The “Pin and Join in” board in the teachers’ lounge is a “tangible” pin board on which, we, as PDU, intend to post questions and hope to see house responses. As our online MLD Bulletin Board
is mainly saved for academic sharings, we may choose to reserve the “Pin and Join in” board mainly for sharing more personal
This month we asked our dear instructors to propose one question that they’d like to see on the “Pin&Join in” board. We have received 8 very interesting responses. We’d like to thank those colleagues who have supported us with the idea.
What are the questions? Well, you’ll see them on the “Pin and Join in” Board 🙂
This word cloud is formed by your responses and shows how we feel at the beginning of the semester. We wish everyone a happy term!
Our university is becoming more culturally diverse every semester and METU Strategic Plan has, therefore, placed much emphasis on integration of international students into the social and academic environment. This may encourage us to see our classrooms as “a place of intersection and combination which harbors enormous educational potential” (Schwieger, Gros, & Barberan, 2010).
This mini survey has analyzed the overall attitudes of MLD instructors towards having culturally diverse classrooms. The results below generally indicate that we generally have a positive attitude towards having international students though some of us have reported to have issues regarding how to approach them. We may consider having a sharing session on how to make the best of this cultural diversity in our classes. As a quick remedy, we also post an article below the graphics in case you may want to read about cultural diversity in language classrooms.
Please click here to see the article “Lessons From the Culturally Diverse Classroom: Intellectual Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching in the American University”
MARCH – APRIL 2017
Merriam Webster’s Learner Dictionary (2017) defines myths as ” idea[s]… that [are] believed by many people but that [are] not true”. This month, we wanted to learn if some knowledge you’ve acquired or experience you’ve gained in time helped you discover myths about teaching.
Here are the responses we received:
|Teaching skill is innate.||I think teaching can be learned. Though some people do have a talent for expressing ideas and understanding what people are having difficulty with, these can be learned through practice. Seeing good models, reflecting upon one’s teaching and how it can be improved, experimenting, gaining experience through trial and error, getting and using feedback all improve this complicated skill.|
|Practice makes perfect.||Not really…. If you practice the wrong thing, it may even make things worse. For instance, if a student mispronounces the word ‘variable’, the more he/ she repeats it, the more fossilized the mistake becomes.|
|Teaching is a craft||Teaching is an art|
|Exams are necessary||It is my belief that grading students’ performance does not have any effect on their learning|
|Students learn the best when I am in front of them, on the stage, by lecturing.||This is a myth proved with my own experience.:) For years, I tried very hard to attract their attention to the topic. I tried to give input in “different, interesting” ways. Now, I realize that giving input was a huge burden on my shoulders. Instead, I now, group them for almost anything. As long as there is info. gap in the group and each of them in the group has a different role and purpose, they stick to the task. They feel that they are obliged to do that… for the sake of their group:)|
|Lang teaching is full of myths! Mesela earlier the exposure to second language, the better.||I’ve seen many people who have native or native like foreign lang proficiency who started learning a second language after pubertiy.|
|Extended reading helps learners to develop their reading skills||It is true for conscious learners. I do not believe the majority of “our” learners are that conscious and willing to get the benefit out of such an important activity|
|Practice makes perfect||Perfect practice makes it perfect|
|Midterms and quizzes motivate learners to learn.||I believe that assessment tools like quizzes and midterms do not encourage learning. On the contrary, they are tools that block the way between the processes of teaching and learning. When students feel threatened, they lose their willingness to learn. I feel that an education system free of such assessment tools would be a utopia where real learning would take place.|
|Motivation x 2||Impatience|
|Rapport with students x 4||Impatience|
|Time||Tendency to be disorganised|
|Interest||Teacher talk time x 5|
|Empathy x 2||Use of technology x 3|
|Being a fun teacher||Reluctance to be doing the same with everyone else|
|My limitless energy to present||Impatience|
|Enthusiasm x 2||Getting lost in details|
|Positive vibes||Not being much fun|
|Love of teaching||Not having enough variety of activities|
