Saturday, April 30, 2011

It’s time to learn Turkish

Now that you better understand your learning styles, you’ve created a study space that reflects your personal styles, you’ve found the time to study and your goals are set! Well, now you just have to roll up your sleeves and learn Turkish.

Which program is best for you?

Just like there is no perfect teacher, there is no perfect language learning program. Each book, audio program and computer program differs based upon the training, experience and teaching philosophies of the people who created these programs. Some writers have varying degrees of language teaching expertise upon which they draw when creating their programs. These writers made choices about how to present the material based upon their varying levels of understanding about learning styles and language acquisition. In the end, they decided how to present the material, which items they believed were critical to the success of learning language and which items could be omitted. For that reason, the best thing you can do is to look at what’s available and match the material as best as you can to your learning style and needs.
Inexpensive learning tools

I did a search for “learn Turkish” on YouTube and got 7,650 hits. I did a search for “learn Turkish online” on Google and got 891,000 hits. Many free and inexpensive sites offer opportunities to have Turkish learning at your fingertips any time of the day or night! Add those tools to the fact that if you are reading this article, there is a good chance you actually live here in Turkey, where the language spoken is Turkish. There are Turkish “teachers” on the streets and in the stores 24/7. With this knowledge in mind, you can understand how you could be a completely successful Turkish language learner without stepping foot into a traditional classroom.
Finding a Turkish learning partner

You may, however, thrive in a more traditional education setting and will therefore be seeking out a professional teacher or class.

When looking for a Turkish teacher, reflect back on your learning goals. If you want to learn how to read, write and speak Turkish, you may want to consider a teacher trained to work at the college level. If you want to learn the informal, colloquial language to socialize with your Turkish friends, you may want to practice out in the community. If you choose to work with a teacher, you will want to learn about the background, experience and focus of the teacher. How long has the teacher been teaching Turkish? How did this person learn Turkish and who trained this teacher? Reflect on the teacher’s teaching space, use of materials and goals to consider if it matches your own style or supports the way in which you learn. Some people choose more than one Turkish teacher to try out styles that are different from their own to see if a new approach might help them to learn Turkish more efficiently. Ultimately, finding a Turkish teacher is a personal choice. Focus on finding the teacher who supports your goals and personal styles, as well as one who helps you feel energized and excited about learning Turkish.

There are also several Turkish language schools in the market. Unlike a private course, these courses don’t have the capability to adjust their classes to each individual’s learning styles and personal goals. For that reason, it will be your job to interact with the materials provided by the program in a way that will honor your personal learning styles and goals.

Even though a classroom setting will probably not touch on each individual’s learning styles, it’s very important that you interview a potential school to get a feel for their educational philosophy (if any) and what you could expect from the class. Some sample questions could be:
What is a typical class like in terms of length and activities?
Do you follow a specific method of teaching Turkish?
How many years has this program been providing Turkish instruction?
What are the qualifications of the teachers?
What is the cost of the program and what options do you offer?
What is the timetable for the classes?
How do you evaluate a student’s success?
What makes this program different from your competition?
How much time do you expect students to work outside of class?

Having the answers to these questions will help you make the choice of program. Match the answers to your needs. For example, if you are a morning person and only one of the programs offers morning classes, that might sway your decision. Don’t just take the first course that you find -- shop around. These schools are careful to hire expert sales people who are masters at winning potential students over. Take the time to interview the representative carefully and take a couple of days to mull over the answers and compare them to the answers from the other schools before you make your decision.
The bottom line

All languages learned in adulthood are learned on purpose.

Take the time and effort to seek out learning partners, instructors, programs or other means of advancing your current knowledge of Turkish that match your goals and meet your learning style. Try out different ways of learning Turkish and keep a log of what works and what does not work for you. Learning a new language can be lots of fun. You will meet new people, stimulate your brain and increase your confidence in speaking Turkish. Enjoy learning Turkish -- kolay gelsin!



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