Department Vision and History
About the Department
The Department of Foreign Language Education offers B.A, M.A., and Ph.D. programs in English Language Teaching; M.A. and Ph.D. programs in English Literature. Taking into consideration the latest developments in the field, students are provided with a solid foundation in the English language, English literature, methodology, educational sciences, and linguistics in order to make them fully qualified teachers of English in primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions.
The M.A. and Ph.D. programs in ELT introduce major theoretical and methodological issues in English Language Teaching and provide students with a firm foundation in the theoretical and applied aspects of the field. Both programs focus on current issues in teaching and learning languages and the professional development of language teachers. The M.A. and Ph.D. programs in ELIT aim at providing students with a thorough knowledge of English literature from the Middle Ages to our day; outstanding writers and their major works are studied, and the relationships between literature and intellectual trends and between literature and social problems are investigated. Students are expected to develop a critical approach to literature; they are taught the critical theories from Plato to Poststructuralism. The program prepares those who intend to teach English literature in high schools where the medium of instruction is English and those who intend to become research assistants in the English Literature Departments of universities.
Graduates from ELT can work as curriculum specialists, program administrators, and testers in educational institutions. Graduates from ELIT can work as English teachers in high schools, preparatory schools of universities, and as research assistants in the English Departments of universities.
History of the Department
The Department of Foreign Language Education was created in the fall of 1982 as one of the original departments of the newly-established Faculty of Education. The first academic staff of the department was composed of former members of the former Department of Humanities of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. When that department was dissolved, the philosophy staff formed the nucleus of the newly-created Philosophy Department, while the history staff formed the nucleus of the newly-created History Department. Those staff members who had been primarily concerned with the teaching of English and other foreign languages became the first members of the newly-created Department of Modern Languages (of the School of Foreign Languages), while those staff members who held doctorate degrees in English Literature or Linguistics formed the nucleus of the Department of Foreign Language Education.
Please see here for very insightful interviews (in Turkish) on the early years of the department with some of the first academic staff members: Prof. Ayten Coşkunoğlu-Bear, the first chair of the department, Prof. Joshua Bear, Prof. Meral Çileli, Prof. Hüsnü Enginarlar, and Prof. Nursel İçöz.
As the Department had been created after the 1982 University Entrance Examination, there were no incoming Freshman students during the 1982-83 academic year. During that year, the Department offered elective courses in literature and linguistics as electives to students in other departments. Furthermore, the Department took over the M.A. Program in English Language Teaching (Turkey's first such program), which had been opened by the Department of Humanities in the late 1970s.
During the 1982-83 academic year, the Department also worked on the design of an undergraduate curriculum to be submitted to the Higher Education Council for approval and to be implemented during the following academic year. However, the Higher Education Council designed its own curriculum and distributed it to all Faculties of Education for implementation during the 1983-84 academic year. (In 1984, METU and Boğaziçi University were granted a limited degree of flexibility. The FLE Department at METU, at that time, added a number of literature courses to its curriculum, while Boğaziçi supplemented the YOK curriculum with a number of linguistic courses).
Over the years, the department gradually improved its undergraduate curriculum, in keeping with student needs and developments in the field. However, in 1998 The Higher Education Council once again issued a new undergraduate curriculum to be implemented by all Faculties of Education. While basically adhering to that curriculum, the Department has made certain modifications with the aim of improving the curriculum.
Although the Higher Education Council determined a uniform objective for all Departments of Foreign Language Education, the training of secondary school foreign language teachers, the FLE Department at METU, from the very beginning had much broader objectives, primarily stemming from the fact that it had a multi-disciplinary staff, hence a multi-disciplinary perspective. The Department has always considered itself fortunate to have a staff consisting of specialists not only in the field of foreign language education but in literature and linguistics as well. Hence, literature and linguistics were not relegated to a secondary position but were seen as constituting an essential part of the professional formation of language teachers.
Drawing upon the Department's staff resources in the field, in 1983, a Master's degree program was established in English Literature. In the same year, the Department established a Ph.D. program in the same field. Thus, the FLE Department at METU became the only such department in Turkey to offer graduate programs in that field. Similarly, in addition to the M.A. program in ELT established in 1979, a doctorate program was established in 1991.
Members of the staff are vigorously involved in research in the areas of language education, linguistics, and literature. They regularly present papers at national and international conferences and publish their research findings in Turkey and abroad. Furthermore, since 1993 the Department has held an English Novelists' Conference, with local and foreign participation—the only such conference organized by a technical university. The conference proceedings are published on a regular basis. The Department also has a German section that offers a Minor Program and elective courses, as well as a French section that offers elective courses. Furthermore, the members of the German section are actively involved in research in bilingualism and trilingualism.
The graduates of the Department of Foreign Language Education teach at all levels from primary through tertiary. A considerable number of graduates teach at the intensive language programs ("preparatory schools") of state and private universities and occupy positions as administrators and teacher trainers as well as working in materials preparation and testing. Furthermore, a good number of graduates have gone on to do M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, some of them eventually joining the staff of the department.
At present, the staff consists of 7 Professors, 10 Associate Professors, 3 Assistant Professors, 4 Instructors, and 12 Research Assistants. The Department participates in METU's Program for the Training of Academic Staff (ÖYP), through which it assumes the responsibility of educating future academic staff members for developing universities.
Since 2004, the Department has been implementing a joint B.A. program with the New Paltz campus of the State University of New York. Students enrolled in this program follow a different curriculum than those enrolled in the regular undergraduate program and meet the requirement of both METU and SUNY. Students spend three academic years in Turkey and one academic year plus two summer sessions in the United States.
Beginning in the fall semester of 2006, the Department has been offering logistic support-with regard to staffing and curricular matters-to the newly-established ELT undergraduate program at the North Cyprus campus of METU.