The perceptions of language teachers, students and parents on the characteristics of effective primary school language teachers
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CitationZabitgil Gülseren, Ö., Erten, E., & Erdoğan, P. (2016). The Perceptions of Language Teachers, Students and Parents on the Characteristics of Effective Primary School Language Teachers. In Current Advances in Education (pp. 713–727). St. Kliment Ohridski University Press. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4600826
Teachers, as mediators of classes, play an influential role on both cognitive and affective aspects of students’ learning. Teacher characteristics and teaching behavior are important elements in student motivation and learning in general. Robinson and Aronica (2015) described effective teachers as people who engage, inspire and enthuse students by creating conditions in which those students will want to learn. English language teaching is not something that anyone who can speak English can do. English teaching is a profession, with a field of educational specialization, which requires a specialized knowledge base obtained through both academic study and practical experience. Rixon (1999) suggests that the countries lower the age of English language learning, because they would like to take advantage of benefits connected with language learning at a younger age. Effective language instruction can develop a lifelong motivation for learning languages. A child who enjoys English classes at the age of eight are much more likely to love and continue to pursue English in later years in comparison to a child who finds English classes boring and meaningless. Thus, learning languages effectively from an earlier age holds potential for future learning. In Turkey, the influence of English is becoming more evident in the context of national education. The demand for teaching and learning English is rising in every part of the Turkish educational setting. One reason for this educational popularity is that the English language is seen as key for better employment possibilities. As most commercial, cultural, diplomatic, or economic relations in the international arena are carried out in English, jobs that offer good opportunities require a high level of English in addition to other professional qualifications. Real contribution of foreign language teaching in state primary schools in Turkey began with the educational act increasing compulsory primary education from five to eight years as defined by the Turkish Ministry of National Education in 1997. Alongside with this educational act, the compulsory age to introduce English as a foreign language (EFL) was lowered from grade four (with 10 year olds) to grade two (8 years old) in public schools in 2013. Accordingly, this educational act brought a renewal in the teaching of English in public primary schools. As a result, how to teach English to young learners effectively has recently become a significant question in the educational world. Many English teachers working in the state schools experience difficulties adapting to teach 7 or 8 years old children in comparison to older children. Learners at this age group need different kinds of approaches and creative activities in the teaching of a new language. Most teachers do not know how to meet the needs and expectations of Young Learners. According to Harmer (2001) a close understanding of the characteristics of young learners according to different age groups is essential for planning effective teaching for our students. Teachers need to do self-assessment and also analyze themselves from students’ perceptions. These can contribute to the self-development of English teachers working in the public schools. According to Nunan, the most important people that teachers see besides pupils are the pupils’ parents. Also, teachers of primary children come into contact with parents more often than teachers of other age groups. Parents have both educational and psychological expectations from their children learning a foreign language. Self-assessment and perception-checking from students’, parents’ and teachers’ perspectives can help teachers prepare effective lessons to meet their students’ needs. Although a number of researchers have identified the characteristics of effective language teachers (Hammadou and Bernhart, 1987; Horwitz, 1988; Brosh, 1996; Prodromou, 1991; Saafin, 2005; Chen and Lin, 2009, Yıldırım and Doğan, 2009) from the perceptions of teachers and students. Few studies have compared teachers’, students and parents’ perceptions of effective language teacher characteristics for young learners. Self-assessment and perception-checking from students’, parents’ and teachers’ perspectives can help teachers prepare effective lessons to meet their students’ needs. The results of this studyand similar studies on the topic may be useful in both the practical and theoretical sense, as they can inform teachers about the specific teaching methods and personal qualities that are considered important by different stakeholders. Hall (2011) acknowledges this and adds that hearing the voices of all the stakeholders may provide better insights into L2 classrooms. These voices come from teachers, learners and especially in the case of young learners, their parents allowing them to shape their practice in order to better meet the needs of learners. In addition, the findings of the study may assist administrators and educational policy makers in formulating decisions concerning curriculum design and teacher development programs. Effective language teaching has become a prominent issue in the field of education as there has been a great demand on learning foreign languages throughout the world. In the process of foreign language learning, the language teacher has an important role about students, and their success is influenced greatly by the skills of the teachers. With these in mind, the study will seek to answer the following questions: 1-What are the perceptions of language teachers on the characteristics of effective language teachers? 2-What are the perceptions of primary school students on the characteristics of effective language teachers? 3-What are the perceptions of parents on the characteristics of effective language teachers? 4-What are the differences and similarities between the perceptions of teachers, students, and parents on effective teacher characteristics?