Foreign language education policy in practice: English as a foreign language instruction at a public high school in Turkey

Yeni Palabıyık, Pınar
The main aim of this study was to investigate the alignment between English-as-a-foreign-language instruction implemented at a public high school and the explicit policies set for teaching English at the macro-level. In particular, the classroom-level realization of the instructional policy was examined. A qualitative case study was adopted as a research design. Junior year students and their English-as-a-foreign-language teachers were the participants. Using ethnographic methods, data were gathered through field notes, observations, interviews, and documents. Overall, findings suggested a discrepancy between policy and practice in teaching English. Macro-level policy documents conveyed communicative language teaching and the learner-centered approach as the leading features of intended instruction. According to the policy instruments, characteristics of desired instruction involved the eclectic approach and communicative language teaching as the leading method. However, the field data demonstrated that though a few principles of desired instruction were achieved, traditional transmissive modes of teaching and learning dominated the classroom-level practices. The interpretation of the findings indicated a lack of alignment between desired and realized instruction. Top-down policy implementation, the impact of teachers‘ beliefs on their instructional practices, several challenges emerging in instructional policy implementation as well as language learners and their language learning practices were found to be effective in the realization of instructional policy. The study has implications for instructional policymaking and practice for teaching English-as-a-foreign-language in Turkish public high schools, as well as in-service teacher training and pre-service teacher education. Additionally, this study has implications for conceptual, theoretical, and methodological dimensions of instructional policy alignment.


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Citation Formats
P. Yeni Palabıyık, “Foreign language education policy in practice: English as a foreign language instruction at a public high school in Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.