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Envisioning New Directions and Post-Pandemic Practices for Teaching and Learning in the Field of Turkish and Turkic Languages

Session XIV-01, sponsored by American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages (AATT), 2022 Annual Meeting

On Wednesday, December 7 at 12:00 pm

RoundTable Description
The Roundtable will focus on best practices for envisioning new directions and post-pandemic practices for teaching and learning in the field of Turkish & Turkic Languages. The COVID-19 pandemic brought continuing effects on the learning and teaching of the Turkish language. These unusual circumstances created a new normal and compelled instructors to enact changes and gave opportunities to redesign and innovate our curriculum. Amidst so many challenges we discovered new teaching methods and tools through which to promote cultural competence, form communication skills, and connect with our students. This year’s Roundtable will be providing a space for sharing how our teaching evolved as a result of teaching during the pandemic. In what ways moving back to in-person from online practices impacting our instruction? How did Turkic language educators apply what was used to innovate their curricula? What various instructional modes are kept and what others are left? What additional opportunities are available to Turkic language learners? We invite participants on the following topics: • Instructional materials and tools to design an effective post-pandemic classroom setting • Development of program, materials, and resources for instructional activities and methods of assessment. • Practical concerns and applicable suggestions on teaching and assessment • Effective integration of digital teaching practices into-in-person or hybrid teaching • Strategies that boost student motivation and linguistic confidence • Best practices in the field to provide recommendations for implementation. We hope that the AATT Roundtable will provide a venue to share our teaching experiences in these unprecedented times and learn from each other as we all have been trying to manage the new normal.
Disciplines
Language
Participants
Presentations
  • From Online Back to In-Person: Combining the Best of Both Worlds in Turkish Courses Turkish language courses offered at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto were conducted in the online-synchronous mode during the 2020-2021 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in the fall semester of the following academic year, these courses went back to being offered in person. In this talk, I will share our experience in extending the use of certain digital learning tools that proved efficient in remote learning to the in-person classroom. I will reflect on the value of the sustained use of technologies such as game-based learning platforms, digitally enriched course materials, assessments, and learning environments. I will argue that leveraging the available digital tools can not only lead to positive practical outcomes for the overall learning experience but also enhance learner engagement and motivation, especially if they are intentionally integrated into the in-person course design to complement the existing strengths of face-to-face interaction.
  • The Cultural Turn in Language Teaching: Prospects and Challenges of Reverse Design and Cultural Assessment in the Case of Turkish Classroom II This roundtable presenter makes the claim for adopting new designs to measure the cultural competence as a substantial component of linguistic competence. It explores two cultural assessment tools named BEVI (The Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory) and IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) and demonstrates how their constructs such as formative variables and intercultural sensitivity afford to calibrate the LCTL curricula and reach holistic views and specific skills in the target language. With examples drawn from Turkish as LCTL, the presentation starts with introducing the specific purposes of the Project Global Officer which, as a program led by the presenter, strives to simultaneously improve the communicative skills and cultural competence of future cadets. It continues with a description, development, and analyses of the BEVI and IDI tools and concludes by noting that, in the Turkish case, these tools are not only commensurate with ACTFL standards and supportive of proficiency goals. The application of BEVI or IDI is compatible with the reverse design, as well, eventually helping reinforce the LCTL learners’ individual self-awareness and cultural worldview all the while contributing to a body of research in the discipline new data and paradigms in quantitative and interpretive fashion.
  • Online Teaching Technologies as an Enrichment of Language Pedagogy Methods During the academic year 2020-21, and for portions of the current academic year, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Modern Turkish, as well as Elementary Uzbek, Kazakh, and Uyghur, were offered in an online format at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Chicago. During this time, we were able to make optimal use of the features of the Zoom platform for synchronous and asynchronous class activities. In particular, students were able to participate remotely regardless of circumstance, and were able to view recordings asynchronously in case of need to review the lesson. Furthermore, the Zoom interface allowed viewing of and fast transitions between audio-visual speaking and reading materials from diverse input sources. The Canvas and Panopto platforms provided additional functionality to the interactive features of Zoom. On the whole, I would argue that the online execution of class sessions actually facilitated the use of pedagogical tools and paradigms and enhanced the learning experience of the students. Assessment and feedback activities are similarly facilitated via this digital online format. Once we returned to in-person teaching, we retained many of the practices developed during the online phase, as these enhanced the classroom experience significantly. I thus conclude that for us, the online experience turned out to be an asset and an enrichment, with continuing positive impact on both in-person and hybrid teaching, as well for assessment activities, and that methods and tools developed for this purpose are particularly useful for the teaching of these less commonly taught languages, which typically feature smaller class sizes and thus allow for higher level of customization and interaction. In our forthcoming discussion, we propose to examine some of the specific methods and tools developed through this experience, and discuss their uses in future language learning contexts, whether in-person, online, or hybrid.
  • ASK “DUMB” QUESTIONS Small classes have an advantage in many cases in language learning. Giving & taking accurate feedback is one of them which is very helpful to keep the class material on the track. The feedback from students about class materials may give to the instructor: 1- a homogenous learning environment 2- mindful course objectives 3- a down to earth learning outcomes And on the contrary: 4- a dynamic and experimental curriculum. As well as considering all of them respectfully, in this presentation, my interest will be the last one. There are many ways to get and respond to students' feedback about the learning& teaching environment during the semester. No doubt that students are in an ideal position to comment on “how they are experiencing the organization of the course, the effectiveness of teaching, the relevance of course material, and their own process of learning.”* For me, one of the most convenient ways of collecting students’ feedback is individual (one to one) meetings in the mid-semester. It provides me with an opportunity to have an open conversation with students which is frank, dynamic, and beyond the initial plan. By the time in these meetings, I noticed that students are very stressed about their own class performance and hesitate to respond to the class material sincerely while they are with peers, in the classroom. The reason for their stress was so simple and more importantly common! They want to ask as many as possible questions related to class material but at the same time, they think their questions would be “dumb” rather than sophisticated. In this presentation, I will share examples from “the dumb question” session in elementary and intermediate classes which are created along with students. The main strategy of this session is to “boost student motivation and linguistic confidence.” Moreover, showing them how actually their questions are creative, smart, and how those questions build an expanded curriculum and pedagogical strategies which means a lot for the course instructor. *For further content: https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/getting-feedback The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University.