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TESOL Turkey: Cultural Sensitivity in The ESL Classroom

  • 3 min read
  • Turkey

When it comes to teaching English in Turkey, cultural sensitivity is key!

Teaching Children – TESOL Turkey

Very young children – say, at the preschool level – in Turkey generally have no experience with foreigners, and so may be reluctant or even frightened of their ESL teachers.

The good news is that employers don’t generally blame you for this, and so everyone is permitted to find their own way. Once the little children get to know you, however, there may be an excessive comfort level for them.

The main reason being that due to traditional belief, parents – and the society in general – expect the teacher to act as both parent and disciplinarian in their absence.

Though this trend appears to be changing, it is very common to see children going up to their teachers, hugging and kissing them hello or goodbye, and the Turkish teachers doing the same.

Elementary and high school students are generally well receptive to foreign instructors, and most ESL teachers do well. The only concern here is that the better jobs are in private schools, the students of which may have strong attitudes.

You have to be careful with discipline issues, as parents can be highly sensitive about their kids; especially when they are paying huge amounts to educate them.

Teaching Young Adults – TESOL Turkey

Turkey might be one of the most progressive countries in the region, but it is a country greatly divided by religion. As a general rule, teachers should avoid topics of politics and religion.

University students and young adults are generally easygoing and anxious to learn. There is no real challenge here that doesn’t pose itself elsewhere.

These students are busy studying for many other subjects, so teachers should pay attention to stress levels and changing moods. Sometimes students show a great level of commitment and other times they seem worried and out of focus.

Teaching Business English – TESOL Turkey

When it comes to one-to-one business lessons through a private institute, managers, and business executives who have a lower level of English skills often tend to be hesitant about making mistakes.

The title is often more important than salary in the corporate world in Turkey, and so people of a certain status are extremely averse to embarrassing themselves. It can often be quite a task to engage this type of student in a communicative lesson!

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