Turkish Global Simulation: A Modern Strategy for Teaching Language and Culture Using Web Technologies
Simulation and games
Teaching Turkish culture
Teaching Turkish language
Turkish as a foreign language
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn spite of the increased emphasis since being designated by the United States National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) as one of the sixteen critical languages, the number of students studying Turkish at the university level is small (MLA, 2015). During implementation of this project, several problems unique to Turkish arose. According to the Defense Language Institute (DLI), the degree of difficulty for English language speakers to learn Turkish is greater than that of most European languages because of the vast cultural differences between the United States and Turkey. There is one commonly used textbook at the university level across the United States (Öztopçu) which succeeds in delivering the teaching materials suitable for a traditional classroom but fails to provide opportunities for students to develop cultural and communicative competence. Additionally, it fails to offer digital technology, such as online study materials, which many students would prefer to have included in their academic studies (ECAR, 2014). The Turkish Global Simulation (TGS) project offers a solution: the development of effective teaching materials that would provide students access to the Turkish language and culture using the latest technologies that students already use and enjoy. The TGS was based on the French Apartment Building (Dupuy, 2006a, 2006b), which exemplifies relevant task-based instruction. The French Apartment Building project helps students attain communicative competence and cultural literacy through books and web resources, and focuses on improving students' reading and writing skills. The TGS allows students to experience a virtual life as a tenant in an apartment building in Istanbul. This is accomplished with the use of web applications (Facebook, Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Voice, emails, Blogger, chats, text messages, podcasting, audio-video files, 3-D maps, and Google Bookmarks), and authentic materials (e.g. movie/music clips). I delivered the tasks and the materials—in accordance with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) standards—through the TGS project, which was first piloted and run successfully for several years to teach second-year second-semester university Turkish learners. The project involves a semester-long simulated life in a Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) environment, and promotes cultural and communicative competence while motivating students to be virtually connected to a new culture, autonomous, and lifelong learners. The specific research questions address: 1. How does the TGS project affect student’s cultural competence? 2. How effective is the TGS project as a context for language learning? 3. How do students compare the TGS with more traditional learning methods? How do teachers evaluate the Turkish textbook? 4. How effective is Internet technology in the TGS project? A number of different instruments were used to measure the effectiveness of global simulation in promoting cultural competence: oral interviews, ACTFL standards textbook evaluations, Flashlight surveys, teacher-course evaluations, and the TGS final exams. The results revealed that the success of global simulation in Turkish has clear implications for teaching not only Turkish, but also other less commonly taught languages, for which the classroom is the predominant method for American university students to learn a foreign language and culture.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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