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Talking Turkish ELT

Twenty-two Turkish teachers recently completed a course at Edinburgh College as part of their training to become master mentors for the ELT component of Turkey’s Education Vision 2023 initiative. This initiative is, ‘’arguably the largest and most important national education reform initiative in recent years,” according to the British Council’s ELT advisor Ben Gray.

The Council is partnering with the Turkish Ministry of Education to deliver the Vision 2023 plan to reform Turkey’s entire ELT sector, including the mentors’ programme. The Gazette talked to Aysen Guven, director for education for the British Council in Turkey, and Ben Gray, who’s been supporting Guven and her team.

The first cohort of master mentors trained as part of this programme, “are all teachers of English from the Ankara region,” they told us. “They are overwhelmingly female, but there were several men – 3 out of the 22. This reflects the demographic of teachers of English in state schools in Turkey,” they added.

Graduates from the Edinburgh course will now work with 10 international trainers to deliver a mentoring course to 142 teachers in November. The 22 master mentors and the 142 teachers will then work within their schools to organise and facilitate Teachers Activity Groups (TAGs) within the Ankara region.

According to Gray and Guven, ”Teacher Activity Groups focus on regular, face-to-face meetings, usually monthly, following a flexible and adaptable programme and based on resources from the British Council.”

If the Ankara pilot is successful, the programme will be rolled out country-wide, with a total of 2,400 teachers eventually participating in professional activities led by trainers and the master mentors.

According to Gray, “You can’t train teachers to use innovative approaches to ELT if state English exams for university entry are still based around translation and rote learning.”

He added, “The great thing about what is happening in Turkey is that the reform of ELT is part of a sector-wide general education reform programme, which the government from the president downwards is committed to.”

The Minister’s Director of Teacher Training and Development, Dr Adnan Boyaci, is involved alongside Aysen Guven in the daily running and strategic planning of the mentorship programme.

Image courtesy of EDINBURGH COLLEGE
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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