise, they pronounce precisely the way they write the word. To this end, the phonemic alphabet chart should be presented regularly in the class.

Also Read: English Speaking and Writing Errors made by Chinese Primary Students

Usage of the First Language

Also, Turkish students tend to translate every single word first in Turkish, that is, they generally, think in Turkish rather than English. Hence, a full English class from initial stages is required. In full English classes, you may feel the progress of the course and the students’ eagerness. In the beginning, they may be against the class, they sometimes leave the class, but at the end of the day, the class becomes extremely productive.

Students’ Efforts

Yet, despite all the issues that are mentioned above, and the great differences between the two languages, most of the students learn and understand spoken English. They participate in each lesson eagerly and they openly share opinions. What is more, they are not usually shy and struggle on being aware of each point and learn the language properly.

Not to mention, English teachers should consider all these factors and strive on motivating the students in the class. Teaching English in Turkey can be one of the most challenging experience, that surprises you. The more you get to know your students, the better teacher you become.

Also Read: The 20 Most Inspirational Travel Quotes

Do you want to teach English abroad? Take a TEFL course!

To conclude, we mentioned several problems of learning English for Turkish speakers which need to be considered by English teachers. Problems like: pronunciation, grammar, and some verbs which do not exist in Turkish. Above all, yet students are immersed in learning English, and participate in the lessons regularly. additionally, students are notably communicative. All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that, this might be your greatest experience here.

Apply now & get certified to teach english abroad!

Speak with an ITTT advisor today to put together your personal plan for teaching English abroad.

Send us an email or call us toll-free at 1-800-490-0531 to speak with an ITTT advisor today.

Related Articles: