I spent last weekend in Turkey at the request of EUROCLIO presenting and facilitating workshops with long-time collaborator Nick Dennis. The government of the Netherlands sponsor civil society-related projects in Turkey, one of the things they’re focusing upon being the better teaching of History in Turkish schools.
At the moment, the Turkish government provide textbooks free-of-charge to schools leading to the situation where, in effect, the textbook is the curriculum. The first thing we had to emphasise, therefore, over and above showcasing ICT was that teachers don’t necessarily have to follow what’s in the textbook.
In addition, in the discussion following our presentation we found that the common lesson structure in England of having at least three parts to a lesson (starter, main, plenary) isn’t common practice in Turkey. In our workshops on the days following this discussion we felt the need to model what we meant.
We knew that we weren’t going to be able to touch on every tool we mentioned in our presentation, but including (and explaining the need for) a key question, learning objectives and success criteria, meant we could focus on only four. In addition, whilst the translation was excellent, it necessarily slowed down the natural pace of the workshop.
The Turkish educators also had to lead workshops demonstrating the innovative lessons they have been developing. These were of varying quality. Most that I saw, however, simply needed some tweaking to move them to being focused enquiries. History is a very difficult subject to teach well.
I greatly enjoyed our visit to Kizilcahamam – my first visit to Turkey. It’s a beautiful country with wonderful people. Although it’s a different experience working that being on holiday, it was fantastic to be part of such a worthwhile project and to share good practice with colleagues despite a language barrier. 🙂
You can access our presentation and workshop slides (in Turkish!) at the link below – along with some videos of Nick and I in action:
Short link: http://bit.ly/EUROCLIO