Professional Development Unit
The Professional Development Unit (PDU) of the School of Foreign Languages aims to imprint instructors a certain feeling of life-long learning and self-directed teacher learning and development. Teachers' own learning and development has a big impact on learners' learning and motivation. That's why teachers’ shared practices, self-reflections, peer reflections and observations are the main practices of our unit.
We aim to support all instructors in the areas of pedagogy and effective teaching strategies as well as encourage them to actively participate in their own professional development. To this end, our unit offers a variety of professional development tools as well as provides constant mentorship and constructive feedback throughout this process.
PDU offers two main training programs to help SFL instructors grow professionally:
Our mentorship program aims not only to help the new teachers in our institution adapt to the school climate and culture but also assist new teachers with curriculum, teaching strategies, and communication skills.
- At the beginning of the new year, an orientation programme is implemented to make new teachers familiar with the school.
- Mentorship Training Meeting is held for our mentors to inform them about what the needs of a mentor are and how their behavior towards their mentees should be.
- A Workshop for Mentees is implemented to help them become aware of the things they should do in their teaching journey at our school.
Mentors and mentees come together on some certain days and they fulfil some tasks throughout the year.
Tasks are as follows:
- marking quizzes, midterms
- planning lessons
- using technological tools in the classroom
- implementing production activities
- video recorded observation
In-Service Training Program
Our in-service training program aims to provide all SFL instructors with opportunities for reflecting on their own instructional practices through providing constant support in the areas of pedagogy, curricula, and institutional goals as well as to provide new instructors with the necessary information enabling them to quickly adjust to the school climate and culture. To this end, the following key PD activities are employed:
At regular intervals, implementing surveys to the instructors to identify and validate their professional needs.
Organizing internal and external essential trainings such as workshops, seminars, or webinars to meet instructors’ developmental needs and support their professional growth.
Our training program has long placed a high value on lesson observations as we strongly believe that both novice and senior instructors can build a toolkit of teaching strategies they can use in their lessons by receiving constructive feedback on their instructional practice from a trainer, by watching how other instructors deliver classes, handle classroom management issues, and connect with students, as well as by engaging in a self-reflection process which will enable them to identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
What we aim to see and pay attention during an observation is;
- Teaching methodology and how teachers approach to learners' learning in a 21st century tertiary level classroom
- Areas that teachers feel that they are strong
- Areas they need to develop further
- Technology use and how comfortable teachers feel
PO aims to give teachers an opportunity to apply what teachers have learned from each other and to improve their own teaching methods.
We also encourage our instructors to engage in doing action research as a tool of professional development. Action research is defined as “an activity where teachers conduct systematic inquiry into some aspect of their work in order to extend their professional understanding and to enhance student learning” (Dikilitaş, 2015, p.27). To this end, instructors who would like to engage in this PD activity follow the sequence below:
- Identifying some instructional puzzles to work on,
- Deciding on a particular issue with their assigned trainers,
- Biweekly meetings about their progress, receiving feedback, and deciding on the next steps
- On a voluntary base, sharing their research findings with other professionals in different settings.