5Q5A

Interview with Duygu Güntek

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Duygu Güntek: I have graduated from METU, from the department of ELT. I worked at Bilkent University for 7 years right after graduation, and in my first year there, I got the COTE certificate. In my 5th year, I did my M.A  back here at METU, ELT department. I was lucky enough to complete my thesis dissertation here, at home, at the Department of Modern Languages. In my first year, I worked for the curriculum development committee, which helped me a lot with my thesis study. After a couple of years, I took part in the research committee of the department. At the moment, I am offering Business English, speaking course, on the weekends at the Department of Basic English as well as teaching METU students in the weekdays.  I like reading, listening to music as I go for long walks whenever I have time.  I am also keen on following discussion programs and latest developments in technology and science. I enjoy personal development activities of any sort.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Duygu Güntek: Teaching, to me, is learning….being a student, a never-ending process and development period,  discovering more about myself- my weaknesses, my strengths, my potential-about life as well as other people, learning to be human before anything else…

PDUWhat about your personal interests?

Duygu Güntek: I have quite a wide range of interests I guess; I like learning -listening and reading- about different subjects such as philosophy, psychology, physics and metaphysics ( I am quite interested in spiritual well-being ) so on. I think I am in love with science. I also like cooking when I have time:)

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Duygu Güntek: It is hard to answer this question…I am emotional but I can not easily cry…I think I am one of those strong ones. I am the only child and left home at the age of 13 to study at a boarding school. I was 21 when I started living with my family again, it was quite a long break and not that easy, to be honest.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Duygu Güntek: Another hard question to answer:)The first thing that comes to my mind is about some funny classroom experience; I like chatting with my students informally before class time mostly. I usually go to my sessions early to prepare all the equipment I carry around and my teaching materials. As soon as I make everthing ready, I go get some coffee from the canteen to relax . It was one of those first days of school when a number of my new students came into the classroom without the awareness that I was the instructor. I had actually started to talk to those early ones when the late ones made their way through the room. They were talking a bit too informally as you can guess:) I never interrupted them until one asked who the instructor was. I can never forget the look on his face when he learned that I was the one.

Thank you very much…

February-March 2018

Interview with Aslı Gülener

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Aslı Gülener: I graduated from the Department of English Language Teaching at İstanbul University in 1993. Immediately after graduation, I went to the United Kingdom to do my masters. I got my MA degree from Leicester University in Applied Linguistics / TESOL in 1994. I started working at METU, The Department of Modern Languages in September 1994.

Since then, I am proud to be a member of this family. This is my 24th year in this department. During these 24 years, I worked at several different committees ranging from testing to book writing. Currently, I am a member of Academic Misconduct Committee.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Aslı Gülener: Sometime ago, I read in an article that a teacher can be thought of as a tourist guide. This metaphor fits my teaching because I believe that just like a tourist guide, a teacher must have a clear plan and adjust his/her speed to the speed of individuals in the group. Similar to a guide, a teacher should not forget that levels of interest and motivation might vary within the group and adjust her/himself accordingly.  Moreover, tour guides and teachers must have extensive knowledge of their subject. I can say that, like a tourist guide, I have traveled extensively in this field and I love discovering new ways of teaching in class.

PDUWhat about your personal interests?

Aslı Gülener: I like reading books, especially real-life stories, biographies and historical fiction. I am also a fan of cinema and enjoy watching romantic movies. I love traveling and exploring new places and different cultures.

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Aslı Gülener: Woww, what a difficult question. Not that it makes me different or interesting but just like most of us I love and care a lot about my family. My family is the safe harbour  in my life, to use another metaphor. I always try to remember what my mum says: ‘You have to take care of yourself first, you have to be well if you want to help your family’.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Aslı Gülener: As I said earlier, I have been working at the Department Modern Languages, METU for 24 years. I have numerous memories, but I remember having fun with students about literal translations. Ultimately, I have only good memories of times I have spent with my precious students and wonderful colleagues.

Thank you very much..

December-January 2017

Interview with Sevda Akman

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Sevda Akman: I graduated from the Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University in 2003. I started working at Gündoğmuş Yatılı İlköğretim Bölge Okulu-I think it was the most rewarding teaching experience for me as my students were adorable despite all the difficulties they had in their life, bringing me a bunch of fresh flowers whenever they come back to school from their villages. After working there for a year, I came back to Ankara and started to work for Atılım University and worked there for 8 years. Then, I went to the USA for a year and had my DELTA there, although I did not go there to study. After returning back to Turkey, I started to work for TOBB ETU and in 2014 I came back home, METU and here I am at MLD.

I am interested in the use of technology in language teaching, feedback to the written outcome, online, designing materials, feedback and teaching English to young learners.

