Student Teachers Duygu Serdaroglu, Turkey

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Student Teachers
Duygu Serdaroglu, Turkey
Duygu Serdaroğlu is an English language teacher to adults at TOBB Economics and Technology University in Ankara, Turkey. She holds an M.A in American Poetry with her study in prose and poetry at Hacettepe University in Ankara.


Introduction: A teacher as a student - student teacher

Lead-in: An effective way to teach

Guided practice and the outcomes

Free practice

Introduction: A teacher as a student - student teacher
A teacher should always be innovative and should improve herself everyday to be more efficient and effective as a teacher. The meaning of a teacher is no longer limited with the traditional roles and day by day the teachers are learning new techniques and methods to improve themselves. There have been trainings, workshops, seminars telling how to be an effective teacher and the number of the teachers attending to these development programs is increasing drastically. In almost every school, university, there are units about the professional development and it has become a must for all schools. It is inevitable to be far away from these programs and although many people think that teachers only teach, it is not true as teachers are always students who study maybe much more than students. Thus, teaching and learning are closely related with each other and without learning, there cannot be teaching and without teaching, there cannot be learning.
Teachers learn new things everywhere and every time. There is no limit for learning; in the class, outside the class, through students, colleagues even from their friends who are not teachers. A teacher can use even a simplest word in her classes, as a material for students.
Every teacher is always a new teacher because time passes and when we see the new students every year, we realize that the techniques we have been using for years are not valid any more and we have to add something to us which will then be called experience and through that way a teacher becomes a teacher who is always incomplete.
Lead-in: An effective way to teach
When I attended a teacher training program that summer, I was curious about the course and the teacher and I was looking forward the first lesson. The name of the course was “creative writing” and as I am a graduate of a literature department I was wondering the pace of the classes. The two-week period was not enough but, at the end of the program, I realized that I had learned a lot not only about writing but also a lot of techniques about teaching. The most important thing I’ve learned from our trainer was that he was also a student like as and he was never a trainer, which attracted me a lot. I have been teaching writing lessons for years and the most common problem about teaching how to write is that the students do not want to write and they hate writing. I have tried a lot of methods, although most of them worked, still there are some students who insist on not writing and challenge me about this.
Before the program, in the class while students were writing the first drafts of the essays or paragraphs, I was dealing with the book or with other things I had to do. When I was in the program, I realized that Mario was not dealing with other things while we were writing, but he was also writing and sharing them with us, so there was no distance between us, and I, and I think the other trainees, too, were curious about listening to him and wanted to see what he had written. I thought that, yes I like writing a lot but İ felt more confident and comfortable while he was also writing with us and I am sure although some of us did not like writing wrote something just because Mario was also writing.
Guided practice and the outcomes
In my own writing class, I decided to try it and I assigned an essay to the students in the class and while they were writing, I started to write my own essay. At first the students did not understand what I was writing, but then some of them realized that I was also writing an essay and asking some questions and exchanging some ideas with some of them and they got surprised at first. they thought that I was joking and just pretending to write but when we started to check the first drafts of the essays, one of the students had my essay and checked it and this was a new beginning for the class and they tried to write and as time passed they started to write better and better and everyone started to wait his/her turn to check my essay. It was a new beginning, because of some reasons. First of all, as the students who do not like writing started to write and my writing like a student encouraged them to write. Of course I have planned everything
Before and at the very first week, I told them writing is difficult and I hate writing but we all were going to write all together, would share our ideas and feeling. At that time no one believed me but the, when I was writing the essays, they believed me. Secondly, writing essays with the students is also a very nice way of teaching as there are some mistakes which students commonly make and no matter how often a teacher corrects these mistakes, there are still problems and the students go on making these mistakes. A good technique is that when I was writing the essays with them, I consciously make some mistakes which I see and do not correct frequently in their papers and when a student or a group of students are checking my draft they find these mistakes. It has two advantages one of which is that the students are proud of themselves because they find the teacher’s mistake. The other advantage is that the teacher, in this case I am happy to see they learn these commonly made mistakes and they learn. It is an unplanned learning for them but they never forget this correction and they never make the same mistakes.
Thirdly, the students become more self-confident and they respect themselves. In other words, as they see me when writing, they think that the teacher respects us and she is now one of us and is writing the essay, so she really wants us to learn and respect them and she never sits and watches them and they think that they have to write something because even the teacher is writing something. Thus, they start to write and I know a few students who hate writing, but through this way they are eager to write, at least they decide to try writing. It is a good way to encourage students to write and they see after a while that they can write and in fact writing is not a dreadful monster they are afraid of but a very good ground where they can express their feelings and ideas about a subject.
There is also the other side of the coin; the teacher’s perspective. There are also some advantages for the teacher. To begin with, the teacher does not have to correct all the mistakes on the students’ papers and most of the time it is not a good technique for both sides. For the teacher, the corrections for the every student’s writing are a time-taking activity. Needless to say, it is effective because the students can see the corrections and get a very detailed feedback form the teacher; however, the students go on making the same mistakes because their teacher is always correcting for them. Thus, it takes a lot of time for them to understand the corrections and they are relaxed while writing because they are sure that if they write something wrong, their teacher is always there to correct them. On the other hand, if the teacher is also writing the essays or paragraphs with them, they are more careful in writing and they try to write better and better because the only thing they think is correcting their teacher’s mistake and when they see the teacher’s mistakes, they try not to make the teacher’s mistakes. This method is very effective and practical and by this way the students learn more quickly and they never forget what they learn. Thus, it is a good technique for the teacher to teach the type of the essay as well as the grammar. Moreover, with this technique, it is easier for the teacher to teach the spelling and the punctuation. It has always been difficult for teachers to teach punctuation since through making sentences, the students cannot learn how to use punctuation. It is also the same for spelling. Students hate using dictionaries and they do not want to check a word up, so they are constantly doing the same mistakes and it takes a long time for them to learn and it also takes a along time for the teachers to teach. For this reason, I while writing with my students, make some punctuation and spelling mistakes for the students to find, and surprisingly, they find the mistakes as they are competing with their friends to find the teacher’s “mistakes”, they never repeat the mistakes and they deliberately learn punctuation and they learn how to use a dictionary.
Free practice
Here is one of my essays written in the class with the students and checked one of my students. There are some common mistakes that students make in their essays. In academic writing there are some strict rules about the essays and the students are to obey these rules. It seems as if it restricted the students; however, it is not as the students are free to express their feelings and opinions by obeying these rules.
In the following essay, the type of the essay is the descriptive essay and the students should write the features of a spouse or boy/girl friend. There should be an introduction in which the students give general statement and background information and the last sentence of the introduction should be the thesis statement where the students should write their opinion that they are going to tell in the body paragraphs. In the thesis statement the students should give at least two characteristics and in each body paragraph, by giving three specific qualities they should talk about the categories given in the intro. The body paragraphs are to be supported by giving evidence and examples, if there are no examples the students should explain the qualities.
In the conclusion paragraph, the student should summarize what they tell and restate the thesis. The common mistake made in the conclusion part is that the students write only one sentence as the conclusion, but it is not sufficient.
In the following essay, I make some mistakes such as punctuation, spelling mistake and the use of the form of the words which the students are confused a lot. When I correct them on their papers they repeat the mistakes as it is easier for them to be corrected by the teacher. Since I started to write my own essays with the students in the class, they have been curious about my mistakes and they have been fond of correcting me. As a result of this, they started not to make the mistakes and they started to understand their mistakes better. It is obvious that essay writing with the students in the class is beneficial not only for the students but also for the teacher.

