TEACHING TURKISH THROUGH TOCHON’S DEEP APPROACH

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Francois Victor Tochon, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Applied Semiotics and Second Language Education  at the University of Wisconsin—Madison develop the Deep Approach to languages and cultures through a Title 6 grant. He applied this approach to the Turkish language and later extended his project to other languages as well.

Having the privilege of being part of Tochon’s team and learning directly from him through workshops, information sessions, I was able to evaluate our yearly performances for over 5 years. We have received a great deal of information and developed an exceptional program here at Columbia University. During this time, I have also spent a year in Istanbul Turkey at Suleyman Shah University. Both at Columbia and SSU, I have introduced Tochon's Deep Approach to the University and overseen its implementation into courses I have taught and in the English language prep school in Turkey.

Language learning has been a big challenge in the Turkish education system for a long time. Even the best educational institutions are struggling with the challenges of teaching languages. Our experience at Suleyman Shah University was, however, an exceptional one. Through the application of Tochon's Deep Approach, we observed students' dramatic change in language learning as well as their building self-esteem and inner motivation for learning. 

The Turkish program here at Columbia University has a story of a great achievement in the area of language learning. Distinctively from conventional classifications, we have developed the learning process into three real life experience levels: (1) me and my world, (2) outside world narratives and finally (3) an abstract and professional expertise level. When students learn about real proficiency targets they develop very fast. We have achieved much success in taking our students to the level of outside world narratives within the Introductory year. At the intermediate level already, we take our students from outside world narratives to abstract and professional expertise areas. Students' positive responses and enthusiasms also encourage us to go further. 

Tochon's Deep Approach is perfect for languages and cultures learning in many ways. First of all, it establishes self-esteem, fuels student’s inner motivation, and gives everyone hope for future success. After taking deep Turkish language courses many students have chosen a professional life that is related to the language they learned. Among them, professional translators, historians, journalists' expert on Turkey, policy analysts are among the many successful graduates of our program.

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