|Experience x 2||I find lecturing easy but students find it boring|
|Being innovative||We think like “memur”s. There is a certain laziness to our approach to work|
|Strong communication with students||Teacher listening-in a more structured manner creating opportunuties for spontaneous language production|
|Sense of humour||Delaying responsibilities|
|Experience||Designing and executing speaking tasks|
|Being friendly||Delaying responsibilities|
|Adaptability x 2|
|My enthusiasm for teaching x 2|
|Awareness of students’ needs and catering for them|
|Loving my job|
|Theory & Practical Experience|
|Lots of genuinely talented people|
|Following new development|
|Organized programmes bringing in innovation|
|Being approachable and flexible in teaching|
|Caring about students and their progress|
|Involving students in decision making concerning classroom activities|
|Lesson planning & improvising trying new things|
|Technology||Workload x 3|
|Offices||(Being) easily disillusioned|
|Friendly circle||Decreasing reception level of students|
|Having skilled students of METU||Unrealistically heavy schedule|
|Autonomy x 3||Deadlines|
|Good student profile||Number of papers to be graded|
|Being a METU instructor||Quick decisions|
|METU students x 3||Unrealistic suggestions|
|Knowledge of literature||Lowered ethical values in general, politics, students, teachers|
|High reception level of students||Time constraints|
|Working at METU x 2||Burnout|
|Peaceful Campus||Students’ workload|
|Inspiring colleagues||Terror x 3|
|Open to feedback-change||AKP|
|Valuable ideas of colleagues||Grade concerns|
|Supportive||Worries of the students|
|Giving courses that haven’t been given before||Trying to do & teach a lot of things in a limited time which causes stress for us.|
|Because of our deep pedagogical knowledge and related awareness of what needs to be changed to teach out students what they need to know, we could do that (in terms of objectives, speaking and methods/materials)||Real outside threats, bombs, power cuts, several insecurity|
|A lot of research opportunities to improve myself academically, professionally||We don’t like to change. That is a problem to which a creative solution needs to be developed and aggressively implemented.|
|Proud to be at METU & teaching here||The feeling that you cannot do enough|
|Reputation of the university|
|Online teacher training courses|
|The close relationship we have here in this department|
|Adding/bringing things I like to the class|
|Working with people eager to develop their teaching|
Our beliefs as teachers play a significant role in determining our teaching philosophy. And the teaching philosophy we adopt is critical in shaping the position we have in the classroom. What kind of an approach do you have towards your students and towards the teaching profession? What role do you think you play in the classroom? How should your students act in the classroom? What classroom practices do you implement to foster this type of in-class behaviour? How do you like to be taught? And do you teach in that way? Who do you think is the ideal teacher? Are you close to that figure in terms of your approach and practices as a teacher?
These are some of the questions one might raise to think over her/his teaching philosphy.
And how do MLD instructors define their teaching philosophy? Below are the responses we got for this issue’s survey:
- I teach in the way that I thought I learned best as a student myself. I hated quiet and very serious classes. That’s why there has to be humour and fun in my class at all times. I bet all teachers teach in that way- the way they enjoyed learning when they were students themselves. Is this a disadvantage for our students (that we teach in the way that we enjoyed learning ourselves)? Some may think yes since everyone has their own way of learning. However, if you were a gifted and talented student who is a teacher today, there’s a high chance that your tastes and your students’ tastes will match. Gifted minds think alike.
- To be able to arouse a feeling in student to see value in what we cover in class
- Being energetic and enthusiastic in every minute of your classroom presence and not losing the sense of humour by creating a fun environment that vibrates through each student. After creating that relaxing and amusing environment, it is guaranteed to effect the minds and teach the skills that student will remember all through their lives.
- I try to teach the way I would like to be taught
- Learning happens through doing and practice and reflecting on that so teaching must provide opportunity and reason to do, practice and reflect. I try to provide students with these, not just by providing the opportunities but also by showing them that they can, how they can and why as well. This requires addressing some prejudices about learning, their capacity, or the topic as well. I also try to bring them up to the standards rather than lowering them so that they are aware of what is expected in real life.