Original text

Typed up version of the text

The percentage of divorce is increasing day by day. There are many reasons fort his; however, the most important reason is people do not know each other and then they decide divorcing to divorce in a short time. If they know each other well, they can be happier. I believe, personality are two importance thing for choose a spouse. Personality and appearance are two important things for choosing a spouse.

One of the important things is personality when choosing to choose a spouse. To begin with, a man should be polite. Politeness is important,(X) because,(X) it is related to respect. I should not be embarrassed when I am with him. Secondly, he should be honest. He should not say tell lies to me and we should trust each other. Lastly, he should be easygoing. He should get on well with my friends and my family.

Appearance is the other important thing for me about man I am going to marry with (X). First, he should be handsome. I want to make people jealous of us when we are together. Next, he should be athletic.(X) Bbecause I like doing sports and if he is athletic; this means he likes doing sports, too. Third, he should have a good and nice smiling smile. This attracts me a lot and I can be happier when he smiles.

To sum up, appearance and personality are two significance significant things form e and these are two essential things about a people person. Friendship is very important and I like my friends. IRRELEVANT!!

The student who checked the essay written by the teacher has improved a lot and now he can see the mistakes better. The reason for his noticing the mistakes is that, the mistakes are the most frequently mistakes he used to do. One interesting thing about the students and this paper is that he student did not know that it was the teacher’s essay. Without knowing this, he checked the essay and after finding all the mistakes, he learned the fact and he was proud of himself. It is better for the teacher to change his/her hand writing a little bit in each paper because the students get more self-confident when they later learn the writer of the essay.
As a writing teacher I have been using this method, technique or this way - there is no need to give a name to it, in my opinion - and I saw that it really works and it has many advantages. It is a good way to help students in writing and to make them love writing. Many students do not like writing; actually, they hate writing, but wit the help of these challenging ways, the teacher can teach writing in an enjoyable way and help students to realize that they can write and writing is one of the good ways to express themselves.
The Expert Teacher course can be viewed here.

The Building Positive Group Dynamics course can be viewed here.

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