PDUWhat does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Sevda Akman: Teaching is my life –especially nowadays with two kids under 3. I enjoy every moment of teaching-  getting prepared and teaching itself. Searching to teach, finding something interesting, something original, creating a context. Seeing the change.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Sevda Akman: I am interested in photography. I like capturing some nice details around me and in nature. I enjoy doing any kind of exercises like jogging, pilates or ZUMBA J

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Sevda Akman: In fact, we are all different from each other but I can say that I am a good observer and solution-oriented. Despite all the ugliness in the world, I still have hope for the future- yes I am an optimistic person.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Sevda Akman: This term I asked the students to have a mini-presentation about the things they want to change their life or in the world. In one of my sections a student- who is not very eager to participate in speaking tasks -did not come to the class and I thought he did not want to have it since he has some kind of stage fright. When I asked him why he did not have it, he said he did not like the topic since he did not prefer to present his own ideas in such a subjective topic and he told me that he could present if I gave him a more objective topic. And now I need to find a more subjective topic. I had thought it was an easy task and the students would not have any difficulty but this student made me rethink about my teaching-I think we need to respect students’ preferences and allow them to have more variety instead of forcing them to do whatever we want.

 OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2017

Interview with Evrim Yalçın

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Evrim Yalçın: I graduated from the Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University in 1998. I started working at Bilkent University School of English Language and I received both my Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English from Cambridge University and my MA in English Literature at METU  in 2000. I have been a devotedJ doctoral student in ELIT for as long as I can remember. I am hoping to finish writing my dissertation before I turn 40.

After teaching at Bilkent University for 5 years, I came home to teach at MLD.  I have been working in our department for 14 years and I have worked in Eng 211 Syllabus Committee and co-authored the course book The Compass: Route to Academic Speaking. My research interests are syllabus & materials design, using literature in the EFL classroom and teaching & assessing speaking.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Evrim Yalçın: I love being in class and sharing my passion for learning with my students. Every day is a new day and it is never boring. Teaching keeps me on my toes.  Looking at what I have written so far, I think I have grown even more enthusiastic than I was as an inexperienced teacher some 19 years agoJ. It is really satisfying to know that your work has a purpose and you have the power to make a difference.

My metaphor for teaching is taking a photograph. You need to focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things do not work out as you have planned, just take another shot.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Evrim Yalçın: I have always been interested in art, literature, and philosophy. As an undergraduate student, I had the chance to take a lot of philosophy courses and my interest in philosophy still continues. I am a cinephile and a bibliophile, I can’t imagine a life without books and movies. I enjoy traveling and exploring new places and different cultures. I love spending hours in museums and reading about the works of art I see.

PDU:Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Evrim Yalçın: That is a tough question, dear Elif. Let me try to answer it by telling you what matters most to me:  my family and my friends. I care a lot about the people I love. I have always been a person who lets the heart rule over the mind. I would say feelings like compassion, empathy, and love are what define me as a person.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Evrim Yalçın: I have had so many happy memories at MLD thanks to my colleagues and students.  Receiving e-mails, wedding invitations and photographs of newborns from my graduate students make me very happy. Let me share with you something which is quite interesting. I was teaching 102 a couple of years ago and it was the essay submission day. One of the students did not show up so after waiting for her for a couple of minutes, I decided to leave the class. As I was walking towards my car, I noticed something on the windshield. Guess what? It was her essay!

MAY-JUNE 2017

Interview with Filiz Etiz

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Filiz Etiz: I graduated from the Department of Translation and Interpretation (ENG-TUR) at Hacettepe University. Then I received another BA degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Ankara University. I did an MA in Foreign Language Teaching in Ankara University. Since a long time ago, I have been a faithful doctoral student in ELT at ODTU where I am expecting my dissertation to finish writing itself 😀

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Filiz Etiz: I like to liken teaching to a ship setting sail on a long journey called English, with passengers eager to take turns in rowing when need be, enjoying the ups and downs of the sea, the harsh gales as well as the sweet breezes of the ocean, and the warmth of the sun upon their skin, inhaling the salty air and feeling with every moment just how pleasurable the entire experience is, knowing there is no end to the sea, coming to understand it is not the destination but the journey that matters.

PDU: What about your personal interests? 

Filiz Etiz: I love reading biographies, learning languages, traveling to exotic places, listening and dancing to flamenco music, and taking part in drama. Academically, I am interested in different ways to enhance English speaking and writing skills.

Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us? 

Filiz Etiz: I guess I’d say my perseverance when I set my mind on something.

Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way. 

