01 SES 04 A, Models for Change and Pedagogical Diagnostics
In the early nineteenth century, several scholars and intellectuals like Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, John Dewey etc ... created innovative educational school concepts which were later called the progressive education movement, and today Barz shows Fethullah Gülen (b. 1938), a Turkish Islamic scholar, as a new player in Progressive Education . According to Barz, Gülen created a new pedagogical concept which combines the return to the great Islamic educational tradition with modern scientific education. In his concept, in addition to religious and scientific components, the emphasis on the teacher as a role model plays a decisive role . In practice, the Gülen schools have developed a wide range of extracurricular offers, such as special lessons for weaker students, psychological advice and coaching, or participation in national and international competitions (mathematic Olympics, among others.) .
Gülen’s educational movement, the so-called Gülen movement or Hizmet (Service) movement, founded private education institutions, like tutorial centers, universities and schools, which are named as Gülen Inspired Schools later  and they have achieved remarkable success in the private education sector of Turkey . Throughout the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1990-91 and the independence of Central Asian Republics, the movement founded its first schools outside of Turkey in these newborn Central Asian Republics. After roughly 2000 different Gülen inspired educational institutions were expanded to the whole world. However, after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, Fethullah Gülen and his movement were labelled as a Terror organization by the Erdogan regime and, only in Turkey, 2,213 private schools and private (tutorial) courses, 1,005 dormitories and boarding houses and 22 universities and affiliated hospitals were forfeited because of their affiliation with the movement . Despite this situation, according to unofficial statistics today, there are more than a thousand GISs running in different parts of the world .
In this study Barz’s approach is investigated empirically and questioned whether Gülen inspired schools could be counted as a new progressive education model or not. Therefore, initially in this study, the researcher aimed to explain why Gülen inspired schools are different in comparison to other standard schools and if his educational concept belongs to Progressive Education, and questioned what kind of contribution these schools make to the educational sciences. How different Gülen inspired schools in Europe, Africa and the USA realized Gülen’s educational concept and how the experts see his educational concept is also observed in the field study.
The role of Gülen and his movement in these schools are another side of the coin. It was observed in the field study that none of these schools teaches Gülen’s philosophy or any subject related to the movement and according to different studies there is no direct official connection between GISs and Fethullah Gülen . Similarly, religion classes, in this case “Islam”, are taught depending on the local conditions and vary from one country to another . However, according to detractors of the movement, this is a conspiracy and Gülen and his movement use this strategy to hide their secret agenda . Besides, depending on the same approach, these type of schooling is only a shield to protect several activities of the movement like gaining political power , financial sources , expanding Turkish language  and culture recruiting new followers  etc ...
Therefore, Gülen’s approach to education, how he influenced these schools, why they were founded, if they did not expand Gülen’s philosophy and what is the goal of these schools worldwide are questioned under the shadow of the mentioned critiques in this paper.
In addition to content analysis, a qualitative research method was selected in the field study to understand this controversial subject . The main reason for this choice is the research questions which are based on "How" questions. Besides, the unique structure of the Gülen Movement and the lack of research about the Gülen inspired schools also play an important role in this choice In the data collection part, only the "expert interview" method is available because of the controversial structure of the subject. However, the expert interview method fits very well with this research which helps the researcher to collect high-quality data. Participants of this study could be categorized into four groups. In the first group, nine school managers (3 in the U.S., 3 in Europe, and 3 in Africa) in six different countries of the world were visited and interviewed. The reason behind the selection of these regions is the sustainable conditions of the GISs which helps the researcher to get reliable data. The second group (3 Experts) is members of the Gülen Movement as an insider who participated in different projects of the movement for many years. The third group (3 Experts) is the scholars or journalists outside of the movement who have a neutral-positive approach to the movement. The last group (3 Experts) consists of experts who have a skeptical approach and criticize the movement from different aspects. In total, there were 18 structured expert interviews, which enables the comparison of different thoughts and understandings. Besides, the researcher conducted a countless number of talks and discussions with teachers, parents, and students of these schools. All data were collected by face-to-face semi-structured interviews which are recorded and transcribed so that detailed analyses can be easily carried out . Mainly because of the actual situation of the movement, the researcher of the study decided to anonymize all the participants’ names. In the data analysis part, the Maxqda program was used because of its special features and availability, and Gläser and Laudel’s procedures were followed . Besides, the researcher of the study practiced five general criteria for qualitative researchers which Mayring explained in his book, such as procedural documentation, rule structured construction, argumentative interpretation assurance, proximity to the object and communicative validity . Conducting the field study in the mentioned three continents and having only one data collection method available for the research are several important limitations of the study.
The results show that unlike the other progressive education models, the education model of the Gülen Movement depends on reforming the management of a traditional education system, instead of reforming teaching or pedagogy. In Gülen’s approach, the traditional system is not enough, which other scholars like Montessori and Steiner also said before, however, unlike them, this insufficient system could be developed and transformed by eliminating negative parts and adding several missing parts. Therefore, on the teaching level, GISs practice standard lectures in the local curriculum or use a main book in their classes, as all other traditional schools do, but on the management level, it was observed that the followers of the movement enrich the traditional educational system in six expansion points such as combining their unique education philosophy, student-based education, highlighting global moral values, applying teacher development programs, contributing local environment and conducting quality management activities. Related to this topic, it was also observed that GISs have a crucial position in the Gülen movement and the followers of the movement are very professional in private schooling depending on their more than five-decade-long history. As a consequence, this kind of secular science-based education empowers the movement and increased its prestige, which also brings financial resources, political reputation, expanding their culture, and gaining new followers but it is difficult to say that it is the sole goal of Gülen and the movement. Instead, it was observed in the field study that the movement focused all it is power on one point: a good education of new generations and this will cause a pragmatic win-win trade between the movement and the host countries.
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