32nd AATT Annual Meeting
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Mortara Center, Georgetown University
A Review by Eda Saraç
I have been interested in teaching Turkish to foreigners for a long time. Essentially, I am well aware that I am an English teacher, however I think that a brand new academic field can open up different chances for a scholar. In accordance with this mentality, I attended a teaching certificate & pedagogical training in teaching Turkish to foreigners at Marmara University. Accordingly, I had to teach the Turkish class to foreigners for 6 hours to be able to finish the training. Accordingly, I had sent an abstract for the AATT (American Association of Turkish Teachers) conference held at Georgetown University. The conference schedule consisted of many diverse and different topics, ranging from teaching Turkish through literature to using technology in teaching Turkish to foreigners. The conference schedule can be found here from this link:
At the conference, for the first time I had a chance to represent my work and myself at a prestigious American university, which I perceive as a milestone in my career and lifelong learning process. My presentation is about “Teaching Turkish through literature”. I have tried to integrate the original, genuine materials for the students who learn Turkish as a foreign language. My materials ranged from Yasar Kemal’s İnce Memed to Ahmet Umit’s detective stories. I believe that as long as we, as language teachers, integrate literature into our teaching, we will get more beneficial and productive results. For me, if I had not read the graded readers while I was learning, I would not have learned English this much easily. I thought that the very same thing can be applied to the learners who take Turkish as a foreign language. In accordance with this ideal, I have also taken some authentic materials which can be used in the classroom such as restaurant menus and hair dresser price lists. In addition to that, I had also conducted another study in which children can integrate their skills while they read short stories prepared for children.
The next day, on Saturday, I had the chance to attend the pre graduate conference allocated for PhD students. The subjects were so diverse ranging from Karin Karakaşlı’s literature to learning Ottoman in contemporary Turkey. I had asked various questions to the presenters to be able to get a better understanding of their subjects.
I have had the chance to meet so intriguing and inspirational people from all over the States and the globe. I was one of the few people who came to participate in the conference from Turkey. I sincerely hope that I can act as a member of the conference organization committee and participate in the conference held at the University of Texas at Austin.