Filiz Etiz: I have numerous good memories here at MLD; I cannot talk about a specific one, to be honest. All I can say is that I am so happy to be a member of this wonderful family 🙂

 

MARCH-APRIL 2017

Interview with Seher Balbay

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far? *

Seher Balbay: METU, FLE- undergrad and MA. Cleveland State Uni.- MA, 211 committee now

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Seher Balbay:Teaching is trying to fight with genes:)

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Seher Balbay:Painting, singing, playing the piano, swimming, traveling, ELT:)

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Seher Balbay:An incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm when it comes to teaching. Thinking that everything is relevant.

DECEMBER 2016-JANUARY 2017

Interview with Didem Ayan

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Didem Ayan: Undergraduate: American Culture and literature, Graduate: English Language Teaching. Mostly interested in electronic portfolios, reflection, self regulated learning, peer feedback and brain-based learning

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Didem Ayan: Quoting from a professor of mine; teacher is the magician… you have to be inspiring and exciting at the same time 😮

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Didem Ayan: Watching sci-fi movies, reading, taking care of the kids (not much willingly 😉

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us? *

Didem Ayan: As a teacher my sole aim is not to teach skills to my students; may be because of working as a primary school teacher for 5 years in the past, I still try to be their mentors in their lives and care about their feelings more than their grades

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Didem Ayan: Once I asked my students to fulfill a project integrating writing paragraphs, delivering a presentation and listening tasks; they were asked to learn some basic principles of brain-based learning and choose a bad habit that disturbed them and change it by planning their steps gradually and write reflections on their achievements or failures.. some of them quit drinking, smoking, biting their nails or their asocial habits.. and one of them decided to change his department!! :)) Still it was a great achievement for me to touch their lives

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2016 

Interview with Assoc. Prof. Dr.Necla Çıkıgil

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Necla Çıkıgil: B.A. and M.A. English Literature and  Language,Hacettepe University M.A. in Shakespeare Studies. Birmingham University Ph.D. in Theatre, Ankara University Assoc.Prof. Dr. Theatre Diplomas and Certificates in EFL Teaching At the DML,METU the first 211 Book Committee Exam committees.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Necla Çıkıgil: Teaching is an interactive process of giving and taking while information is processed to turn into knowledge. The metaphor would be “big wave surfing”. Surfers paddling into waves are both instructors and students. The surfboards are screens and/or boards. Waves are the teaching and learning tasks.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Necla Çıkıgil: National and international review writing (book reviews, theatre and ballet reviews) Shakespeare’s works on stage Following scientific developments; especially space explorations

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Necla Çıkıgil: Curiosity

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Necla Çıkıgil: One Spring Term, the first day of teaching started on a stormy and snowy day. I was on the service bus and I had to get off at the Chemical Engineering Department in knee-deep snow. I said to myself: “Students wouldn’t brave the storm for the 8:40 lesson on a wintry day. No way.” I did not get off the bus and came to our warm department. The second time I had to meet the students I asked them about the first day and the first lesson. They said:” We all waited for you and wanted to meet you.” That was the first and last time I misssed the first day of classes whether it rained or shined.

 

MAY 2016

Interview with Başak Dutan

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Başak Dutan: I graduated from the department of ELT, Hacettepe University, in 1999. I took my M.A. degree from the same department in 2002, with a thesis on syllabus design. Then I took another M.A. degree in the field of Human Resources Development in Education from METU in 2007. I worked at Çankaya University between 1999 and 2004 and at Başkent University between 2004 and 2007 as an instructor. I have been here at MLD since 2007. Throughout my professional life, I have given different courses, have worked as the coordinator of materials design unit, and have attended different workshops, conferences and training programs.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Başak Dutan: Teaching and learning are the life itself. I believe life is about learning and having chosen teaching as my career, I also learn and grow with my students.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Başak Dutan: I am interested in outdoor sports, camping and travelling. I like meeting new people and learning different cultures. I am also into yoga, laughter yoga, cosmic energy and many other spiritual healing methods. As I said earlier, I can say that I am quite passionate about learning itself in all areas of life.

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Başak Dutan: Actually I do not think that that I am an interesting person. I am just an ordinary person trying to be a better human being.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Başak Dutan: The story I’ll share now is typical of what I experience every time as I enter class. I leave the world behind and start a new adventure with my students. For example, once, after having a car accident in the morning before my class, I was rather frustrated and furious. I did not feel like doing anything. However, when I entered the classroom, I forgot about everything and I realized that I was smiling and I was quite energetic. At that moment once again I felt that I am in the right place doing the right job.

