Turkish Language and Literature Education in Turkey (Brief History-Problems-Recommendations)

By Beyreli, Latif | Education, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Turkish Language and Literature Education in Turkey (Brief History-Problems-Recommendations)


Beyreli, Latif, Education


The purpose of this study is to seek a solution to the problem by approaching the matter as to how to provide language and literature education, which is still a debatable matter in Turkey, from a historical dimension. In an attempt to be able to offer a diachronic insight into the matter based on the fact that the right and wrong applications of the past created the current structure, all curricula from the first to the last were compared to reveal the general characteristics of the Turkish national education system (within the framework of the language and literature curricula).

The 84-year past of language and literature education in Turkey, also including the Republican period, covers a long development process, which was sometimes troublesome and controversial. Because of frequent changes in curricula and differing textbooks by specific periods, this period requires special investigation in many aspects. Furthermore, particularly because of the wide scope of the language education from primary education through the secondary and higher education, and even because of its structure that also partially relates to pre-school education, it will be examined to a limited extent in this study. Because dealing with the whole adventure, which covers a period of almost 100 years, of the literature and particularly the language education that is related to some other courses and disciplines due to that wide scope, would exceed the limits of this paper, the brief history of the Turkish language and literature education and related problems will be dealt with on the basis of the high school curricula.

According to the Basic Law of National Education, the aim of all acts and activities based on the legislation relating to education, teaching and administration activities is to bring up the human type specified in the objectives of the Turkish national education (Araz, 1998). As a problem, the education built upon the foundation of bringing up "good" people has been one of the indispensable areas of interest of almost all societies from the past to the present. The aggregate of all activities, which are implemented by nations to transfer their cultural heritages to future generations and to bring them up as good citizens and good people according to generally accepted criteria, is generally called education. By transferring some values that would help them survive to new generations through education, societies, in one sense, secure their own futures, and thus ensure their continuity. Therefore, primary education represents a compulsory participation in all societies. Then, producing values that would ensure continuity of societies, preventing extinction of existing values, and associating the ways of life of people and societies with these values can be possible through education (Balci, 2002; Yetis, 1997). In this case, positioned in the focal point of a series of activities such as producing, maintaining and transferring to future generations the social values in the narrower sense and universal values in the wider sense, the education also assists development of social reflexes, thus assumes an important role in transformation from "community" to "society". Literature is also a branch of the fine arts, and according to Moran (Moran, 1988), with this aspect, it approximates human beings to each other by educating and arousing good feelings in them.

Bringing up individuals in accordance with specific norms exhibits a constant structure that begins in the family and continues in the school life in an organic and systematic way.

As one of the fundamental human rights, education is a field of activity based on language. When we consider the fact that one of the social functions of language and literature is conveyance of the culture, education of this field gains more and more importance.

Language and literature education has basic functions such as conveying students to a universe of rich feelings and thoughts, and improving this universe through comprehension and communication skills. …

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