Challenges of English Language Teaching in High Schools in Turkey and Possible Suggestions to Overcome Them

Aycan Demir Ayaz
Middle East Technical University
Sinem Ozkardas
University of Waterloo,
Tuba Ozturan
Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University
Keywords: High school English classes, challenges, suggestions, attitudes of teachers and students


The English language curriculum prepared by the Ministry of National Education for high schools in Turkey seems to be satisfactory in theory, but the related studies about the attitudes of actual practitioners towards English classes in high schools are not detailed and comprehensive enough. This study aims to fill this gap. To do so, qualitative research was conducted with 13 English language teachers and 55 high school students from different parts of Turkey. They were asked for their opinions, applications, observations, and challenges of the English language teaching system in their high schools and some suggestions for the problematic issues were requested from them via open-ended questions. The data were analyzed descriptively; the results showed that most teachers are not satisfied with the coursebooks, crowded classes, quite limited class hours, and unmotivated students. Their main suggestions cover the privatization of education, having language libraries, labs, speaking clubs, and more lesson hours for English and decreasing the number of students in each classroom. Additionally, teachers want to attend international seminars to become aware of the latest methods/sources. Students have some valuable suggestions for the improvements as well. Nearly all of the students are unhappy about the coursebooks; thus, they suggest them to be revised. They also want to join international projects and improve their language skills. As a result of the study, suggestions covering many issues like coursebooks, assessment, teacher training, and European projects were proposed with an aim to diminish the gap between theories and applications in real classes.

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