Completed Research Projects

The perceptions of foreign language teachers of computer assisted language teaching
Starting Date:
January, 2007
Expires:
December, 2008
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Senem Yıldız (Principal Investigator), Sibel Tatar
Description:
 

This descriptive study aims to investigate the profile of foreign language teachers and their perceptions of the use of computer technologies in language teaching. Specifically the study aims to explore if and for what purposes and in what forms language teachers use computer technologies in their classes. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from eight private primary, secondary and high schools through a questionnaire and face-to-face or e-mail interviews. ”Approaches of Foreign Language Teachers to Computer Assisted Language Learning” adapted from Levy (1997) was used. Results of the study indicated that foreign language teachers in general have a positive attitude towards computer technologies and that they perceive computer technology as a tool that complements teaching, helps create a student-centered learning environment and increases student motivation. The participants on the other hand pointed out that they could not use computer technologies efficiently due to reasons such as lack of training or lack of access to computers.

 

 
 
Nonnative English Language Teachers’ Perspectives on the Role and Significance of Culture in EFL Classrooms
Starting Date:
January, 2004
Expires:
December, 2008
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Yasemin Bayyurt (Principal Investigator), Gülcan Erçetin, Yavuz Gösterişli
Description:
 

Recent research investigating the status of the English language all over the world has proven that it has become more and more essential to raise English language teachers’ awareness and sensitivity towards designing their activities and adjusting their teaching by taking into consideration the current status of English as an international language. However, it is still a myth whether ELT teachers themselves are aware of the importance of English as a world language as far as the concept of ‘culture’ is concerned. This study aims at developing and validating a measurement scale to investigate the beliefs and opinions of Turkish EFL teachers towards the involvement of the target language culture in their classrooms. To find out about the non-native EFL teachers’ perspective on the issue, interviews will be conducted with EFL teachers, both from state and private schools in Turkey. The data obtained from the interviews will be used to develop items for a questionnaire, which will then be administered to a large sample of EFL teachers and the responses will be analyzed statistically and interpreted with reference to recent perspectives and approaches on the status of English as a world language.

 

 

An investigation of the nature of feedback given to pre-service English teachers during their practice teaching experience
Starting Date:
March, 2005
Expires:
November, 2006
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Sumru Akcan (Principal Investigator), Sibel Tatar
Description:

In teacher education research, the interaction between student teachers, university supervisors and cooperating teachers has been widely investigated. The nature of feedback in the post-lesson sessions has been documented to differ across university supervisors and cooperating teachers. Considering the importance of practice teaching in student teachers’ careers and the crucial role the cooperating teachers play in this experience, it is considered important to know the dynamics and the nature of feedback student teachers receive from their university supervisors and their cooperating teachers.
The purpose of the study is to investigate the nature of feedback from university supervisors and cooperating teachers given to the student teachers in a language teacher education program at a university in Istanbul, Turkey. Data for the study were collected from four university supervisors, 25 student teachers and 15 cooperating teachers during an academic semester through (a) interviews between student teachers and university supervisors and student teachers and cooperating teachers, (b) relevant documents such as student teacher journal entries and teachers’ notes. The preliminary findings point to some differences and similarities between the feedback from cooperating teachers and university supervisors.

Development and validation study of a measurement scale assessing English language teachers’ perception of the concept of culture in ELT classrooms in Turkey
Starting Date:
September, 2004
Expires:
September, 2006
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Yasemin Bayyurt (Principal Investigator), Gülcan Erçetin
Description:
 

Recent research investigating the status of English language all over the world has proven that it has become more and more essential to raise English language teachers’ awareness and sensitivity towards designing their activities and adjusting their teaching by taking into consideration the current status of English as an international language. However, it is still a myth whether ELT teachers themselves are aware of the importance of English as a world language as far as the concept of ‘culture’ is concerned. This study aims at developing and validating a measurement scale to investigate the beliefs and opinions of Turkish EFL teachers towards the involvement of the target language culture in their classrooms. To find out about the non-native EFL teachers’ perspective on the issue, interviews will be conducted with EFL teachers both from state and private schools in Turkey.  The data obtained from the interviews will be used to develop items for a questionnaire, which will then be administered to a large sample of EFL teachers and the responses will be analyzed statistically and interpreted with reference to recent perspectives and approaches on the status of English as a world language.

 
The effect of gender factor on the language use of the participants in multilingual societies and foreign language classrooms
Starting Date:
September, 2003
Expires:
June, 2006
Sponsor:
Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) and the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (NWO)
Team:
Yasemin Bayyurt (Co-Investigator together with Dr. Ad Backus from Tilburg University, The Netherlands)
Description:

This study investigates politeness and gender issues in multilingual societies and in foreign language classrooms from a conversational analytic perspective within the framework of politeness theory. In particular, the study aims to find out whether Turkish politeness norms are transferred to bilingual settings as far as strategies for topic choice and turn taking are concerned.

A coding manual on the basis of both pre-existing coding schemes and some literature study is developed and tested. The data are coded for turn taking mechanisms, topic control techniques (topic introduction, shift, or maintenance) and for those pragmatic functions inherent in speakers’ utterances that seem relevant for topic management (e.g. exemplification, giving an opinion, agreement, strengthening an argument, etc.). The results will be statistically analyzed and interpreted on the basis of politeness theory and conversational analysis.

