Turkey's 'English Together' project at the IATEFL International Conference

15th May 2023

The IATEFL Conference in Harrogate last month was delighted to welcome a Turkish delegation for the second year running. The delegation of 22 members included representatives from the British Council and the Ministry of National Education Teacher Training and Development General Directorate, as well as English language teachers. Teachers from across Turkey were selected based on their success in a competition where they shared their best practices and applications of new methodologies learned through the ‘English Together’ project. They delivered three presentations on different topics in English language teaching.

The ’English Together’ project, implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education Teacher Training and Development General Directorate, British Council, and Sabanci Foundation, aims to support the professional and personal development of English language teachers in Turkey. Its intention is to create a sustainable continuous professional development system for English language teachers in the country reaching all English teachers in Turkey by 2024.  The delegation shared the achievements and the learning points from this large-scale national project at the IATEFL Conference and presented three joint papers on the following topics;

  • Creating and Sustaining a Large-Scale Continuing Professional Development Model
  • How do we know that Communities of Practice work?
  • Empowering the teacher: the growth from teacher to an ‘expert’’

The delegation was led by senior representatives from the Ministry of National Education, including the Press Advisor Yildiz Aktas Ozdogan, General Director of Teacher Training and Development Directorate Cevdet Vural, Head of Research, Development, and Projects Department of the Teacher Training and Development Directorate Ilkay Aydin, and Director Education at the British Council in Turkey Aysen Guven.

Cevdet Vural, General Director of the Teacher Training and Development Directorate at the Ministry of National Education said:

“The success achieved with our Continuous Professional Development model designed for English language teachers is truly remarkable, and the success stories of our teachers in the field are truly inspiring. We are thrilled to share our success stories and project experiences with experts and English teachers from different countries at an international conference. This year, we have reached 24,145 English teachers from 81 provinces through our project. Our teachers have worked collaboratively to develop solutions that are tailored to local needs using our applied training model and have shared their best practices in innovative language teaching approaches with their colleagues. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the teachers who have been diligently working in the field and actively participating in the implementation of Professional Development Communities. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the British Council and the Sabanci Foundation for their tireless efforts and unwavering support to us, especially to our teachers in the field, throughout the duration of the project.”

Aysen Güven, Director Education at the British Council and former IATEFL SIG Coordinator, described the current state of the project as follows:

"As part of the ‘English Together’ project, we had the opportunity last year to take our English teachers to the IATEFL Conference, which is considered one of the most important events in global English language teaching, and connect them with their British and international colleagues. Connecting state school English language teachers with the UK English language teaching sector has been one of the key principles of our project. Participating in the IATEFL Conference has become one of the highlights of our project. We are delighted to have shared our project, which we are carrying out with the Ministry of National Education, General Directorate of Teacher Training and Development, with English language teachers and officials from other countries. Our goal is to further enhance this international professional interaction.”

Jon Burton, Chief Executive of IATEFL added:

"It was wonderful to welcome the delegation from Turkey to the IATEFL International Conference for the second year. This time our delegates had the opportunity to learn more about this impressive and impactful project ,and see how it might have aspects and outcomes which could be transferable to other teaching contexts in other countries. Such collaboration and exchanges are so valuable and ensure shared learning and shared development across our profession.