APRIL 2016

Interview with Özlem Bozatlı

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Özlem Bozatlı: I studied English Language and Literature at Ankara University. Right after graduation I did not want to become a teacher so I worked as a salesperson at a carpet shop  for sometime, then I worked at a travel agency for one year. After that I started to work as an executive secretary at a well-known private sector company. When I decided to become a teacher at last, I arranged a position as an assisstant teacher  at a pre-primary school in Radlett, Britain. Iworked there for one year and gained valuable experience.  As soon as I returned to Turkey, I started to work as a teacher at a private college in Ankara. I taught English to nursery school and primary school students. Then I decided to be in a more academic environment in 1994. I was accepted to the Department of Modern Languages at METU as an instructor. While I was teaching ENG 101 and 102,I got my MS Degree from the Faculty of Education, METU. I have taught 101, 102, 211, 311 and at some point even Turkish to foreign students so far.  Meanwhile, I worked as a member of Curriculum Development, Syllabus, Material Development, Academic Misconduct and Testing Committees. Recently I have been working as a member of the Administrative Unit of the Modern Languages Department. As can be seen I have taken part in almost all levels of our department and I should say I have enjoyed every moment of it. My research interests are in assessment and material development.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Özlem Bozatlı: Teaching means ‘changing things and lives’ to me. I think this is quite an important power in one’s hand and teachers should use this power very carefully and effectively. Maybe as an individual in today’s society, at my age, I cannot change so many things in my life but with my power as a teacher I hope and believe I can cause great changes in society with the help of my students.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Özlem Bozatlı: My personal interests are reading, travelling, doing sports and socializing as much as possible. For me the main purpose to earn a living is to travel around the world and meeting foreigners and learning about foreign cultures as much as possible. Up to now I have been to many countries and foreign cities and I would like to see many more. Doing sports is my second favorite activity. Since I was 20 years old it has been an indispensible part of my life. It makes me feel alive and happy. If I don’t have a good book with me, wherever I am, I feel alone and insecure. And as the last source of joy in my life, I should mention my close friends. They are invauable to me and I know that I would have support of them anytime I need.

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Özlem Bozatlı: I really like listening to, getting to know and observing people. I have always been  interested in psychology in the past and it was one of my favourite habits to observe, listen to and try to understand the underlying reason why a person acts in a certain way. I read about behavioral psychology. Still I am trying to listen to others before I judge them and try to be tolerant and understand how they feel as much as possible.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Özlem Bozatlı: During my second year at the Department of English Language and Literature, Ankara University, because I was a state high school origin student, I was about to fail most of my courses. My parents panicked and hired a private (and famous they said) teacher to help me with my courses. Guess who he was: Cesur Öztürk, of course. He really helped me with my English for one year and I graduated from university with success. Then,  several years later, while I was working at a private college as an English teacher to teach primary and secondary school students, I started to feel dissatisfied because I did not have the chance to use most of my academic knowledge. One day,my father met Cesur Hoca in Kızılay on his way back home. Cesur Hoca asked my father about me and told him to take his newly published book ‘Building Skills for Proficiency’ to me to study and get prepared for the entrance exam at MLD, METU as an instructor. It was like my dream came true. I studied really hard from the book,  passed all the exams was accepted to MLD. Cesur Hoca, like a guardian angel, played an important role in my life and fate twice. I owe him my satisfaction and happiness with my professional life. Thank you so much Cesur Hocam…

MARCH 2016

Interview with Ayşe Tolunay

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Ayşe Tolunay: I studied English Language and Literature at Hacettepe University, and graduated in 2007. I was certified by Hacettepe University in English Language Teaching in 2006. After graduation I worked at Afyon Kocatepe University, in Basic English Department. In 2009 I obtained Global TKT Essentials certificate and in 2010 I started working at MLD, METU. Moving back to Ankara enabled me to gain more certificates: ELT Diploma given by British Council and COTE by MLD.

I spent an academic year in the US, where I taught Turkish and attended grad courses as a Fulbright scholar at Boston University. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I realized that I love teaching Turkish and now I have my eyes on teaching Turkish certificates 🙂

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Ayşe Tolunay: Teaching in essence is acting. We have a scenario, and audience and, unlike most professional actors,  we get to perform every single day. So all the classroom is a stage and all the men and women merely players…

PDU: What about your personal interests?

I love cooking, really healthy stuff, and doing sports. I love doing yoga and pilates. I spend hours in the gym almost everyday. I organize my life around my sports schedule and encourage people around me to do sports because I want them to have a quality life, and have the ability to move until their last breath. I believe we should have pilates sessions instead of high-carbs potlucks!

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

I love travelling. I have visited 18 countries so far and I never want to stop. I want to see everywhere, and learn as many languages as I can, and meet with as many people as possible from different cultures. In other words, I have an extreme case of wanderlust!

