London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

A holistic perspective to English language teaching in Europe: Language, culture and identity project

Author(s) Issa, I., Tuz, F. & Önder, A.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2011  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World  
Age group -  
This paper presents the findings of a project that developed alternative pedagogic approaches to English language teaching in Early Years contexts (ages 3-6) in an independent school in Istanbul-Turkey. The school provides education for children from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in addition to those from mainly Turkish speaking homes. English language teaching is central to all learning and forms the basis of a whole school ethos taught from nursery to college level. The school was keen to develop their existing English language teaching further. This was based on lessons delivered in Turkish in Homeroom in the mornings and timetabled input by language teachers in the afternoons in English class. Although there were good pedagogic approaches used by both groups of teachers, lack of commonality in focus, content and approach was observed between them. The project incorporated an inclusive approach to teaching (using children’s own linguistic and cultural experiences as a starting point) that developed English Language learning within a holistic/ thematic approach used by all teachers. Our findings showed that holistic approach to English language learning, supported through (a jointly planned) thematic work contributed to more active participation and collaboration between the children with positive outcomes in English language tasks. Parallel to this we have observed a marked difference in children’s own perceptions of their linguistic and cultural identities and those around them, creating a more inclusive environment as future citizens of Europe.

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