Teacher effectiveness in initial years of service : a case study on the graduates of metu foreign language education program

Şallı-Çopur, Deniz
Since English has risen as the dominant language in the world, the demand for English language teachers has grown rapidly especially in the last three decades. Hence, English language teacher education has become an important concern in the Turkish national education system, which has forced the governments to implement a series of reforms. One of these was the Foreign Language Education (FLE) curriculum designed by the Higher Education Council (HEC), forwarded to all FLE departments in Turkish universities to be carried out starting from 1998-99. This curriculum was also used for pre-service English language teacher education in the Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University (METU). However, a large scale evaluation study was not conducted on the effectiveness of the program or the competence of its graduates. This study primarily aimed at reaching the FLE graduates from 2002 to 2006 to investigate to what extent they perceive themselves competent as EFL teachers and to what extent they find the FLE program components successful in helping them gain these competencies. Besides, it also intended to reach the employers of FLE graduates to explore how competent these graduates are viewed and how successful METU FLE program is considered in serving its graduates gain teacher competencies. For this aim quantitative and qualitative data were collected through two graduate questionnaires, and graduate and elite employer interviews. The findings of the first graduate questionnaire revealed that the FLE graduates perceived themselves competent in most of HEC’s competence areas, while the open-ended questionnaire items and interview data demonstrated a need for improvement for competencies of language knowledge, spoken use of English, classroom management, assessment and instruction. It was also seen in these two types of data that graduates’ perception of their strengths and weaknesses in HEC’s foreign language teacher competencies and their need for developing other competencies depend on the level they teach, the type of school they work at and the length of experience they have. Similarly, some of the employers, according to the institution where they have elite positions, indicated a high level of satisfaction with the FLE graduates’ competence in language and subject knowledge, inclass and out-of class competencies, while some of them emphasized a need for improvement in competencies of language knowledge and use, and putting theory into practice. In addition, although the program was reported to have a strong and positive role on the development of professional competencies in the teacher candidates, it was also stated that the five components and some courses of the program need revisions in terms of their content, methodology of instruction and assessment. Moreover, the need for communication among the components of the program was also expressed, as the graduates mention unnecessary overlaps among some courses. In the light of these findings, some suggestions are made towards program improvement.


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Citation Formats
D. Şallı-Çopur, “Teacher effectiveness in initial years of service : a case study on the graduates of metu foreign language education program,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2008.