- I don’t think I teach. What I do is to facilitate students’ language and skills practice. I try to do that in a way that neither my students nor I get bored.
- There’s no end to learning. Teaching is an ongoing learning opportunity.
- While I try to make the students be aware of what language is’ I communicate with them so that there is a “give and take” process
- Learners are in the center of my teaching. I try hard to make sure that all my students benefit from attending class no matter how different they are in terms of their language skills, personal opinions, social preferences, etc. I try to learn about their needs and interests. I design my classes very carefully to cater to their varying needs and interests. I try to show them that I respect my job and them.
- By the pupil, for the pupil
- Teaching and learning are intertwined, that’s basically how I see the whole process. In that regard, I see the classroom (and beyond) as an environment where an infinite number of interactions take place for both learning and teaching on the part of the teacher and the learners. This being my perspective, I see my classrooms composed of learners (students) and the Learner (myself); capital letter L for me because 1. I’m more experienced in learning in most cases (or so I think), 2. whether some may like it or not, I’ve been given the authority to manage learning in that particular class, and 3. I’m the oldest in most cases ?? So I like to think of my classes as democratic entities where authority of the Learner is acknowleged by hopefully a vast majority and where participants feel comfortable and emotionally and mentally prepared to engage in this infinite journey of learning, happy to be on the same boat as others – otherwise, I believe, chances of “effective learning” would be rather low..
As a means of continuous professional development, it is well known that action research is one of the best tools to understand, evaluate, and reflect on classroom practices. The mini survey this month aimed at seeing the tendencies of MLD members as regards this tool of inquiry. The graph below introduces how many of the responders conducted some kind of action research in their classes:
(You may click on the graph to see a larger image)
While 15 of the responders reported that they had conducted some kind of action research,14 participants reflected that they had never tried any action research in their classes.
The study areas of the action research done in our department are reported as follows:
- Teacher and Student Talk Time
- Literature Research Workshop to create an awareness about integrating research material into an oral presentation
- Peer feedback
- Vocabulary Learning Strategies
- Extensive reading & critical thinking
- Classroom discourse
- Dealing with writing problems
- Classroom management
- Interaction patterns in classroom
- Participation patterns of learners and the teacher
- Used Toefl reading and listening diagnostic tests to measure if any change occurs during the term 🙂 We also measured student uptake of teacher feedback to essays with Filiz Etiz.
- Second Language Writing
- Teacher feedback
PDU would be grateful if you would be willing to share your action research on the bulletin board. Please contact us if you think you have some ideas that we can be inspired by. Thank you…
(To learn more about action research and to see some helpful templates, you can visit the article page.)
There were 29 responders for this survey. The most frequently visited page is the “Results of the Mini Survey”. A surprising result was that %14,3 of the responders never visited the pages “Action Research of the Month”, “Web Tool of the Month” and “A Blast from the Past”.
We, whole-heartedly, expect to see a rising trend in the reading frequencies of the pages..Thank you..
Here we have the results of this month’s survey. The list below includes the messages, implications, suggestions, remarkable sentences or ideas, or solutions that we remember from the concurrent or plenary sessions held in MLD Talks 5.
- Do not spend time with people who always complain or talk about their problems
- We can incorporate character education to our courses.
- Learning management systems can be integrated into our teaching.
- Character education for both teacher and student should be permanent 🙂
- Teachers’ jobs are not at risk from technology but an avalanche is coming.
- Think outside the box
- Get out of your box
- Change is inevitable 🙂
- Students have difficulty in getting outside the borders of academic norms while writing.
- We should give more importance to vocabulary development of our students
- Keep up with technology or you will lose your students’ interest
- That the amount of information is increasing exponentially, at a rate much higher than we can ever imagine
- There is one “voice” in students’ writings.
- We need to adapt our teaching to changing times
And some feedback:
- I both enjoyed it and benefitted from it. Thank you and ellerinize saglık.
- Apart from the plenary speaker’s time management, I can’t remember any real problem.
