Our Roving Reporters, Penny Masoura and Valia Gkotsi interview Semiha Kahyalar Gürsoy, one of the speakers of the 37th TESOL Greece International Annual Conference.
1) Who is Semiha Kahyalar Gürsoy? What was a high and a low point you identified in you? How has this helped you evolve personally?
Semiha Kahyalar Gürsoy is an instructor at Preperatory School of Çağ University. She received her master’s degree in English Language Department from Çağ University in 2013 and is a PhD Student there. She was unaware of her potential and sometimes underestimated her capacity. This made her feel inadequate about her talent and skills. Later, the feeling of being inadequate made her take actions to enhance her skills and potential. Now, she is much more confident about her capacity and the things that she can achieve. She is highly work oriented and dedicated to her responsibilities.
2) What is the core message of your poster presentation?
Teachers often provide Corrective Feedback to their students to facilitate and develop their communicative competence. Although there are many different useful Corrective Feedback types, the most preferred one is Recasting, and teachers prefer to provide the most feedback in response to grammatical errors.
3) What motivated you to submit a proposal to the TESOL Greece Convention?
Since TESOL is one of the largest and exclusive organizations for English language teachers, it has inspired me to get the opportunity to participate in this international convention to share experiences, get valuable ideas from distinguished experts from all over the world and be more productive in my field.
4) How is your presentation connected to the Convention’s theme “Join the Education R-Evolution?
The theme of the convention this year is the “revolution”. My small scale study, providing corrective feedback to students, investigated the most preferred type of corrective feedback provided by teachers. Considering the aim of the theme, which is catering to learner’s individual needs, fostering teacher and learner motivation and autonomy, creating a supportive learning environment, and implementing effective teaching environment, I feel that my presentation will make a contribution to each of these areas.
5) Why is it so important to evolve as educators?
Language learning is a complex situation. In this new era, we cannot expect students to make use of only old, traditional methods in this innovative environment. We are now in a post-method era and what we need is internally derived systematic and enlightened methods. Teachers are expected to be eclectic and they are supposed to follow eclectic method which means establishing individual method special for their own teaching environment. So, if this is the case, it is a must for teachers to evolve as educators.
6) In which ways have you evolved or revolutionized your teaching over the last years?
In the past, I was more traditional, and stuck to pre-determined schedules. However, I am now, more aware that there are various issues I should consider when I teach as one pre-determined issue could work well in a classroom setting while the same one could not do in another one. This new millennium offers us new opportunities as well as the new challenges that we need to foster. Hence, I try to make use of and follow most of these opportunities so as to be an eclectic and enlightened teacher.
7) To what extend has the reality of the EFL classroom changed recently?
Learners are now expected to be more active and autonomous players. They are not the passive recipients in classrooms. Teachers are also autonomous and reflective practitioners rather than the authorities. Materials are more authentic.
8) Briefly describe a situation in which your teaching/actions in the classroom had an effect on a student/students. How did this person/these people evolve because of that?
Once I had a student whose level was far lower than his other classmates. His difficulty in catching up with the others was so obvious. At first, I was really hopeless about him, thinking that he would fail. But later, we realized his efforts all together with the other teachers and even with his classmates as well. We kind of rescheduled our class routine and sometimes slowed down during lectures to give him the opportunity to take part in. So, his motivation was always high as he was aware that he was achieving it. In the end, he finished the Preparatary School as one of those honored students with high grades.
9) Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I am teaching at the Preparatory School at Çağ University now, and I want to take part in the ELT department where I think I will have the opportunity to improve my skills and take part in more interesting and important projects with professors I can learn from.
10) What should the motto of an “Education R-Evolution” be?
The motto could be “Enlighten your classrooms, your teaching, and yourself”.