Strengths and Weaknesses of Primary School English Language Teaching Programs in Turkey: Issues Regarding Program Components

Ali Erarslan
Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University
Keywords: English language teaching program, evaluation, language teaching, primary school, program components


Today, the ability to communicate in English is a need brought about by the globalization process encompassing developments in many fields such as science and technology. To address this need, English language teaching programs in Turkey (henceforth ELTP) underwent substantial changes within the larger curriculum reform movements taking place in 1997, 2006 and 2013, the last of which is also called the 4+4+4 education system. In these ELTPs, major differences were based on primary school English language teaching and learning. However, there is a growing claim that these ELTPs did not achieve the intensions in equipping primary school students with the necessary communicative skills in English. Thus, this integrative literature review study aims to explore the results of the evaluation studies so as to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each ELTP regarding such program components as aims and outcomes, content, materials, and testing and assessment. In line with this, studies conducted to evaluate the 1997, 2006 and 2013 ELTPs were examined thoroughly, and their findings were identified for the analysis. The analysis of the studies showed that problems with the ELTPs under evaluation included not carefully written aims and outcomes failing to include all domains. It also reveals problems with the selection and design of the content and materials which failed to be adequate and effective. Lastly, reliance on paper-based assessment even failing to include productive skills is seen to be another problem. All these issues seem to be persistent over all the ELTPs, thus they call for careful consideration and action for the improvement of further program changes.

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