Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head
In 2008 I was living in Istanbul and really wanting to leave. I was bored, not sure why I was there, in a relationship that the unfolding future of terrified me and not really working enough to have a sense of purpose. The only good thing was writing for Time Out Istanbul which was enough to keep me there. I should have left at that point but I kept not deciding to. Big mistake.
Anyway, one of the things I did to give myself something to focus on was start to develop a course and materials for teaching Turkish. It wasn’t that my Turkish was good enough to teach anyone, but my teaching was a hundred times superior to the available dershanes (academies).
I’d attended two courses – both APPALLINGLY, scarringly bad. I never got the impression there was anything better than them on offer. The quality of tuition was especially painful and galling for me because I had TEFL training and ideas about how learning best occurs:
I can’t say I learnt nothing because I did, mostly just through the fact that being a beginner is the easiest place to see progress from, partly because I organised my notes into something meaningful and memorised vocabulary along with little mnemonics for that purpose. Turkish is unintelligible through guesswork compared with Latin based languages so you have to create tricks.
For example (God, this list reminds me I am a geek!):
I knew I could do better in designing a course so I began to design a 20 lesson beginner course that would also work for people like me that weren’t true beginners but who couldn’t speak because their heads had been filled with grammar and every sentence had to be built from scratch, word by suffix loaded word.
I abandoned it because I got bored and didn’t have enough Turkish and because the next step was finding a venue, advertising for customers (that would have been easy) and finding a teacher (and maybe co-writer) that would do exactly what I told them in my lesson plans. I couldn’t face the hassle of all that; running a business is just not where my interests lie. But drawing up the syllabus and making materials – that was the beginnings of an interest in making what was out there better and today means I am making inroads into the professional side of that in EFL.
I just remembered all this stuff is here on my laptop. I’m putting it up with a HUGE, bigger than HUGE, MONSTROUS caveat…it’s going to have lots of mistakes in it. I never got as far as finding a Turkish teacher to proofread it for me. Methodology wise, it has not been directly tested out in a classroom either.It’s not complete so many lessons would need finishing/making.
I put it here as a kickstart to anyone that might be interested in taking it further or just running their own classes with a collective of people who’ve reached saturation point with all that grammar being forcefed into them in the crappy language schools. You could use the materials just as practice sessions and correct each other, or hell, sod the mistakes, at least you’re speaking which, in my experience, was not part of the Turkish classes I paid for. If you do either, I only ask that you’re open about where the material came from and, if you can be bothered, you correct errors and send the files back to me or let me know how the course so far works out for you.
If you want to take it on and finish it, drop me a line, we can be joint authors.
Syllabus/course outline syllabus plan
Lesson 2 lesson 2
Lesson 4 Lesson 4
Lesson 5 (incomplete) lesson 5
Lesson 6 (very incomplete) lesson 6
Lesson 7 (very incomplete)lesson 7
Lesson 8 (very, very incomplete) lesson 8
Lesson 9 (no plan, only Target Vocab) lesson 9
Lesson 10 (Target vocab and dialogue only, no plan) lesson 10
Lesson 11 (Target vocab, very incomplete) Lesson 11
Lesson 12 (no plan, only Target Vocab) lesson 12
Lesson 13 (so incomplete it is barely an outline!) lesson 13
Lesson 14 (ideas and partial lesson plan) lesson 14
Lesson 15 & 16 – not even started
Lesson 17 (dialogue for half lesson only , no plan) Lesson 17
Lesson 18 (dialogue for half lesson only, no plan) Lesson 18
Lesson 19 & 20 – not even started