USIA and English Language Teacher Training Support in
USIA has an English Language Programs Officer in Ankara, Turkey. The current ELO is Tom Kral.
In addition, five USIA English Teaching Fellows are serving in Western Europe this year: Michele Rajotte at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey; Frances Hulin at Erciyes University in Erciyes, Turkey; Diana Poff at the Center for U.S. Studies in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany; Lynn Waldie at the Hellenic American Union in Athens, Greece; and Rachel Anderson at the Institute of North American Studies in Barcelona, Spain.
USIS Ankara and English Language Officer (ELO) Highlight Recent Programs
Recently ELO Ankara Tom Kral took part in three EFL program initiatives, the effects of which are already being felt beyond the immediate audiences taking part. In Istanbul Academic Specialist Jim Duber was the featured speaker on CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) at a two-day KOC University-sponsored conference. Not only will Duber's input influence course-design for KOC's Online MBA program, but many conference participants from Eastern Turek were influenced by the Specialist's work to introduce or expand CALL at their institutions. In Ankara itself, at Bilkent University, a Telepress conference (TPC) with specialists Joann Crandall and Ronald Schwartz on "Teacher Effectiveness," is having a catalytic effect on renewed efforts by different Ankara-based institutions to pool resources and cooperate in joint research projects on language learning and teaching. And also at Bilkent University, the input by English Teaching Fellow (ETF) Michelle Rajotte, over the past academic year into the University's MATEFL program, and especially her close contact and work with MA candidates from many different parts of Turkey, will enable USIS Ankara to establish or strengthen links with universities throughout the country.
Assistance for Setting Up New Language Program in Bremen, Germany
Regional English Language Officer Richard Murphy returned recently from a consultation in Germany, where he provided the mission and the city of Bremen with a blueprint for setting up a language program. The city of Bremen had asked for U.S. facilitative assistance in establishing and operating a Bremen-U.S. Center, which would provide required English classes to university students and would offer classes to the public on a tuition basis. Bremen will provide a three story building free of rent for the program and will contribute 500,000 DM annually. During his visit Murphy met with many officials and educators interested in establishing the center including Dr. Dirk Schroder, President of the steering committee for the Expo 2000; and the Mayor of Bremen, a leading figure in the Social Democratic Party and a personal friend of Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. Reports of the meetings and photographs appeared in the Bremen Kurier and Die Welt, a leading international German newspaper.
English Teaching Fellow Program Produces Curriculum Change at Turkish University
A gala performance of American comedy and drama at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey, on May 12, highlighted the effective work of USIA English Teaching Fellow (ETF) Francesca Hulin in bringing about curriculum change at the university and a new understanding of teacher-student interaction. The rector of the university introduced the two-hour performance of selected scenes from nine contemporary American plays, directed by Hulin and performed by her students, to a capacity audience of 500, consisting of parents and students from the university and the city’s special English high schools. The theater performance caps one year of hard work and diplomacy by ETF Hulin to get the faculty of Arts and Sciences of the university to introduce new courses in American literature and American drama. By focusing the attention of Turkish audiences on America’s creative arts, Hulin showcased America’s rich tradition of intellectual freedom.
Turkish Specialists to Participate at TESOL Greece
At the invitation of USIS Athens, USIS Ankara has agreed to support the participation of ELO Thomas Kral and four Turkish specialists at the annual TESOL Greece convention to be held March 20 - 21, 1999. The keynote speaker at the conference will be Dr. Jodi Crandall of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
English Teaching Specialist Harold Smith Introduces Turkish Educators to New Approach to Teaching and Curriculum Design
English Teaching Specialist Harold Smith worked with faculty and students at the Foreign Language Center (YADIM) and the teacher training department of Cukurova University in Adana, November 2- 21, 1998. He introduced the "focal skills" approach, a methodology drawing from American linguist Steven Krashen's theories of language acquisition; and he made a strong case for using the approach both at pre-university intensive English language programs and at the elementary school level where, this year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has mandated that the study of English is to begin. Smith's concept of "focal skills" instruction gained broader exposure at the national conference on English language teaching sponsored by Cukurova University, November 12-14, and the one-day workshop he conducted in Ankara for the MATEFL program at Bilkent University, November 23. The three-day conference organized by Cukurova University brought together 300 language educators from Turkey's less-developed southeastern region as well as leading educators from Ankara. The interaction at the conference resulted in an open exchange of ideas and established Smith's credibility in Turkey as an applied linguist, not merely a proponent of a teaching approach. The multiplier effect of Smith's one-day seminar at Bilkent University's MATEFL program cannot be overemphasized given the fact that the 18 candidates in the program are already faculty members of universities in Ankara, elsewhere in Anatolia and northern Cyprus. Harold Smith's visit was the first step in a project to introduce Turkish teachers of English to the "focal skills" approach for English language teaching. The program request, initiated by the educational attaché of the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. and officially extended by Cukurova University, addressed the needs of primary school learners in Turkey who now must study English beginning in grade 4.
English Language Specialist Explains the Role that English Teachers Can Play in Strengthening Civil Society
Because of their intensive contact with English Language Specialist Jean Zukowski-Faust, the educational philosophy and classroom teaching methods of more than 400 Turkish teachers of English have been permanently altered. Whether working with newly hired teachers at Baskent University, an innovative private institution founded only four years ago; or serving as featured speaker at the annual conference of the English Language Education Association of Turkey (INGED); or doing short programs with audiences at Bilkent University, the Middle East Technical University or the Turkish-American Association; Zukowski-Faust's ten-day program, September 27-October 7, 1998, effectively demonstrated how English language teaching programs can support country plan goals of promoting democratic institutions and creating civil society while fostering a better understanding of U.S. society and culture. In addressing what she called "the post-methodological era in foreign language teaching," Zukowski-Faust urged teachers to aim at the total involvement of their students, engaging them as whole learners, developing their critical thinking skills and empowering them to be comfortable with new ideas and different ways of interacting. Arguing that learning a second language makes possible the learning of information and concepts that we may not have learned through our first language, Zukowski-Faust heightened her audience's awareness of the important role that English language teachers play in sustaining civil society by encouraging freedom of expression among their students and active participation in decision-making processes.
Culture and Context
Calling on the audience to diversify its concepts of culture, noted American author and scholar Claire Kramsch launched a thought-provoking discussion for 50 Turkish teachers of English on May 4. She addressed the gathering at Bilkent University in Ankara via a conference call from the University of California at Berkeley, where she is professor of German and foreign language teaching. The audience asked a variety of questions on post modernism, literature, culture, and curriculum. Kramsch stressed how important it is for language teachers to have a detailed grasp of the beliefs that drive their own culture and language as well as the language they are teaching. Bilkent University has a masters in TEFL program that introduces Turkish language teachers to American approaches to classroom management and educational research. It graduates 18-20 students a year. The program represents a ten-year collaboration between Bilkent and USIA's Fulbright Exchange.
Turkish Audiences Fascinated by Psychologist's Ideas about the Brain and Learning
Creativity, critical thinking, and free inquiry which are fundamental to developing and sustaining a democracy, are the core beliefs of the White Point Foundation. To introduce these ideas to a wide audience, White Point sponsored a visit in October by James Asher, professor of psychology at San Jose State University in San Jose, California and originator of the "Total Physical Response." During several conferences and workshops, Asher explained the role of the right brain (intuitive) and left brain (analytical) in learning, and how overemphasis on left-brain learning often leads to rote-memorization and loss of creativity. Audiences of nearly 1,000 educators, journalists, and parents heard Dr. Asher's presentations.