Tag Archives: Education

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While Turkuaz was first opened in 2011 , it is one of the newest (and best) language schools in the city. For newcomers looking for a place to call home and a community in their first few weeks living in Istanbul, this may be the place for you. The school is located in a lovely ground floor apartment in Gumussuyu, 10 minutes from Taksim Square.

There are four classrooms. Classes consist of no more than 6 students. There is coffee and tea awaiting you at every break. There is a lovely woman who cooks and cleans for the school, and teaches you about each dish she prepares (the smells fill the air in the morning. It is impossible to resist). Pamuk, the school’s 18-year-old cat wanders in and out of each classroom (and lap). You quickly feel at home.

The space is bright. The classrooms look out at a garden, and each classroom connects to the balcony. Everything in the school is crisp and clean. There are pictures of Istanbul all over the walls. The teachers are warm, friendly and welcoming.

My Level 1 class consists of a 2 Americans (including myself), a Japanese woman, a German man, a Welsh girl and an Austrian woman. We go out to weekly lunches and share resources on a daily basis.

Quality of Education? The teachers are excellent. While the class is taught primarily in Turkish, the teachers speak simply and slowly. You are given a Turkuaz course book on the first day of school for various reading and writing activities, Additionally, you receive 2-4 pages of homework each night. The first three weeks of class focus on the simple continuous and past tense, in addition to a lot of technical grammar. The main goal of the Introductory course is to expand your vocabulary and give you the basic foundation to learn Turkish.

Originally, I planned to take one course to guide my own Turkish studies, but now I am sold! This class is worth every penny! It is the best language course I have ever taken, and the results are already proven: I am speaking Turkish every chance I get!

Turkuaz: The New Turkish School in Town

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As some of you know, I left the world of Kindergarten English and I am currently attempting to work with professionals to enhance their conversational English. My target is businessmen (and women) and I am excited to begin. I prepared a list of resources to make lesson planning fun and easy.

For all the other English tutors out there, enjoy!

1.) BBC Lesson Plans : Telephone conversations, setting the agenda, polite and professional discussions, etc
2.) One Stop English Lesson :Business English  and grammar lessons, as well as some interesting articles to discuss
3.) Sample Lesson Plans for Conversational Business English Lessons: A wonderful blog with full lesson plans and vocabulary
4.) Time Out: Lesson Plans, Worksheets and short readings from Inside Out’s website
5.) English Club: Vocabulary Lists, Lesson Plans, Topics and Discussion Questions
6.) Biz/ed: A new resource I just discovered. It would be good for clients who want to focus on the technicalities of different parts of the business world.
7.) Intelligent Business: A wonderful resource that designs lessons around an Economist article. It also has some quizzes and other materials that offer a lot of substance for upper-intermediate speakers.
8.) Business English Materials: Lessons surrounding specific company profiles

Business English Tutoring Resources

The Pitfalls of Teaching English at a Private School in Turkey

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Last spring, in a bold move, I announced to school administrators that I did not want to return next year. They were stunned. I was friends with everyone on campus. My classroom and my teaching style were applauded and used as an example for my peers. Parents, administrators and students were happy. However, I was not. I hated almost every moment I spent there. Here is why:

1.) Schools are Businesses: In Turkey, private schools are not established as nonprofits. In fact, it is the very opposite. Schools are founded by businessmen who see schools as profitable business ventures. As a result, schools offer sparkling facilities and impressive technology to lure in their clients. They sell the parents a program that promises English fluency, resources and opportunity, without any real emphasis or value for the individual child or the quality of individual teachers. Additionally, the program is sold, not the curriculum. Thus, the curriculum usually overlooks important tenets of childhood psychology or childhood development. The school sells results. Unfortunately, this produces a curriculum that is developmentally inappropriate for children.  In this system, parents become the client. Thus, parents are told what they want to hear and what they need to think in order to keep the tuition checks coming.  Reports are edited to highlight only the most positive elements of the child. Teachers are censored from discussing behavioral problems and special needs.

2.) Horrible Management: In Turkey, the management structure is very hierarchical. You move into positions of power by supporting the status quo and saying what the management wants to hear. The majority of the management were teachers and lacked a background in management. As a result, the work environment is terribly discouraging. People are seen as disposable. If you do not agree with the curriculum, procedures or policies, you are not valued as an employee. Constructive criticism and suggestions are interpreted as attacks. The staff is disciplined like children. The management talks in a condescending tone. People are singled out and humiliated in meetings. There is no investment in people, or professional development of any kind. Read the rest of this entry