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University grads need a B1 in English from 2013?

 
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svenhassel



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 153
Location: Ayazaga

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:47 am    Post subject: University grads need a B1 in English from 2013? Reply with quote

What's all this I hear about Turkish students needing a B1 in English to exit university?
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Sirens of Cyprus



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 219

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that B1 is good stuff, but what does it have to do with English?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiamine
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9488
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get the B1 either, for different reasons - the European standard for study/work in English in international universities and many companies is B2. B1 would leave Turkish grads still quantifiably under the standard...why stop short of B2?
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ossie39



Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few years ago I couldn't understand why Turkish students had to do the EU framework stuff, A1, A2 etc. I thought we should be responding to the needs of Turkish learners of English. The course descriptor is very useful though and I see that there is a greater need for standardisation so people can bettter understand the abilities of each other within countries and between them. As from next year secondary grammar schools in Hungary will be teaching the 18 year olds for C1 level. I guess the benchmark is just gettting higher. A B1 isn't going to be much good for working outside Turkey or for doing 'white collar' work with foreigners in Turkey.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9488
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be VERY impressed if Hungarian high school students can achieve C1 in Hungary. It's more usual for students who have already spent a year abroad in an Anglophone country - I thought it was generally accepted that B2 is about the best most students can achieve without an exchange year or something similar....
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billy orr



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 222

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Instiutions and ministries love to make exaggerated claims about what language learners could or should or might be able to achieve. The Hungarian claim above is a good example.

It is a pity that institutions and school systems do not focus on the real needs and achievements of their students, and expect students to raise their level rather than setting impossible benchmarks that are likely to result in sham level setting for proficiency exams. For some students at Turkish universities, A2 level in all skills would represent a major achievement and improvement on the current situation. For others, for example English teachers, a minimum of C1 level should be required and properly tested, but sadly many English teachers are far from that level, especially in speaking and listening.

Many university students in Turkey currently do not need to know a foreign language at all, so it is very unlikely that a B1 requirement will suddenly be introduced.
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ossie39



Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should say that the Hungarian kids I refer to have specialised in English at secondary school and have 7 hours weekly over 6 years. Continual working for the exam means lessons can be bland and systematic. I think Turks still have particular problems regarding creativity, organisation, cohesion and hypothesising. There may be limitations for them regarding the framework. I thought the Turkish Government gave the option to opt out of prep school a couple of years ago.
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billy orr



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 222

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to compare top language learners, there are high school leavers in Turkey achieving C1 already, as shown by scores in exemption exams, IELTS and TOEFL.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9488
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm absolutely sure that there are always some language stars in every group - it's when governments start mandating that all students have a C1 (or B1) across the board that I think the expectations exceed the reality in most cases.

There is quite a difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. A student who (intrinsically) is motivated to learn a language, to further his/her own personal goals is far more likely to achieve those goals than a student who is motivated solely or mostly by a government-imposed standard.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ossie39 wrote:
I think Turks still have particular problems regarding creativity, organisation, cohesion and hypothesising. There may be limitations for them regarding the framework.


I'm not sure what this mean exactly.
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ossie39



Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I'm not sure what this means exactly."
Good qualified teachers with experience of Turkey and varied exam board experience will understand it Sashadroogie.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I am a well-qualified teacher, with lots of experience in Turkey. Lots of exams experience too, but not in your uni. However, I have not noticed Turks having any particular problems with creativity, cohesion or hypothesising. Like all low level learners, low level Turkish learners have these problems speaking English, yes, but the blanket statement above seems to suggest that these are somehow innate characteristics of all Turks. Their poetry and current cinema renaissance would suggest otherwise.
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ossie39



Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie, you responded to my statements in a one sentence response. I wasn't sure if you were being dismissive, agreed in part, was looking for clarification on terms I used (you may be a novice teacher or student reading this) or was opening the gate for me to elaborate.
In general education in Turkey is based on chalk and talk by the teacher, even in the case when all foreign language teaching is progressive and communicative, teaching in other subjects is chalk and talk. Much of the testing is based on memorisation. The teacher in Turkish society (just like the mature adult) is a respected person. It is not the norm to question the teacher and rarely does the teacher seek opinions from students. Of the teachers who are inspired to do something creative and have the know how in facilitating learning, some would not because the efforts are not appreciated by management. To deliver creative lessons constantly means a level of preparation. Teachers in Turkey are not well paid and I think generally the attitude would be 'why bust a gut when I am undervalued and underpaid?' There are of course great teachers who give greatly to their students but they are a minority.
There is greater emphasis on vocabulary and grammar over skills work and essentially the 'productive' skills of speaking and writing. Rather than developing competent/good communicators, one would think the aim is to produce a grammar book in English. Class writing can be neglected at times.
Turks are generally very ethnocentric. Writing or speaking about a desired place to visit in the world will mostly result in a Turkish destination. Writing about a famous person will get the same result. Pride in your nation is honourable but quite how creative that task is questionable. This is given the fact that the task has been fully explained and time has been given in that research. Communicating about what is familiar is understandable but at the same time one must venture out to what is a new area, that would be more creative.
Few Turks have the chance to visit another country for whatever reason - money, lack of contacts, officialdom or whatever. Some Europeans or Americans do gap years, internships or voluntary work thus providing first hand experience, something varied to communicate about. Such experiences present the need to organise oneself, for example funding, networking, preparing for a big different experience.
Turks can be very pragmatic, 'think about surviving for today' rather than hypothesising about what might be. "If Alah wishes it." Being practical is of course a very good thing. Hypothesising would need divergent thinking but as stated above, it isn't a main feature of teaching and learning in Turkey.
Of course some Turks can be very artistic. In the context of formal education and modern language learning I think this is a fair account.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9551
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ossie39, I wasn't being dismissive of your comments, but was genuinely unsure of what you meant. A little apprehensive too, as I have heard these comments repeated again and again, but usually by EFL teachers who display the very same lack of creativity they criticise the Turks for - all 77 million of them. I am not saying that is what you have done, but it looked perilously close. Apologies if I misread you.

For me, I think there is a basic flaw in judging the whole nation by the people we see in dershanes or unis alone. This usually leads to foreign teachers having very skewed views of life in Turkey. A friend of mine did some research into this - she came to the conclusion that it was the foreign teachers who had more cliched (rascist) ideas about Turks (and the East in general) and creativity and education than the students did about their teachers. This despite the fact that Turkish students are generally less-travelled. So, it appears to me that many EFLers are just as guilty of intellectual laziness. For example, this whole 'Allah wishes it' line is simply not based on reality, but a repeated calumny.

This idea of foreign teachers suffering from a faulty view of things and being less than intellectually active themselves is borne out also by the usual abysmal failure to learn anything beyond rudimentary Turkish. Again, I am not aiming these remarks at you - you could be of near-native fluency for all I know. But teachers like that, posing as experts on culture they have very little real contact with... well there is not much else I can think of that is quite so... limited.

Life in Turkey, as I remember it, was bloody tough. Learning English was seen as yet another chore that had to be suffered. Most students' creativity in an EFL lesson may wane, but to over-generalise is stretching the point too far. To suggest that the CEF is not suitable for Turks would offend plenty of my Turkish friends and former colleagues.

It's very hard to spend time being creative when you're worrying about your low paying job, spending hours at that same job without an extra penny. Not making excuses for the whole nation, but rather trying to show an alternative to assuming that Turks have problems with creativity, organisation, cohesion, and hypothesising. I simply can't agree with that
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ossie39



Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your point about relating to one's own personal experience is of course valid. Teachers (yabanci) do draw on their own experiences of working in Turkey and can make generalisations. We can benefit from academic reading regarding creativity in teaching and learning in Turkey. Personal experience is what we have available to form our views. I taught in Turkey for 11 years in different settings and I have found the areas I stated as areas of difficulty for students.
Essentially in making a statement you will compare between learners, cultures and people. I think the key word is 'opportunity' and that is what I am trying to emphasise. The opportunity to be expressive, the opportunity to go and see something very different. Then to articulate your views from 'first hand' experience. The opportunity in lessons for students to do role play, go out interviewing, talk about current affairs rather than sticking to a syllabus that is systematic. You addressed this point of opportunity near the end of your posting.
I didn't say that Turks were not creative. Are they creative because of that creativity nurtured in formal education? Or are they creative as a form of therapy to escape as you say 'a tough life'? My comments were based on the provision of teaching and specifically second language learning. Indeed it ois true that a person of any nationality experiences disadvantages (low pay, unemployment etc) it's just that Turkey has great economical problems. Some state schools have 4O kids in a class and I am sure decreasing the class number would be one way of helping the teacher.
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