The Power of Thinking: Teacher Training Support Program for a Youth that Questions and Queries project, initiated by ERI in January 2009, aimed to develop critical thinking skills among teachers as well as students to increase the quality of education in Turkey. Implemented with the support of Akbank and in partnership with the Ministry of National Education, 4,250 teachers from eight provinces benefited from critical thinking trainings with the help of 39 expert trainers and 148 junior trainers during the 17-month-long project. As a result of teacher trainings, 141,270 students were introduced to critical thinking teaching and learning methods. The main material used for the project is the Turkish adaptation of the book Teaching and Learning Strategies for the Thinking Classroom. The other material, the Resource Kit, consists of 66 texts spanning six themes: Discrimination, Environment, Genetics, Cultural Heritage, Globalization, and War.
ERI’s work in this area was also included in the book Schools for Society: Learning and Democracy in Europe, recently published by the Initiative for Learning Democracy in Europe (part of the Network of European Foundations).
1. Teaching and Learning Strategies for the Thinking Classroom Method Book
In consultation with David Klooster from Hobart and William Smith University and Charles Temple from Hope College, Prof. Gülgöz’s team adapted the guidebook into Turkish. The Method Book, which provides teachers with a catalogue of critical thinking, teaching, and learning methods to create a democratic discussion atmosphere in the classroom, was approved by the Board of Education on May 22, 2009 and distributed to trainers as well as teachers to be used in the trainings.
2. Resource Kit
Led by Prof. Üstel, a team of writers developed the Resource Kit, which provides the teachers with the content to create an atmosphere that encourages thinking and constructive debate in class. The Resource Kit is a compilation of folders prepared under six main themes: Genetics, Discrimination, Globalization, War, Cultural Heritage, and the Environment. Each folder has one title page, which defines the general framework of the theme, and 10 subtitles each consisting of one page that provide the readers with the opportunity to focus on some main topics about the theme. It was approved by the Board of Education on January 6, 2010 and distributed to trainers as well as teachers to be used in the trainings.
3. Resource Kit: Manual for Teachers
The Teacher’s Manual, which was developed by Dilara Kahyaoğlu, an experienced teacher, with the help of four junior teachers, is a set of in-class activities to be used with the Resource Kit. The Teachers’ Manual is awaiting approval from the Board of Education.
1. Expert Trainer Workshops
Two workshops were held on September 8-11, 2008 and April 11-12, 2009 with the attendance of 40 people in order bring together experts from Turkey with those from abroad as well as to acquaint participants with the content of the Method Book and the Resource Kit. Lesson plans were developed and presented by trainers as well as participants using a wide range of critical thinking methods during the workshops.
2. Expert Trainer Trainings
Two expert trainer trainings were conducted on February 25-March 1, 2009 and May 20-24, 2009 and attended by 39 people. Trainers as well as participants presented sample lessons, providing a chance to identify how to most effectively relay these methods during the junior trainer trainings. Participants were also requested to work in groups and prepare draft training programs for the training of trainers. These programs were shared and debated, providing insight on how to best plan the 10-day training.
3. Trainer Trainings
Trainer Trainings took place in three stages (4+4+2 days) simultaneously in eight provinces, on June 25-28, September 10-13, and October 2-3, 2009 with the attendance of 148 people. During the trainings, sample lessons were presented and discussed and participants were encouraged to implement the presented methods into their own classroom trainings and to share their experiences with others.
4. Teacher Trainings
Teacher Trainings took place in four stages (2+2+1+1 days) simultaneously in eight provinces, from November 2009-March 2010 with the attendance of 4,250 teachers. In the trainings, participants were encouraged to implement the presented methods into their own classroom trainings and to share their experiences with others, providing them with the chance to identify how to most effectively relay these methods in their classroom settings.