- Attendance- people seem to be reluctant to attend.
- It is always the same people presenting. Maybe the next survey of the month could be “Why have you never presented anything at any MLDTalk”?
- Apples were really fresh 🙂
As we will soon be done with grading and school work, we thought we might be looking for books to read during the semester break. So we asked for your suggestions and thanks to you, we compiled a rich list of wonderful books…Below is a list of books suggested by the MLD family:
- The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Suggested by 2 colleagues)
- The God Formula
- The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
- Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcer
- Nietzsche Ağladıgında
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
- The Sense of an Ending
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- The Longman Guide to Writing Center Theory and Practice by Barnett and Blumner
- Fi – Çi – Pi
- Satranç by Stefan Zweig
- The Compass: Route to Academic English
- Başarıya Götüren Aile
- Freedom to Learn by Carl Rogers and H. Jerome Freiberg
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- Replay by Ken Grimwood (Suggested by 2 colleagues)
- Patasana by Ahmet Ümit
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- New ways in Teaching Vocabulary
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
- The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
- Tutunamayanlar by Oğuz Atay
The new year is approaching, and it is now time to make resolutions. Here is the list of new year’s resolutions pinned by the MLD members…
Please click on the boards below to see a larger image of the results:
The “mini survey” section on our bulletin board has received interesting and exciting data this month. 3 words to describe MLD…Let’s see what we have all come up with. The list below which we believe will keep you thinking for some time, shows the responses we’ve got:
- bridge (our languages serve as a …)/ diversity / modesty (our resources compared to other depts.)
- tradition, freedom, support
- tranquility, family, joy
- comfort zone, professionalism, warmth
- empathy, understanding, freedom
- language, skills, ambition
- involvement, student’s participation, exchange
- peace,training,essay 🙂
- professionalism, caring and sharing, seniority!
- tradition, autonomy, prestige
- idealistic, peaceful, sacrifice
- friends habits home
- professional, progressive, English (sorry other language teachers:) )
- artık özüne dönmeli
- home..good friends .. good students..
- trust, spirit, peace
- professional, peaceful, motivating
- allegiance, homey, excellence
- professional, perfectionist, over-ambitious
- professionalism, friends, home
- automomy, seniority
- warmth, essays, friendship
- professionalism, efficiency, empathy
- painstaking hardworking culture
- commitment, productivity, home
- engagement, office hours, fun
The bar graph below shows whether MLD members are interested in contributing to the pages or posts on our bulletin board “We, Together”. The “sad” picture will hopefully change someday. Maybe, we rather like to read the pages than to create them.
And now, we see the promising statistics which show the pages that MLD members prefer to contribute to. Thank you..This is our space…Anything is welcome. An article you find worth reading, an activity you like implementing, any web tool you believe to be life-saving..Or..a memory or idea you like to share. We will host on our blog any kind of idea or material you would want to publish. Please contact PDU and book your space on the bulletin board!
The bar graph below demonstrates the expectation of MLD members from PDU. Inviting speakers, organizing workshops and sharing sessions will be given priority when setting the agenda for the next semester. Thank you for your valuable feedback and contribution.
– seminars on psychology and educational psychology (regarding student and teacher psychology)
– seminars on communication with new generation
– out-of-town activities and trips
This bulletin board will surive only when “we, together” contribute to the pages..Thank you for your feedback. The bar graph below shows how much the pages or posts on our bulletin board were liked by the MLD family. We can infer that we prefer reading more about practical ideas..We will think about it, and will try to add such posts more in the future..
The following pie-chart shows whether we are willing to attend discussion sessions regarding the posts and activities on the bulletin board. Although it seems that we are not much eager to do that, the statistics clearly show how busy we are as we are all reading papers and evaluating presentations. This is how researchers discuss on the findings 🙂 🙂
This pie-chart shows how instructors working in MLD pursue their own paths of professional development.
*Other; “responding to evaluation requests by writing out my responses”, “sharing good practice or activities that “work” well” and “in class experimentation”.