[R4732] AATT Roundtable: Focus on the Learner

Created by Pelin Basci
Sunday, 11/19/17 10:30am


Focus on the Learner

The state of teaching scholarship in Turkish has been defined by the changing academic interests and curricular needs of its learners. In turn, learners' exposure to Turkish as the target language has been taking place within a particular cultural, historical, and academic setting: Turkish is not a language with a sizable heritage community in the United States. It takes a dedicated learner to look in the direction of Turkish--a lesser commonly taught, Ural-Altaic language--as a foreign language option.

Meanwhile, sheer intellectual curiosity or learner motivation does not flourish autonomously. Among the determining factors are learners' perceptions of the target country and its culture, prospects for attending study-abroad programs, career opportunities in government, business, and other sectors of the economy, and intersections with academic fields across the university curriculum.

In the United States, academic institutions which house regular Turkish programs that go beyond the occasional study of first- or second-year Turkish are still few and far between. Turkish occupies a fairly precarious position inside academia, which has recently turned away from the humanities--including language study--as a building block of a well-rounded university education.

Under these conditions, who are the Turkish learners in our universitiese Where do they come froma What are their experiences like in particular institutional settingsa What happens to them once they graduatee The proposed roundtable will focus on Turkish learners within the changing context of higher education (universities and colleges) in the United States and North America. It will focus on the backgrounds, needs, expectations, and experiences of Turkish learners, as well as the opportunities that they can find.

The roundtable will explore why students take Turkish and whether there is any articulation between high-school and university language programs, as well as between graduate and undergraduate programs within the United States, and between the United States and Turkey. It will inquire about who the Turkish alumni are--the career paths and future prospects of Turkish graduates from institutions of higher education. In addition to data and experiences shared by professionals in the field, the roundtable aims to feature interviews conducted with current or former students of Turkish. Questions and concerns related to student recruitment and retention will be examined. Finally, we will look into experiences with and proposals for advocacy concerning the teaching and learning of Turkish in North America.


AATT provides MESA Conference registration fees for Roundtable participants who do not have support from their own institutions


American Association of Teachers of Turkic Languages (AATT)





Erika H. Gilson

(Princeton University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Pelin Basci

(Portland State University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer;

Saadet Ebru Ergul

(Stanford University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Melike Yucel

(University of Washington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;