“If the whole administration of the country was left to me, I would first improve the language because when the language is not accurate what is said is incomprehensible, what needs to be done is left undone and therefore the rules, traditions and art regress, the justice goes ashtray, the people are left in desperation. This why what needs to be said cannot be turned adrift. This is more important than everything else.” (Confucius)
The Koç School’s Middle School Turkish Department bases its mother language education system on this quote!
The department has a “literal work-text” centred structure in Grades 5-8. While the students are taught the particulars of the mother language, at the first step of reading and comprehension, the question “How does the text say it?” rather than the question “What does the text say?” is analysed. Therefore, the department aims to improve their thinking and deduction skills as well as written and verbal expression of what they understand rather than improving their level of knowledge. While expressing what a film, a newspaper article or a literary work is about a fundamental skill, stating how it is being said is making analysis and synthesis, which is an upper skill. In order to improve this upper skill, the students work on various chosen literary pieces from Turkish and World literature, make movie and animation criticisms, do visual reading and analyse newspapers, journals, magazines etc. The grammar, reading-comprehension, speaking and writing objectives are given to the students in a spiral structure that is related to the texts with a holistic approach. All these activities are presented to the students in a booklet called “The Turkish Lesson Notes” prepared by the department teachers in accordance to the Ministry of Education curriculum. The department aims to cover all the objectives using various methods such as differentiated instruction, drama, debate, creative presentation and group work in the class.
One of the most important aims is to raise productive students who are successful not only academically but also socially. They are equipped with skills to express themselves in writing and verbally and they have advanced self-confidence and empathy. In line with these targets, the students take effective part in various department activities such as “Foundation Schools Common Wall Paper”, “Story Writing Contest”, “Poem Concert”, “Tohum (Seed) Magazine”, and “Book Week”.
The students who start by learning the particularities of their mother language at Grade 5, turn into students who publish their own literature magazines, give life to new characters in their stories, teach and learn through the performances they make up on the stage, express their point of views through literature with the essays they write, accomplish to transfer what they learn to the assessment processes. And they are ready for the high school literature program before they graduate at Grade 8.
All these are the results of meticulous planning, strong teachers and the passion for the mother language.