A General Investigation of the In-Service Training of English Language Teachers at Elementary Schools in Turkey

By Koç, Ebru Melek | International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, March 2016 | Go to article overview

A General Investigation of the In-Service Training of English Language Teachers at Elementary Schools in Turkey


Koç, Ebru Melek, International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education


Introduction

'Continuousness' is the basic concept underlying 'lifelong education.' High-quality education is based on teacher quality, and 'continuousness' is one of the most important factors in teacher training. 'Continuous Professional Development-CPD' consists of four similar parts: 1) pre-service or initial teacher education; 2) in-service teacher training (INSET); 3) further education; and 4) vocational training/education, which is the underlying principle of 'lifelong education' (ECA, 2006, p.7). The constant vocational training that takes place during teacher training is categorized as either pre-service or after-service. Studies indicate that the pre-service teacher-training programs are inadequate to provide a sufficient set of skills (Can, 2005; Lucas & Unwin, 2009). Thus, teachers need INSET to fill in the gaps from pre-service training and for continuous professional development, which keep teachers up-to-date throughout their careers with respect to the skills required in a contemporary knowledge-based society.

Ryan (1987) mentions that INSET refers to any type of activities such as courses, and seminars related to the job. In this sense, any kind of teacher training activities such as short courses, seminars, workshops, certificate/diploma programs and postgraduate programs, which result in professional development of teachers, are regarded as a part of INSET.

INSET in Turkey

INSET varies significantly from one country to another because each country has its own policies. In Turkey, the first organized INSET began in 1960 with the establishment of the 'Office of Training Teachers on the Job' in the Ministry of Education (ME). This office became the 'Department of In-Service Training' in 1975, but the centre was only able to provide training to a limited number of teachers because of financial difficulties and inadequate office space. The Ministry of Education has combined the approaches of the local and central administrations and since 1993, it has continued to provide a practical in-service teacher-training program for large groups of people. Since 1993, central in-service trainings in Turkey have been conducted by the Ministry of Education's Department of In - Service Teacher Training, and local trainings have been conducted by the Provincial Directorates for National Education (PDNE). The training activities are arranged cooperatively by the ME and the PDNE and are conducted face-to-face, either centrally or locally. A current list of the INSET courses (in Turkish) is presented on the official page of ME (edb.meb.gov.tr/net/_standart_program/index.php?dir=Standart+Programlar%2F). In-service training seminars are arranged by taking the location of the teachers into consideration. The duration of the courses can vary, but they generally last for approximately 25 to 120 hours. The courses are led by instructors at the ME or PDNE; instructors from nearby universities occasionally deliver the lectures. The content of each course is determined by the instructor. At the end of the activity, the participants are asked to fill an evaluation or feedback form.

It is important to note that INSET refers to any in-service teacher training activities organized by ME and PDNE.

INSET for English language teachers

Turkey, has been implementing educational reforms for years. Recently, a radical change called 4+4+4 was introduced to the Turkish education system. This new system, aims to divide the educational system into three main periods (primary/secondary/high school), increase the compulsory education period to the average established in EU and OECD countries and provide higher quality education. This new system has also been accompanied by new reforms in the teaching of foreign languages, such as starting foreign language learning at an early age, specifically, at the primary school level. This change has increased the importance of not only 'teaching English as a foreign language' but also the 'quality of English-language teachers. …

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