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

In my job interview, I –like everyone else- was asked THE question: “Why not Basic English but Modern Languages?” And I don’t know what came over me in such a serious moment but I said “I don’t want to be basic, I want to be modern.” And to my relief, everybody laughed with me 🙂

JANUARY 2016

Interview with Azer Özlem Yaşar

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Azer Özlem Yaşar: I  graduated from Hacettepe University, Interpretation and Translation department in 2004. I  completed an intensive TESOL Certification Program at SIT, and then I started working as an ESL teacher in New York. My work life at Modern Languages Department started in 2008 as we moved back to Ankara. After working 5 years at MLD, we moved back to the US. I was able to find  an ESL teaching job at a public school in Houston. I worked with Korean students for almost a year until I had my second child.I can not say I both had children and a carreer because I had to quit my job at that time;)

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Azer Özlem Yaşar: Teaching is life itself. It is full of energy, full of different minds, full of interacting. The moment I enter my classrooms, my mood changes. For me, teaching is my therapy that lifts me up.:)I am so glad to be back to my job after 3 years of leave.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Azer Özlem Yaşar: I am very much into cooking. Especially the healthy food. We are what we eat. Food is our identity.  I truly enjoy reading about new super food trends, new recipes, watching all kinds of cooking shows and documentaries…Kitchen is my second favorite place in the world. I believe the cure of all diseases are in the nature so anything “natural” can appeal to me..I am also very interested in  aromatherapy. I like using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being.If you want,I can share my virus killer spray recipe with you Elif;)

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Azer Özlem Yaşar: That is a difficult question to answer…. I am trying to make our world a better place to live. You might think; such cliche words these are, but they are true. If we do one act of kindness each day of the year, we can change 365 lives.. I am doing my best to be nice and help other people and teach that to my children..

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Azer Özlem Yaşar: During the my application process to MLD in 2008, I was still working in New York. I did not know that there was a difference between Modern Languages Department and School of Foreign Languages. I had to choose one of them to apply. I called SFL first, the person who replied did not care much about my case. I had some problems about the deadline, I had to come earlier than our moving date etc. . I hanged up and called Modern Languages Department. They replied with such a kind tone of voice,they were so understanding and nice. So I made my mind;I would choose the department with a nice tone of voice:) Since then, I have never had a regret about choosing Modern Languages Department;I feel so  lucky to be a part of this family.

DECEMBER 2015

Interview with Mehmet Ali Yılık

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PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Mehmet Ali Yılık: I graduated from METU Department of Foreign Language Education. Right after graduation, I started a master’s program in English Language Teaching (ELT)offered by the same department. I served at Başkent University, Turkish American Association and NATO’s Istanbul Headquarters while at the same time I completed my master’s study.

Then, I returned to METU as an instructor this time 🙂 I started teaching at Modern Languages Department in 2008 and since then I’ve been teaching (and learning) on METU Campus. As for language teaching, I’m interested in testing and evaluation, materials development, and curriculum development and evaluation. I’ve authored some practice books for university students and secondary level state schools. I’ve recently started working on a course book series.

In 2010, I was admitted to Educational Administration and Planning Doctoral Program at METU and currently I’m writing my dissertation. I have growing interest in Educational Sciences; particularly, qualitative research, organization theories and higher education.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Mehmet Ali Yılık: To me, teaching means a continuous flow of experimentation. You have continuous input of students, changing trends, expectations etc. that flow into teaching and learning process and you, as the teacher, help forge the output: the students you feel proud of and the satisfaction you get when you see real learning takes place.

My teaching metaphor would be experimenting in an unconventional lab.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Mehmet Ali Yılık: I love learning languages and exploring cultures. I learned some basics and then taught myself Spanish and now I’m a confident user of Spanish. I also learned some French and lately I started teaching myself some Arabic.

This is partly because I love travelling and would like to learn more about the languages and cultures of the places I visit. I’m particularly interested in Spanish and Latin American culture – Cuba and Argentina are in my travel wish list!

I love vintage cars and especially Volkswagen Beetle. I own a 1974 WV Beetle and I’m crazy about driving it. I’ll be the happiest man if one day I have a gallery of vintage cars.

Eating good food and chilling out with friends is a must!

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Mehmet Ali Yılık: I’m a born planner.I’m dedicated to work and I can be a little perfectionist at times. I am by nature a calm and tranquil person.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

Mehmet Ali Yılık: When I first started the department, I was supposed to complete a Professional Development Program given by Modern Languages Department. There were five other new recruits – ÖzgürKöse, YelizAkel, EbruÇerezcioğlu, EbruPesek and AzerYaşar. We sometimes called ourselves The Oceanic Six – after the then famous TV series LOST. The Oceanic Six refers to the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 that crashed a remote island in the TV series. We, the Oceanic Six, spent a whole year together in a very demanding Professional Development Program and survived the training program 🙂

 

