SCHOOL OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES


Restructuring

Şevki Şen, Sabahat Tura and Dündar Uçar, respectively, were directors of the English Language Preparatory School between 1965 and 1970. Yuluğ Tekin Kurat was Head of the Humanities Department and Nevin İnal and Faruk İrfaner were his assistants responsible for the English division.

   

                                                      

 

 

We understand from Paul Aiken’s report addressed to the Ford Foundation that the English Language Preparatory School underwent restructuring in the 1964-1965 academic year. The increase in student and instructor numbers in addition to some complaints regarding the instruction at the English Language Preparatory School may have led to this restructuring.

 

In the meantime, the English Division of the Humanities Department had moved to campus and they were placed in offices on the ground floor of the Civil Engineering building. The construction of A, B, C and D buildings of the English Language Preparatory School was completed and the buildings were opened to service. 9 – 10 language laboratories resembling those at Robert College were set up in D building. The government and university administrators of the time demonstrated the importance they attached to language education by completing these facilities in the initial stages of university construction. (Unfortunately, the trend reversed after 1980 and the School of Foreign Languages went through a period of conducting education in make-shift buildings, which extended to the beginning of the 2000s.)

 

There were significant developments in the English Language Preparatory School regarding the academic dimension of the restructuring. Specialists like Paul Aiken and Alan Harris, experts in the emerging field of TEFL/ELT, and later, Patricia Mathews, a teacher trainer, were recruited with the financial support provided by the Ford Foundation and these people laid the foundations of today’s sound instructional system by contributing greatly both to the development of programs and materials and to the training of teachers. The 18-volume coursebook S.E.F.T. (Spoken English for Turks), which was being written by Sheldon Wise, an American Linguist, and his colleagues in Robert College in the early 60s, was adopted as the main coursebook at the English Language Preparatory School, and the teachers were given the necessary training. A central Testing Office was set up. Initially, however, the exams produced in line with the S.E.F.T. series were obtained from Robert College via mail. Meanwhile, instructors were engaged, for the first time, in a project geared towards producing a book on Reading and Writing Skills. The high standards and the discipline of centralization brought about by this academic restructuring started to yield its fruits. Paul Aiken claims in his report sent to the Ford Foundation that success rates in the Freshman year increased by 300% *, which, although somewhat exaggerated, expresses a fact that cannot be denied. In the 1970s, the English Language Preparatory School became a completely established institution.

 

The percentage of native-speaker instructors was around 50%. The 15 – 20 American Peace Corps staff who worked as English teachers in both the English Language Preparatory School and the Freshman Division each had left. Despite this, the percentage of native-speaker teachers was quite high. The reason underlying this was that all instructors working in each unit were recruited on a contractual basis and were paid quite attractive salaries — twice or three times the salaries of research assistants and at the range of salaries of assistant professors.

 

* (… The overall results of the performance of the 1964-1965 ELPD students in their freshman year at the University are not yet available, but a sample taken at the end of the first semester indicated that the ex-ELPD success rate was approximately three hundred percent better than that of the students of previous years …. these students are far better equipped to handle the instructional program in English than their predecessors were.)

 

Prepared by: Prof. Dr. Hüsnü ENGİNARLAR

Interviewees: Prof. Dr. Ayten BEAR, Doç. Dr. Joshua BEAR, Öğr. Gör. Nevin İNAL, Öğr. Gör. Naz DİNO