My article was shared by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LEARNING UK Facebook Page . I am honored. Thank You.
This article is about a publication. Before I give review about it, I want to summarize what and why matters. First of all, I want to point some basic problems of ELT in Turkey. I have been a teacher of English since 2006. I have tried to apply holistic approach in my ELT classes. This approach sees language as a whole, which is not divisible in a meaningful way for teaching. This contrasts with an atomistic approach to language, which attempts to analyse language into parts, such as grammatical structures or functional exponents, which can later become the content of a syllabus. A holistic approach would focus on everything the learner needs to know to communicate effectively. 1
The main reason why English language can not be learned properly in Turkey, is the atomistic approach which heavily focuses on grammar and this negatively effects ELT curriculum. This approach, unlike holistic approach, transmits only formal and logical structures of the given sets of language written on the papers and it never considers the communicative part of the language which lives in the daily life of real people. I also think the quality of Language Teacher Education in our country is not good enough to promote language learning in positive way.This is mostly because of the atomistic curriculum. But teaching community in Turkey unfortunately tends to find excuses out of the community itself. Good teachers know, no scapegoat can save You from Your sins. This is important theme for an another article.
The most important negative factor in ELT teaching curriculum, is the testing system in Turkey which is claimed to use for the evaluation of learning outputs. We unfortunately constructed a generation who just can recite but can not innovate. This problem is not local or just because of our fault, it is something post-industrial logic of education produces. This problem can even be observed in some developed countries. We neglect some basic properties of being human, like arts and music which also promote language learning. Conversely, tests can be used as a feedback mechanism that will lead learners to learn from their mistakes rather than a determiner as one for all. I also want to write another article dedicated to this problem in near future.
In this article, I want to share a very good news from ELT publication world which diagnoses problems stated above and prepares a prescription for ELT teachers worldwide. It is a collaborative act consists of World’s most respectful institutions in their fields such as National Geography Learning, TED and Cangage. I have used related materials from NG and TED since 2008 and I also recommend my students to follow periodical publications about science, technology and arts in English language.
When I use these kinds of teaching materials in my classes, students can witness the daily life of the real people and discover real places. The basic contribution of this approach students can get the cultural notions and living language. While they are doing the activity like any TED Talk, they listen, react, evaluate then they can process what is given and produce meaningful language outputs in the follow-up activities. They participate because most of the subjects are related to technology, arts and innovation. So, the classroom management for teachers is nothing to worry about.
As I stated in the beginning of the article, I have been a teacher of English since 2006. I have studied and analyzed many course and ELT books for providing better learning oppurtunities to my students. I had to use TED & NG materials as supportive materials in my classes according to the curriculum. Generally, most known ELT publications are mostly twin brothers&sisters. They are loyal to their way of teaching and methods. This may be because of the very same staffs who decide the methodology, scopes and the contents of the books. This publication policy sometimes can be changed with minor tweaks from daily life contents but most of which still are adapted according to levels determined by same policy makers.
For the first time I have encountered something like nothing. I am truly amazed. This is World English and 21st Century Reading course books from Nat Geo & Cengage. I came across them while I was searching TED Talks as usual for my class teaching. I saw the add then clicked it and I checked everything provided. A big Woooooww.. The happiness was speechless. Think this, a teacher came across course books in a usual surfing. Those books are which mostly use what he often uses in classes for years. It is something like You suddenly bumped into a wonderland. And I said to myself ; Dude down the rabbit hole..
This collaborative publication is provided by Cengage Learning Publications. This was the first time I came across with a Cengage book. But World English and 21st Century Reading books are more than enough for them to conquer my heart.Then I looked up for Cengage office or a representative in Turkey. Sadly, they have not got official bureau in Turkey. I found contact information of Steve King, International Marketing Manager of National Geographic Learning and Cengage Learning. I immediately wrote an e-mail to ask further information about National Geographic Learning&TED partnership publications. He replied me the day after. He kindly gave me the contact info of Charlotte Ellis who is based in the UK. He said Charlotte Ellis can help me about my inquiries into their books and the TED & NG partnership. She immediately answered my e-mail. She informed me they work very closely with Kardeş Kitap and suggested me get in touch with Leon Can Izerel from Kardeş Kitap with his contact infos again. I directly called him and he asked my personal contact info and address to send me sample books and related materials. Then Ecevit Çakartaş who is regional dealer of Çağdaş ELT in İzmir called me and said he would be glad to give any assist I need. He got my contact infos again and sent all sample books and related materials within two days to my address. I got them the 25th of September on Tuesday.
Why did I write all those boring traffic? Just because I want to show how responsible companies should get in touch with teachers. I really appreciate the sincerity and the celerity during this traffic. They all behave in a manner that You are a dedicated teacher not a candidate customer. Thank You All…I hope one day all companies in Turkey will provide such high quality help to teachers.
I have inspected the books &workbooks since then. My initial impression is as same as the first one when I downloaded sample PDFs. The Books were prepared meticulously to serve each areas of language learning and they are integrated as a whole. Each unit was designed to promote language and world knowledge awareness at the same time. Overall scope is clean, related to daily use language and it covers real people and places. The units aim to teach not just English but also to learn how to learn. Students are let to be life long learners by discovering language actively. Also this makes teachers as Docendo Discimus (Latin “by teaching, we learn”) All of these qualities make World English and 21st Century Reading books unique. Thanks again to All those who took part in to create such good books to inspire students and teachers.
You can download sample units by clicking ” Look Inside ” areas on the pages in the links below ;
Notes; 1 Teaching English.org