NOVEMBER 2015

Interview with Nil Mısır Osmanoğlu

nil

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

Nil Mısır Osmanoğlu: After graduating from the FLE Deparment at METU, I started working at Bilkent University Prep. School(BUSEL) as a Language Instructor. I worked there for 6 years. I was interested in testing ,so I worked at the Testing Unit as a Test Coordinator. Within these 6 years,I completed COTE and CEELT courses. Actually, I spent one of those 6 years at ELSU (English Language as a Second Language Unit) where I taught Tourism Department students.Then,I decided to come back home-METU-:).I started working at  Metu MLD in 2001. It was the time when I taught TOEFL courses at TAA as well. I continued teaching these evening courses for 2 years and then I had to quit due to my daughter’s birth in 2003. I do not remember the year but I contributed to the editing of 101 Book’s Workbook  with Çiğdem and Serap Hoca. Again, I do not remember the date but I have been working for the AWC for more than 6 years. I completed my M.S. degree in Women’s Studies -an interdisciplinary programme in Sociology- in 2005.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

Nil Mısır Osmanoğlu: I think teaching is like performing in a play,or acting. When I was in secondary school, I was very interested in acting and was actively involved in the theatre club of the school.Later,  I told my parents that I want to go to conservatory but they rejected. I felt upset about their decision and had my education in the FLE Department. After the graduation, I showed my diploma to my dad and said: “You know my love of drama and acting, I wish I were a player!!!” My dad said: “Ok,don’t worry,you are already a player,you are a teacher which means you are the player; your classroom will be your stage and your students are your audience; act as you like” Well-he was right, after that moment, it was my motto: My teaching will be like acting- that is why, I always tried to back up my teaching by the Communicative Approach:)

PDU: What about your personal interests?

Nil Mısır Osmanoğlu: I am an outrunner. Doing sports is indispensible for me. My friends think that I started running recently,which is not the case. I have been running since I was in the secondary school but running outdoors is in my life since last December.I can say that running is my therapy,you know that I am married with three children so from time to time, I need this  “personal space” desperately. Actually,what makes me happier and satisfied is not solely running, it is running for the disabled, the sick, the needy, or simply for the ones who cannot do this. Participating in national or international races is a great opportunity to raise awareness in the community  as well. In short, everyday is a good day when you run or do exercise. It is the best  way to get rid of stress and be happy:) in life—-THIS IS MY PHILOSOPHY:))))

PDU: Let’s learn more about you, Nil hocam. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

Nil Mısır Osmanoğlu:  No matter what happens,I have an attitude of being happy. We do not live in a happy community,and living in this geography-in Turkey- is really difficult. Everyday we wake up to chaos,conflict and problems.Yet, we cannot/should not give up. I guess this OPTIMISM makes me different.

OCTOBER 2015

Interview with İlke Mankalyalı

İlke MankalyalıPDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?

İlke Mankalyalı: I graduated in 1992 from Hacettepe University French Language and Literature department. Then, I carried on with Masters studies in the same department and graduated from Masters in 1995.

At the moment I am attending doctoral studies in the same department of the same university. I am carrying out a study on ‘the moral understanding of Andre Gide’

After graduating from my bachelors programme, I worked as an assistant at the French language education department of Gazi University, Ankara.

Due to my husband’s work being in İzmir, I worked for a short time at the Research and Development department of Yeni Asır newspaper.

When I returned to Ankara in 1997, I worked at the Tevfik Fikret High School and since 1998 I have been working at our department(Modern Languages) in the Middle East Technical University.

Semantics, semiology, language history and class activities in language education have always been an important issue for me.

I have attended workshops in the above-mentioned subjects at Belc/Caen and Difusion/ Rencontre FLE/ Barcelone.

We, the elective course teachers, as you may know, prepare our own course material and also our own exams.

The French Department consists of three instructors namely FilizHenden, ÇelebiAktaş and myself. We prepare all teaching and examining materials for our subject for all levels of the language.

Apart from these, in 2001 I was involved in a teamwork in Human Ethics Committee.

Also, maybe, it cannot be described as a committee, but we often exchange knowledge and share materials with Spanish and Italian instructors and we try to develop ideas.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?

İlke Mankalyalı: «Teaching» before anything else means a big responsibility to me.

Apart from the students you teach I think we also have some responsibility towards the culture of the language too.

Our responsibility in the classroom consists of respect to ourselves, our students, the department and as I mentioned just now  also towards the language we teach and its associated culture.

I believe that teachers are primarily responsible for showing the way to the students.

While presenting a language and its culture to the students, in order to prevent the students from getting demotivated and falling apart, we are responsible to help them through possible difficulties, setbacks and correct their mistakes.

On top of that, we are also responsible to provide material to ease their learning and to keep their attention alert on the subject.

Of course these come with more necessities.

First of all, we need to refurbish ourselves and the materials we use as often as we can.

