Monthly Archives: June 2013

when I was a little learner…


Think about a little girl who likes dancing and singing when TV is on. The moment I decided to learn English was when I was trying to sing English songs in a program on TV. I started learning English 18 years ago when I was 6 or 7 years old. Because English wasn’t taught to younger children at public schools at that time, my parents made me take private courses. As far as I remember, I didn’t like the first teacher. Considering my age to start English in Turkey in 1990s, I was a lucky child. Even at public schools, not until the sixth grade in secondary level did the students get any English lessons.
My first teacher was so strict that she tried to teach me through a book and I was forced to complete an activity book. I was so disappointed since I wanted to learn English to sing songs. I gave up taking lessons. After a year, I started to take courses again with another teacher who was advised by a teacher at my school. The teacher was EFL teacher and she had given lesson to children in various countries before she came to Turkey. My new teacher and I began the lessons and I learnt lots of things with language games, songs, puzzles or different tasks which a child could enjoy and participate actively. Taking my age into consideration, she used lots of different techniques and methods which are useful for the kids that I can only understand now. Looking at different topics and areas in SLA and Approaches and Methods, a child should be carefully taught; furthermore, developmental sequence and the nature of a different language should be given a great deal of importance. My first teacher had no idea about teaching a foreign or second language to a child. At those times in Turkey, we cannot hope to see public school teachers to know Krashen’s comprehensible input, İ+1 or the natural sequence of order. The teachers didn’t know about any methods or techniques to teach a language, because nearly most of the teacher weren’t the EFL or ESL teachers. They were the ones who graduated from different departments. Although I was living in a big city as Istanbul, fifteen years ago it was nearly impossible to have a branch teacher at public primary schools. Even, the age of English learning decreased ten years ago in Turkey; because there was a huge need of teachers, any kind of people who knew English started to give lessons in public schools. As EFL teachers, we all know that different age of groups need to be taught with different kinds of techniques and methods. One way that works with a group doesn’t work with another due to physical or mental developmental reasons. When English lessons started at school 2 years after I did, I was far beyond the class. I was so bored during the lessons because the teacher was completely different from my teacher at home. The lessons were based on a book which hadn’t got any pictures or photos and wasn’t appealing for a 10 year-old child. We never played games which were hard to apply in our classes not only because of the number of the students but also the shape of the class. My family wanted me and my brother continue the lessons at home because they were aware of the fact that it was impossible to speak, listen or write in English with the lessons which were taking at schools. I was so delighted by the lessons at home that I wanted to learn another language when I started secondary school.
Starting learning English at an early age with a good teacher who cared about the child’s learning styles and registers was a chance for me to acquire English rather than learning it. I remember lots of the patterns and rules from my childhood experience even though I never took any specific grammar courses. The way I learnt or acquired English has affected my style and awareness of teaching as an instructor.
Ayşegül ÇEPNİ


as a teacher…





Rather than teaching, inspiring or motivating people to achieve their goals is much better to explain my philosophy. Teaching is a circle turning around itself consisting of the time, material, motivation, participation, as well as the learners and the teachers. It is not only “give and take” relationship. It is the progress in which both learners and teachers improve themselves. Not only the students learn, but teachers also get new ideas and visions from different types of learners.  To teach or learn, people need each other:

As a teacher I am the model. What I use or do affect their learning and getting the new things. The students are the material which needs to be shaped by your experience and knowledge. Students are the ones who are there with you, depend on you, rely on you and respect you to help them succeed the things they desire. Teaching is just the term for the process which must be well designed and planned according to the needs of the society we teach.

As students, they are the society that wants to get or acquire new things from the source they trust. They should be valued and respected as well. If they understand that they are the core of the process and it is important to be aware of the progress, they can be much more encouraged to use what they learn. They shouldn’t learn something by heart; they should use everything they learn in real-life situations.

Being a good teacher or very effective teacher is not the matter. A successful teacher doesn’t affect others. S/he shows the path to go to success and make learners focus on their aims, inspire interest and motivate. The teacher should recognize that each and every student is unique and genuine. They should be treated differently in a harmony that no one should feel another one is higher or lower than each other. They should be aware of and get benefit from the differences which are generally seen as problems in a group. Differences are the chances to improve our visions. Because of this variety, being flexible and having lots of techniques or methods that we can use is the best approach. Trying various tasks and approaches, making them work together can get the attention of each student with a different style. We should not only expect success from the learners, we also try to understand what they expect us to do. Needs are the source of our style and methods.

My teaching philosophy is using, trying, applying, adapting or adjusting any kind of material, technique or method according to my students level, age, aim and most importantly goals. Mission and vision are the milestones of teaching.


Ayşegül ÇEPNİ