Implementing the recent curricular changes to English language instruction in Turkey: opinions and concerns of elementary school administrators

Celik S., Kasapoglu H.

SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, vol.34, no.2, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Recent modifications to the Turkish educational system have mandated that instruction in English begin in the 2nd grade, rather than the 4th grade, as was previously required. Consequently, substantial modification of the elementary (2nd through 8th grade) English language teaching program has been carried out in order to accommodate this change. Successful implementation of the new program may be significantly affected by the efforts of elementary school administrators to incorporate the restructured curriculum at the institutional level. Therefore, the researchers believe that understanding the attitudes of school principals concerning these changes may play a significant role in learner outcomes. Accordingly, by means of personal interviews, this qualitative study explores the beliefs of nine elementary school administrators concerning the teaching of English to younger students, as well as their general opinions on English language education. The results indicate divided opinions toward the requirement for English instruction, although the administrators' attitudes toward facilitating English teaching in their schools were generally positive. However, they expressed concerns about the recently replaced teaching program and indicated general agreement that revision was needed. Based on the perceptions expressed by the participants, the researchers concluded that the administrators may be motivated to promote the modified teaching program among teachers, students and parents. However, the responses of the participants also raised significant questions about school principals' underlying beliefs concerning the importance of English language education, as well as institutional issues that may warrant intervention. As a result, suggestions for additional research are made.