We need to keep up with all the new learning and teaching techniques.

We must follow up the rapidly changing technology and to apply it at our classrooms.

We especially should be aware that language teaching is not limited to merely books and we should be aware that language is a way of thinking and a means of existence and that it exists in all aspects of life continually.

If I had to describe the meaning of «teaching» in a metaphor, I would describe it as a «river» that feeds the lands it goes through and that it is also reshaped from the experiences it lives through as this happens.

And that it is never the same.

PDU: What about your personal interests?

İlke Mankalyalı: In the past six months I have been spending most of my time working on my doctoral thesis.

But I really like reading most of all.

I especially like crime novels and I am trying to read all crime novels written in different European countries.

I also like to do «crafts», to work in the garden and to grow flowers and vegetables.

I feel responsibility towards street animals and I go out of my way to help them.

I like to spend time with my friends, too, and also to travel.

I like to go to the movies of the novels I have read and I like to talk about them.

PDU: Let’s learn more about you, İlke hocam. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

İlke Mankalyalı: I think other people should answer this question for me.

However, one aspect of my personality that stands out most is my sense of responsibility I find.

I will respond to any assignment or expectations and try to answer questions asked.

I will not start a work that I feel I cannot complete.

I think I communicate well with the people I meet.

And I think I am aware of the true nature of mankind.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.

İlke Mankalyalı: I have been working at the Modern Languages department, METU for 17 years.

In this time I have collected many fond, funny and nostalgic memories.

And during these times I had priceless students. I still keep in touch with some of them.

Every card or e-mail I receive from them moves me emotionally.

JUNE 2015
seher

Interview with Seher Balbay

PDU: Seher, can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?
Seher: I graduated from METU’s Foreign Language Education Department in 1997. That same year, I started teaching at the same department as a research assistant and started my MA in ELT in the same department, as well. I continued my MA studies in ELT at Cleveland State University in 1997 and 1998, and got my degree from METU in 2000. In 2000,  I started teaching at the MLD, and have taught 101, 102, 211 and 311 courses.  Whichever course I taught, my main interest has always been in raising an awareness that language should  be dealt with in contexts, considering every factor contributing to the meaning intended, including choice of words, choice of structure, tone or style, the addressee, the assumed background of the addressee and the relationship of these factors with each other. To that end, discourse analysis, is the method I adopted, to deal with any reading text in-depth. I also find it very useful to intentionally digress from the main text and use the content to elaborate on  reading skills-related issues, such as when dictionaries work and when they do not work. That is to say, most of what I teach, I teach through intensive reading since no text is as simple as it appears to be.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?
Seher: Teaching what we teach at the MLD, that is deriving meaning in language and producing language that would express ourselves precisely, is an ongoing and indispensible ‘discovery’ for me.  When teaching, I find myself exploring the essence of being human, communicating via words, trying to comprehend the world, and the inner working mechanisms of the sociable creature that we are. Therefore, never have I felt that what I teach, or rather help analyze, is secondary in importance to any other course. On the contrary, I have always regarded my focus the prerequisite of any other content or skill one may aim to achieve in life.

PDU: What about your personal interests?
Seher: I have always been interested in philosophy, literature, music,  and art. I’m a spatially oriented person; colors, designs and shapes bear a particular importance in my space. My interest in art reflects itself in my classroom material, naturally. I enjoy incorporating relevant visuals: drawings, videos, or mostly slides in what I teach. I play the piano and also sing in a choir, neither of which I can even begin to imagine giving up. Also, I have always been keen on welcoming practical uses of technology in my daily life, one recent example of which is my becoming a big fan of audio books.  In a nutshell, I guess I enjoy life as long as there are arts, music, and literature in it.

PDU: Let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?
Seher: Yes, by now, even I, myself, can’t believe that I am even more motivated than  I was when I first started teaching. Even when I’m sick, or rather tired, when I teach, it feels like a cure! I hope to be able to retire with the same enthusiasm and energy one day.

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.
Seher: I have had lots of interesting experiences, of course, but I’ll tell you one anecdote that I find the most extraordinary.  14 years ago,  when I was just back from my maternity leave and was still feeling very fresh motherly compassion for all human kind thanks to having recently given birth, a student knocked on my door and very apologetically asked to leave for İzmir the next  week since his mother was going to move and he was the only one to help her. He said his father passed away. He wasn’t going to be able to take my quiz. My heart felt for him and I was proud of having a responsible student who would go a long distance to help out his mother during the overwhelmingly busy academic year. I said he could take a make-up on his return. He was relieved. I was emotional but pleased with my response. Some two weeks later, during an office hour another student knocked on my door. He said he had a private matter to discuss with me. He said his mother was moving the next week, he was the only man in the family, and to help his mom, he had to go to İzmir!

