Friday, 11 March 2016

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothese

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 

      It is a controversial theory developed by linguist Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Whorf. The hypothesis states that the way people think is strongly affected by their native languages. I mean the language we use determines how we experience the world and how we express that experience. So, this view can also be called as linguistic determinism. 
     This view can  be easily refuted because human brain can produce so many complicated ideas which cannot be expressed by language.The best known example used for explaining this view is Eskimoans. They have so many words for verbalizing "snow" but they have not any word for "camel". According to Saphir and Whorf, this is because of linguistic determinisim. On the contrary to this view, if we show Eskimoan people a camel, they can easily distinguish this animal. So accuracy of this theory is not certain.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Observation Task #1

Task 2.1 The Professional

T2.1.1 Presented in this chapter are three types of knowledge: professional, procedural and personal. They are closely connected and they interact with each other. Based on your teaching experience and/or your “apprenticeship of observation” during your student days, think and talk about how a teacher’s practice of everyday teaching is actually the result of a concoction of the three types of knowledge brewed by the teacher him/herself.
  • Professional, procedural and personal knowledge is bound to each other so closely. I think, procedural knowledge consists of professional and personal knowledge because the knowledge that acquired from books, theories and via formal education and the knowledge that a person’s inner world and his/her values, ideas helps teacher  give a form to his/her teaching style. For example; how does the teacher see the teaching, unwilling or enthusiastic? Has she/he got enough knowledge to teach on his/her field?

 T2.1.2 Take any one specific feature of professional knowledge (it doesn’t matter whether your choice is from the segment on language, language learning or language teaching) and discuss how its classroom manifestation (i.e., how it is implemented by the teacher) might reveal traces of a professional, procedural, and personal knowledge base.
  • In the last lesson, the subject was tourism and tourist attractions. My mentor teacher mentioned about her travel to Egypt and Keops Pyramids. She tried to reflect his ideas about how this fantastic places affected his inner world. This relates to her knowledge of personal. Knowing how to pronounce the word “Keops” is about her professional knowledge and while telling her adventures about this fantastic places, ability to manage classroom and knowing how to transfer her knowledge in the best way to the students is about procedural knowledge.

T2.1.3 Professional knowledge has been described as something that experts produce. Under what circumstances do (or can) teachers produce professional knowledge? When does (or can) teachers’ personal knowledge get recognized as professional knowledge? If teacher knowing is more important than expert knowledge, why do you think experts’ professional knowledge has been privileged over teachers’ personal knowledge?
  • Teacher can produce professional knowledge on the grounds of his/her experiences on learning and teaching processes. Teacher can do an action research on his/her context and he/she can produce professional knowledge thorough scientific data. Theory and reality may not be corresponded so in this case teacher knowing is more important than expert knowledge. I think professional knowledge of experts and teachers’ personal knowledge are worthwhile and essential. Neither of them is superior to other one.

 Task 2.2 The Personal

T2.2.1 Personal knowledge signifies the teacher’s “thought processes sedimented through observations, experiences, and interpretations that span a long period before, during and after formal teacher education programs.” Focusing on any one period (before, during, or after) and selecting any one specific example, discuss how a particular feature of your personal knowledge is dependent on or free from the influence of the formal teacher education program that you are familiar with.
  • Personal knowledge covers the professional knowledge. Everything what we have experienced have  contribution on shaping our personal knowledge. So it cannot be considered separate the professional knowledge from personal knowledge.

T2.2.2 “Over time, teachers accumulate an unexplained and sometimes unexplainable awareness of what constitutes good teaching.” Why is it unexplained? Why is it unexplainable? If it is unexplained and unexplainable, how do (or can) teachers articulate the rationale, and justify the decision, governing their teaching acts?
  • The most essential part of education is students. It cannot be mentioned about education or teaching without learners. So the thing that constitutes good teaching is closely related to learner and individual differences. Every learner needs to a special learning program to herself/himself. So good teaching is unexplainable because of individual differences and needs.

T2.2.3 Teachers’ personal knowledge is deeply connected to the operating principles of particularity, practicality and possibility. Recall the characteristics of these principles from section 1.2 in Chapter 1. Think and talk about what kind of an impact each of the principles can potentially have in shaping teachers’ personal knowledge.
  • Operating principles provide the direction and support required to convert certain beliefs, values, and expectations into actionable plans and measurable outcomes. So they have so crucial role in shaping teachers’ personal knowledge.

Reflective Tasks #1

Reflective Tasks

Task 1.1 Posing the Right Questions
T1.1.1 Think about the statement made by American educationists Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Kenneth Zeichner: “education and teacher education are social institutions that pose moral, ethical, social, philosophical, and ideological questions.” Do you agree or disagree that it is the responsibility of educational institutions to pose questions of such a nature? What are your reasons?
  • I agree with this statement. Educational institutions are the building blocks of the society. Every person acquire his/her personal and professional knowledge in a school and all the characteristics which converts a human being  to a person who can think, analyse and having moral, ethical and social values is acquired in an educational institution. So the responsibility of posing moral, ethical, social, philosophical and ideological questions belongs to the educational institutions. They are driven by sophisticated theoretical frameworks about the nature of good teaching and the nature of teachers’ learning.

T1.1.2 What kinds of moral, ethical, social, philosophical, or ideological questions do (or should) educational institutions pose?
  • I think educational institutions should pose questions about fundamental disaggrements such as who should be educated, for what aims and purposes, what should be taught, how it should be assessed, and who should decide.
T1.1.3 Recall your days at school and/or college. Provide an example of a moral or ethical or social question that your educational institute posed. How did you resolve the question? How did your classmates and/or your teacher(s) assist you in resolving the question? To what extent did the school/college prepare you to identify and resolve the issue?
  • I think, teacher preparation system in our country is enough in terms of acquiring professional knowledge in the related area of expertise. However this is not enough to prepare student teachers for the global context. Our current teachers should not be contented with what they have got. As well as they should be and enthusiastic about learning, they should adopt the idea of life-long learning. If and only if they can change their minds, our teacher preparation system and hence education system can be better.

Task 1.2 Facing the New Global Context
 T1.2.1 The report on Transforming Teacher Education asserts: “Notwithstanding their origins, commonalities and differences, all systems of teacher preparation have to rethink their core assumptions and processes in the new global context” (2008: 14). What do you think are the “assumptions and processes” that govern the system of teacher preparation that you are familiar with?
  • I think, the assumptions and processes that govern the system of teacher preparation in our country should be rethought and changed. Teachers are the most essential and important part of an education system. While they are preparing for servicing as a teacher, their education should be organised according to the global world and they should give up their old-fashioned ideas and keep up with the postmodern world.

T1.2.2 Does “the new global context” really warrant a “rethink” of the “assumptions and processes” that you have identified? If yes, why? If not, why not?
  • Yes, the assumptions and processes should be rethought because of the new global context. Nothing is permanent but change. So the new globalizing world requires change of everything including teacher preparation.

T1.2.3 If you were vested with necessary authority, what two fundamental changes would you make to the existing “systems of teacher preparation,” and why?
  • In the perspectives of language education, I try to change the sense of “learning grammar is learning language”, if I had necessary authority. Although in theory, this sense is adverse, in practice unfortunately this is reality.
  • And I try to provide all the pre-service teachers opportunity to utilize srudent exchange programs like ERASMUS. Actually, in all teacher education programs there must be 2+2 system (two years in Turkey, two years abroad). With the help of this system every teacher candidate would experience going abroad and using the language in order to keep up with the new world.