The Culture of Turkey
Identification: The English word "Turkish" comes from the ancient Turkish word Türk , which can be used as an adjective or a proper noun. In Turkish, the name
of the country is Türkiye . After decades of nationalistic indoctrination, most citizens self-identify as Turks regardless of ethnic background.
Some of the major non-Turkish ethnic group-the Kurds in the southeast, the Arabs in the south, the Laz of the western Black Sea coast, and the Georgians
in the northeast and northwest-express double identities.
Location and Geography. Turkey occupies Asia Minor and a small portion of Europe. Its area is 301,382 square miles (814,578 square kilometers). It is bounded
on the west by the Aegean Sea; on the northwest by the Sea of Marmara, Greece, and Bulgaria; on the north by the Black Sea; on the east by
Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran; and on the south by Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean. Although Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is the major
city and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the first president - Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - chose Ankara, an interior Anatolian city, as the capital in
1923. Militarily Ankara was less exposed and more easily defended than Istanbul. The choice also symbolized Ataturk's policy of nationalism, because
Ankara was more Turkish and less cosmopolitan than the old capital.
Turkey has 4,454 miles of coastline. The interior consists of mountains, hills, valleys, and a high central plateau. The western coastal plains are generally
more densely populated and industrial than are the central and eastern regions, except for Ankara on the central Anatolian plateau. Because
Asia Minor had been home to Lydians, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans over the centuries, it is dotted with historic monuments.
Physiographically, the country may be divided into five regions. The Black Sea region has a moderate climate and higher than average rainfall. It is
dominated by the Pontic mountain range. The west is noted for agriculture, including grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tobacco. In the more
humid east, the mountains leave a narrow coastal plain rarely exceeding twenty miles wide. The Black Sea peoples settled and farmed the valleys and narrow
alluvial fans of the area's rivers, developing a form of steep slope agriculture to grow vegetables and fruits. Tea, the major cash crop, did not
become popular until the 1960s. Some villagers combined gardening with transhumant pastoralism, which involves grazing small herds of sheep, goats,
and cattle on the lowlands in the winter and in the high Pontic pastures in the summer.
Turkish Teacher hints, advice and tips
I know from my own experience that being on a continual path of self-improvement is an absolute necessity toward be a good teacher. Hang out with other educators that you admire. Watch them closely and learn from them. Imitation is the greatest compliment! Join your Turkish language association (AATT - http://aatturkic.org) plus two foreign language teacher associations (state and national: ACTFL- (http://www.actfl.org) and attend their annual meetings on a regular basis. Get involved anyway you can with each. Rub noses with people at the TOP. Get to know the officers personally. Keep in contact with them. Use these association offerings, suggestions and resources.
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS OF TURKIC LANGUAGES, founded in 1985 as the American Association of Teachers of Turkish, is a private, non-profit, non-political organization of individuals interested in the languages of the Turks. The objective of the Association is to advance and improve the teaching of the languages of the Turks; to promote study, criticism, and research in the field of the languages and literatures of the Turks; and to further the common interests of teachers of these subjects.
Whenever you can in your own environment, ask to observe colleagues in action in their classroom. Pick up ideas that work for them and adopt and adapt them to you own classroom. Always be on the "lookout" for new ideas, new means of teaching, new ways to incorporate things that work for others into your own methodology. Don't hesitate to ask questions of teachers who have had much success as to how and why that happened. I used to observe elementary teachers and how they interacted with their young students. Always something to learn. "Learn from the mistakes of others. You'll never live long enough to make all of them yourself." Another that I always loved is "If you think you're green, you'll grow - if you think you're ripe, you'll rot." All true. Don't rot! That's an axiom that will never grow old. You may think that you are the best, but you're not. There is always someone better than you. (I learned this playing basketball) Learn from them. Know what the best practices are and be aware of the current online resources that can be of great help to you and your Turkish language students.
Keep your classroom presentations FRESH. Keep up with innovation and the changing needs of your students by incorporating technology such as computer use, iPhones, iPads, e-mail and a host of other innovations into your routine classroom activities to communicate with others in the target language and to access authentic resources. Stay current with options and trends in the field such as the National Standards and know how to incorporate them into your daily plans. Hopefully these few ideas will aid in your growth and success. Stay with it. Don't throw in the towel like many have, but again as I point out above, whatever new ideas you discover, you must first adopt and then adapt. Not everything you see elsewhere will work for you as I have personally learned. You must adapt those ideas to your own classroom. There are a host of great ideas available on all these sites, but they are only as successful as you will make them. And perhaps most important of all, do ask your students often how they feel about what they are doing and learning and what they enjoy the most and the least in your classroom. Most of all, do enjoy your students and share yourself with them. [They don't care how much you know until they know how much you CARE] I hope that you picked up some ideas here that will aid in your total success. Have fun in your classroom. (ps I picked up these ideas in a recent dream and wanted to share with each of you) I'm 72 but never too old to learn and never too old to share ideas. Best yet, why not be learning another language yourself? Check out one of the sites above. It is a great means to experience first-hand what your students are feeling. Now you are "walking in their shoes." Don't forget to have FUN doing it. (See Below) jeb BA, MA, ABD
Learning Games and Fun Activities for the Turkish Classroom
A wide array of proven fun games and learning activities for teachers to use in the classroom.
35 years of classroom experience for students and their teachers to enjoy.
Turkey at a glance