Turkish Education Ministry increases number of chapters in English courses for fifth grade students
Önder Öndeş – ANKARAThe Education Ministry has increased the number of chapters in English courses for fifth grade students as part of efforts to turn the grade into a foreign language preparation year.
According to the draft English teaching program released by the ministry, the content of the fifth grade English course was broadened, with the number of chapters increasing from 10 to 40.
The new curriculum aiming to particularly improve students’ speaking and reading skills will be applied in schools chosen by the ministry in the 2017-2018 education term.
The current chapters on basic information are preserved, while the newly added programs mainly focus on technological and scientific terminology.
The ministry also aimed to add topics that would grab the attention of the students in fifth grade including chapters on “Super Heroes,” “Extreme Sports” and “Lifestyles.”
The new program places more emphasis on enhancing the writing and speaking skills of students, which is limited in the current curriculum. In addition to listening exercises, new activities that would pave the way for students to express their thoughts and develop new statements were introduced to the program.
While class time allocated for grammar has been decreased, the time allocated for improving writing skills has been increased.
Prof. Yasemin Bayyurt from Boğaziçi University’s Education Faculty said teachers should initially be informed of such a wide-scale program.
“The new program gives priority to students’ speaking and writing skills, while encouraging them to use the language more. Teachers’ education should also be taken into account and they should be informed of such a wide-scale curriculum change. Education should focus on oral speaking and not just focus on exams,” Bayyurt told daily Hürriyet on June 23.
Prof. Mehmet Demirezen from Hacettepe University said the program “looks good on paper,” but problems may emerge in its implementation.
“The program aims to provide students with speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. However, problems emerge in implementation. There aren’t enough teachers, some educators lack certain necessary skills, and the classrooms are often overcrowded. So implementing this program in classrooms will be tough,” Demirezen said.