10 SES 13 A, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
The Turkish Referencing Report, designed based on Turkey’s Qualifications Framework, became official after the approval of the Advisory Board of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) on March 29-30, 2017. Accordingly, the general competencies for teaching profession were updated and put into practice. It is stated that the up-to-date qualifications are comprised of three interrelated competency domains; (i) professional knowledge, (ii) professional skills, and (iii) attitudes and values, and 11 competencies and 65 indicators that are related to these domains. These qualifications are reported to address to the following areas: (i) pre-service teacher training, (ii) teacher employment, (iii) teacher induction process, (iv) self-evaluation, (v) performance evaluation, (vi) career development and rewarding, and (vii) continuing professional development. The qualifications in concern were announced on the official website of the Ministry of National Education (MoNE). In line with these developments, teacher training programmes which were reportedly re-designed with the contributions of various stakeholders were updated by the Turkish Council of Higher Education in March 2018, and put into practice by the faculties of education throughout the country in the subsequent academic year. English as a foreign language teacher training programme was no exception in that regard. The up-to-date programme primarily includes three groups of courses offered and the relevant course contents: (i) professional knowledge courses, (ii) field-specific training courses, and (iii) world knowledge courses. Each group consists of compulsory and optional courses throughout eight semesters. To the best of the researchers’ knowledge, no study has previously explored the above-mentioned programme in terms of its strengths and weakness. Hence, in order to bridge the research gap, the current research was set out to report on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the newly introduced EFL teacher training programme, namely through SWOT analysis.
Data were compiled from EFL Teacher Training Programme designed by the Council of Higher Education in Turkey, and announced on the official website of the directorate of education affiliated to the council in 2018. A total of 50 compulsory courses (professional knowledge: 16; field-specific training: 26 & world knowledge: 8) and a pool of 53 optional courses (professional knowledge: 22; field-specific training: 13 & world knowledge: 18) were evaluated using SWOT analysis, a technique for understanding a process or project’s strengths and weaknesses, and for identifying both the opportunities and possible threats that it may face (Hill & Westbrook, 1997). It mainly focused on simultaneous analysis of the course list and course contents by the researchers. The expert opinion was obtained from three faculty members with an in-depth specialization in curriculum and instruction.
Based on the overall research findings, extensive integration of the compulsory professional knowledge and world knowledge courses into the programme was identified as strength of the programme while the decline in the number of field-specific training courses throughout eight semesters was identified as one of its weaknesses. That the institutions of higher education are allowed to propose optional courses to be integrated into the programme could be evaluated as an opportunity whereas that English seems restricted to field-specific training courses as the medium of instruction revealed one of the most significant threats of the programme. The study will discuss the findings in detail and attempt to provide possible solutions to overcome the identified threats. All in all, it is hoped to provide an insight for designers of EFL teacher education programmes and practitioners in higher education, and conclude with a couple of suggestions for further directions.
Hill, T. & Westbrook, R. (1997). SWOT analysis: it's time for a product recall. Long Range Planning, 30, 46-52.
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