A comparative study of morpho-syntactic deficits in aphasia and second language acquisition
Starting Date:
March, 2004
Expires:
March, 2006
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Ayşe Gürel
Description:

Previous research findings suggest that linguistic errors observed in aphasic patients and adult second language learners are similar to a large extent.  In both cases, some impairment is observed particularly in the morpho-syntactic domain.  This project provides a comparative investigation of morpho-syntactic deficits in aphasia and in adult second language acquisition.  In this study, data will be collected from monolingual Turkish aphasic patients and adult second language learners of Turkish and English. Results will be analyzed and interpreted with reference to theories on the loss/acquisition of functional categories.

Pragmatic transfer of Turkish-German and Turkish-English bilinguals
Starting Date:
March, 2004
Expires:
February, 2006
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Leyla Martı (Principal Investigator), Yasemin Bayyurt
Description:

Studies have shown that different norms of verbal behaviour can exist in different cultures. For example, House and Kasper’s (1981) study has shown that German speakers use in general, in requests and complaints, higher levels of directness compared to English speakers. This might serve as an explanation of why native speakers of English usually perceive the verbal behaviour of German learners of English as being rather impolite (for details see; House and Kasper,1981 and also House, 2000). Differences in norms of verbal behaviour can lead to miscommunication. Thus, it seems to be important to investigate norms in different cultures. The main aim of this project is to investigate indirectness and politeness in Turkish requests. Data will be collected from Turkish monolinguals, Turkish-German and Turkish-English bilinguals in order to be able to make cross-cultural comparison. The Turkish of the bilinguals will be analyzed in order to see whether there is pragmatic transfer from German or English into their Turkish.

Factors affecting reading comprehension in a hypermedia environment for advanced learners of English
Starting Date:
September, 2002
Expires:
September, 2005
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Gülcan Erçetin (Principal Investigator), Ayşe Akyel, Yavuz Akbulut
Description:

Since the 80’s there has been a growing interest in the processes second language (L2) readers have used for comprehension. Many researchers, employing think-aloud or verbal reports have examined the types of strategies L2 readers use for comprehension. A recent context of interest has been reading on the computer.  Electronic texts read on the computer have radically different features than conventional texts printed on paper.  Hypertext, for instance, is organized in a nonlinear fashion and is distinguished by the richness and depth of the information it provides through nodes and links.  Hypermedia, on the other hand, incorporates multimedia features and presents information in multiple forms of media (e.g. text, pictures, graphics, audio, video and animation).  According to Leu & Reinking (1996), the use of strategies may be more important in reading electronic texts than reading static texts because the reader is involved in making more decisions regarding the sources of information they need use. Thus, this project has two main purpose: a) to investigate what type strategies L2 readers use in a hypermedia environment and whether these strategies are essentially different from strategies involved in reading conventional text, b) to explore the variables that contribute L2 reading comprehension in a hypermedia environment for advanced learners of English.

Effectiveness of content-based language teaching on English language development of 4th graders
Starting Date:
September, 2002
Expires:
August, 2005
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Cem Alptekin (Principal Investigator), Yasemin Bayyurt, Gülcan Erçetin
Description:

In Turkey, the duration of compulsory education has recently become eight years, moving the official starting point for foreign language instruction from 6th grade (age 11) to 4th grade (age 9). The number of class hours allocated is two hours per week.  However, the reform was affected quite rapidly, within just a few months without no work on developing a new kind of curriculum in the primary grades where virtually none had existed before.  The curriculum designed by the ministry of education is a grammatical one whose effectiveness is questionable at this level.  Thus, a content-/topic-based curriculum was developed by Bayyurt and Alptekin (2001), which paralleled the content of the curriculum required by the Ministry of Education for each grade level. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the new syllabus is effective in promoting English language development of learners at the primary school level.  It is hypothesized that the learners who are taught English using the content-based syllabus will show more development in their reading and listening skills than those learners who are taught English using the grammatical syllabus. This quasi-experimental study is significant in being a longitudinal one.

Foreign language education in primary schools and teacher education
Starting Date:
September, 2002
Expires:
December, 2004
Sponsor:
Boğaziçi University Scientific Projects Commission
Team:
Belma Haznedar
Description:

Recent innovations implemented within the scope of Law no 4306 changed the structure and functioning of the institutions offering primary education in Turkey, the most important one being that primary education institutions would offer education for eight years. In regard to innovations concerning foreign language education in Turkey, the new law required the introduction of foreign languages at primary level, with the option of a second foreign language starting at Grade 6. In line with these goals a new curriculum was designed and approved by the National Board of Education. Recent advances in the implementation of the new law have exerted considerable direct influence on both school-aged pupils and the teaching staff and perhaps more importantly on the programs used at education faculties.The aim for this project is to investigate primary foreign language teaching, with special reference to academic training of language teachers. Apart from subjective views that have no scientific basis, one could hardly find any qualitative or quantitative analysis of the way English is taught to young primary school children. The project is, therefore, hoped to contribute a great deal to the specification and implementation of primary foreign language education policy in Turkey.

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