MAY 2015

IMG_1439

Interview with Yeşim Somuncuoğlu

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?
Yeşim: I received my BA degree in ELT and  MS and PhD degrees in Educational Sciences from METU. I worked at BUSEL for five years. I did RSA COTE, finished a Materials Development and Textbook Writing Course in University of Reading, Berkshire, UK, and worked in the Syllabus and Materials Development Committee, along with my teaching duties during these five years. I have been working at the MLD since 1997. I was a visiting scholar to the University of Washington, WA, US, as a Fulbright grantee during 1999-2000 academic year. From 1998 to 1999 I worked at the Curriculum Committee of our department and wrote the first ENG101 Coursebook of our department – The Realm of Reading – with two more colleagues. And I did another Curriculum Committee work for three years from 2002 to 2005, carrying out needs analyses, curriculum design and production, coursebook writing (ENG101 – English for Academic Purposes 1) & piloting, and curriculum evaluation processes. In 2006 I did teacher training for one term.

My research interests are in curriculum design and evaluation, learning strategies and achievement motivation, educational leadership, organizational dynamics and change, and educational policymaking.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?
Yeşim: To me, teaching (in all academic or non-academic contexts) is more of helping them to inquire into the Whys and Hows than Whats…to grow out of being “recipients” since knowledge is “made” and so political anyway! The greatest challenge in this endeavor, I believe, is the severe tension between the standards and originality J

PDU: What about your personal interests, Yeşim?
Yeşim: I like all forms of abstract visual arts (including especially abstract cinema) and music (jazz, ethnic – ranging from the joiks of the Sami to the lullabies of the Middle East – and classical). Any form of unpopular art indeed.

PDU: Yeşim, let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?
Yeşim: Well, this is a tough question since I find self-definitions quite arbitrary J And also, I am fully convinced that everbody is different (at least in essence); and therefore, nobody is different…

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.
Yeşim: That was the very beginning of my first term, with a group of EE students, at MLD (after a 5-year “devastating” J experience with BUSEL students). They were all so quiet, responsive and attentive, and of course there had to be something wrong J I went like: “OK, forget it, forget the text and everything… and tell me, what’s wrong? Are you scared of me? Are you not comfortable with something? Just speak out… please”JJJ I still remember the effect this weirdest offer of therapeutic proximity created on my luminous EE students!

APRIL

IPEK

Interview with Ipek Bozatli Nalbantoglu

PDU: Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background and interests, and any committee work or departmental duties so far?
İpek: I graduated from METU in 1993 and started teaching at TOMER in 1994. Then, I started working in Yuce College and taught there between 1996-1999. While I was teaching at Yuce College, I was very much interested in teaching English to young learners. After this 3 years of experience, I started teaching at MLD in 1999. In 2003, I attended the MA-TEFL program at Bilkent University. My thesis was on designing rating scales for speaking classes. Maybe that’s why, my favourite course is 211, teaching academic speaking skills. As for departmental work, I was a member of the Eng. 211 syllabus committee between 2003-2006, and was one of the writers of the textbook Academic Oral Presentation Skills which was the previous textbook for our 211 course.

PDU: What does teaching mean to you? If we asked you about your teaching metaphor, what would you say?
İpek: Teaching is the intention to take a road trip to our students’ minds.

PDU: What about your personal interests, İpek?
İpek: Well, I like reading, especially crime novels. I like travelling and doing yoga, as well. Also, I am interested in personal development or anything spiritual.

PDU: İpek, let’s learn more about you. What makes you different? Is there anything interesting about yourself that you’d like to share with us?
İpek:Actually, as I’m interested in spiritual topics and personal development strategies. I can, for instance, offer a list of affirmations – roughly, short positive statements used to manifest change in one’s life – to people who are interested. For example, “I’m surrounded by students who have a burning desire to learn” 🙂 

PDU: Can you share with us the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you at MLD? This might be something funny, something nostalgic or remarkable in any way.
İpek: It was my 1st year at METU. I wanted to practise palm-reading to evaluate a Tanzanian student’s fortune (as a warm-up activity for a text in 101 book). When I said he would marry 8 times (I don’t know why, it just came out!), his face wore a peculiar expression. During the break, he told me that his grandfather who used to be a witch-doctor had asked my student to have eight wives on his deathbed!! Then, of course, it was my turn to get shocked.

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3 thoughts on “5Q5A

  1. It is very interesting and enriching to know about one’s colleaugues. Interviews are quite illuminating and functional in creating social familiarity and intimacy. Thank you!

    Like

  2. Thank you Begumsen hocam for your positive comments…We’ve realized with these interviews that there is so much to learn about and to learn from one-another..And, we’d be very happy to see you as our columnist or interviewee one day 🙂

    Like

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