ERG SES E 07, Social Justice and Education
Creating a harmonious and amenable atmosphere in the language classroom is an essential step for peaceful learning. Educating language learners about target culture or international cultures might help to bring out wider perspectives and empathy. Therefore, raising plurilingual and pluricultural individuals should be among the concerns of the language education system. Plurilingual and pluricultural language education were put forward in CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) which was developed by the Council of Europe and officially launched in 2001. CEFR “describes in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively” (Council of Europe, 2001, p.1). It functions as a guide and source to consult while designing coursebooks and syllabi across Europe. Ministry of National Education (MoNE) in Turkey has adopted CEFR as a guideline and arranges language levels in all grades and designs textbooks according to this framework.
Ian Harris (2004) defines the main problem of peace education mostly as emphasizing just ending the war and considering peace as an opposite construct from war. On the other hand, Harris asserts that peace education includes achieving peace while teaching non- violent skills and promoting peaceful attitudes. Thus, it contains five types of education: international education, human rights education, development education, environmental education and conflict resolution skills.
The Fundamental Law of MoNE, especially with their emphasis on first and second law, adopt to teach students peace education components and raise citizens who are sensitive about human rights, culture and the welfare of others. Since the articles are defined in the fundamental law, all courses teaching at schools supervising by MoNE should embrace these basic and fundamental aspects of education. On the other hand, at the English teaching books of 7th graders, there are culturally insensitive examples and photos promoting gender roles such as working male characters, shopping female characters, examples of sultan’s of Ottoman Empire instead of giving examples from other cultures, photos of boys are doing science and girls are playing dolls.
The purpose is this case study is to examine the peace education in English teaching classroom for 7th graders at an elementary school in Bursa. At this stage in the case study, the primary focus is on peace education and will be generally defined in this case study as teaching skills to develop non- violent environmental considering peace as a process to transform conflicts (Harris & Morrison, 2003). The research question of this case study is defined as “What are the most common identified gaps by students and the English language teacher as a key informant in terms of multicultural education in English teaching classrooms?”.
This research is conducted as a qualitative study. This study consists of 60 7th graders and one English teacher in an elementary school because the English teaching case was chosen. Since the specific situation of elementary school in Bursa was examined, it is conducted as a case study. In the scope of this case study, interviews were conducted with the English language teacher as a key informant and six 7th grade-students to understand the phenomenon deeply and in a non- judgmental way. Interviews conducted with each student lasted 15 minutes. Also, the in-depth interview conducted with the English language teacher lasted 40 minutes. Content analysis was used the analyze interviews. Since this study aims to fill the gap between the MoNE’s fundamental law about education and the English teaching practices for 7th graders, English teaching textbooks for 7th graders were examined as well. Students were asked about peace education components in their English teaching class. Thus, it was tried to understand if the fundamental law of MoNe serves its purposes in English teaching practices from the students’ point of view. Also, the English language teacher was interviewed about the phenomena as well. Teacher and the students have a Turkish- speaking background. The school is located in an economically disadvantaged area. Students, teachers and the families of this particular school are defined themselves as Turkish. In the scope of this study, the course book and the course curriculum were examined as well.
As a result of the content analysis, there are three main themes emerged which are definition peace concept, peace education in English teaching classroom environment and using peace education skills in daily life. Activities in the textbook do not include the diversity and respect issues. Data collected from students showed that students do not know about what is peace education. According to the data collected from students and the English teacher stated that it would be very useful for them to learn about peace education components. Also, the teacher discussed that they may have more peaceful classroom atmosphere during the lectures as well. Students also asserted that they need peace education components for their relationship with their peers. If everyone learn about communication and empathy skills, they may be more respectful, understanding and emphatic to each other. English teacher stated that MoNE , for the English teaching practices in Turkey. On the other hand, the teacher also state that they did not do anything special for the adaptation process of this framework. In this program, it is aimed to teach the respect for others and pluricultural education for English teaching classrooms. Thus, the teacher stated that teaching about peace education may pave the way for closing this organizational gap. As a conclusion, it a that components such as pluricultural education, respect for others and empathy of CEFR adopted by MoNE were not applied English teaching classrooms in Turkey. In addition, the teacher indicated that they need peace education components in their classroom to raise culturally aware social agents. Therefore, programs including peace education components should the for English teaching classes in Turkey.
Council of Europe. (2001). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge, U.K: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. Harris, I. (2004). Peace Education Theory. Journal of Peace Education, 1(1), 5-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1740020032000178276 Harris, I., & Morrison, M. (2003). Peace Education (2nd ed.). McFarland Company. Milli Eğitim Temel Kanunu (Fundamental Law of Ministry of Education). (1973). T.C. Resmi Gazete, 14574, 24 Haziran 1973.
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