Teacher becomes ‘theacher’ in teachers’ guidebook
In a survey released a couple of years ago, it was revealed that Turkey was 43rd among 44 countries in English proficiency. The extent to which we fail at teaching a foreign language is no secret – as if we are any good at teaching physics, mathematics, etc…
We should not blame ourselves or our children. When it is a scientifically proven fact that children adopt a foreign language as their mother tongue when they start learning it at ages 5 to 6, we think we can teach our sons and daughters who have reached the age of adolescence a foreign language in two hours a week.
Experts say that language teaching starts late in Turkey and that it is done with wrong methods; also, there is no logical array in text books.
We could only have been this successful if we had worked to not teach them instead of teaching them.
Nevertheless, the share of education in the central budget has increased but that budget is not necessarily used for teaching the students and maybe - more of a priority - teaching the teacher.
Speaking about teaching the teacher, have you seen the book “Power Up,” designed for teachers giving English lessons to 9th graders? On the cover of the book, the word “teacher” is misspelled as “theacher.”
If you really push it, this might be considered a minor mistake but it gives you an idea of the level of precision.
It is apparent that we will not be able to reach with “broken English” the global targets of ours that are constantly loaded into our bodies and souls through heroic lectures.
The Education Ministry seems to be aware of the significance of the matter. They announced that they were making “pilot classes” practices.
I read a story in daily Cumhuriyet on Sept. 28 by Deniz Ülkütekin: “In Istanbul’s Üsküdar district, in Küçüksu Middle School, a pilot class practice was launched and a fee under the name of a donation of between 1,000 Turkish Liras and 2,500 liras to the PTA has been asked from parents…”
With the money collected an “extra” teacher will be hired. Thus those parents who can pay this amount will be able to send their children to 15 hours of foreign language (English) education weekly. What about the others? Well, the others are attending English classes four hours a week.
Let us make a small calculation. As of today, in Turkey, there are 17.5 million students attending formal education. We can deduct private schools from this figure. We can also, realistically, accept that it would be too late for those students in middle schools and high schools.
We have 1 million students in pre-school education and around 5 million in elementary school. This means that for a total of 6 million students, it is not too late yet. If we assume that a class is made up of 25 students, in a very optimistic approach, and if we divide 6 million by 25, this equals 240,000, the number of classrooms needed for these small children…
If a teacher can be hired for “1,000 liras,” then the Education Ministry, which has a budget of 100 billion liras this year, can allocate roughly 250 million liras to finance English education for these small students…
This looks like a very primitive kind of a calculation. It also looks as if this cannot be solved this way…
I accept my calculation is wrong. I accept this immediately and in advance. However, there is no appropriate calculation either with this approach involving this syllabus and these guide books for teachers where we misspell the profession of the teacher who will teach the course.
Seriousness, precision, logic and planning are rare features in our country; this kind of business requires much effort and precision, I’m afraid.
Otherwise, of course we love and cherish our “theachers” very much…