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"Language is learned by practicing in life"

Expert psychologist-educator Kerem Gümüş and educator Münevver Aktaş evaluated the major problems experienced in both education and language education to ILKHA correspondent, emphasized that education should be included in life through practicing.

Stating that a child is not allowed to dream not encouraged writing thoughts to express him/herself, Gümüş noted that the child has to dream, write poetry, and write stories.

"The child can't even express himself at home, and then we expect him/her to learn English while the child can't use his/her personal skills at home," Gümüş noted.

Gümüş underlined that the child can't even express him/herself in own language while underscored the self-expression of a child starts at home. "If the child can express him/herself at home, he/she can express him/herself at school. If this happens, a second language can be taught."

"Fear of making mistakes is an obstacle to learning"

Criticizing teachers at a second language learning process, Gümüş said, "There's also a part of this that looks at the teacher," while asked, "The teacher him/herself does not fully know Turkish so how he/she can pass it on to the student?"

Noting that students taught grammar while learning a second language without learning the language theoretically, Gümüş pointed out that simple and short expressions are used when speaking Turkish without paying much attention to the grammar.

"When teaching English, if the grammar is taught instead of theory, it will reverse. Having constant rules, having the fear of making mistakes is an obstacle to learning," he said.

"So some things just stay in theory," Gümüş said and continued that teaching a second language is not about teaching grammar, or making sentences according to the rules.

"Theory and practice are very different in every aspect of life, so does teaching English. When you learn a second language, you need to move it to the street and market. Someone who wants to learn the second language should be allowed to make mistakes," Gümüş suggested.

Providing information that there are no exams in institutions that provide good education abroad Gümüş underlined that they do not reward or punish students while trying to analyze if students have learned or not.

At the end of his words, Gümüş said education in school is not enough, while advised that education should be involved in real life with various activities.

Why can't we learn English?

Münevver Aktaş, an educator who has been teaching English in various institutions for many years and who has still given private lessons actively, said: "Why can't we learn a foreign language in Turkey?" the question has been asked for years.

Aktas said that there are several reasons for this situation. "I will give an example of myself as experience. I received Japanese education from Japanese teachers for 5 years. We have become able to speak Japanese easily in a year, not in 5 years. The next years we have made dissertations on Japanese culture, history, and politics. The only rule was to speak and write Japanese only."

Saying that she has been studied English since the secondary school, Aktaş found it strange that she could not speak English despite receiving 15 years of English language education until she started to speak English actively in business life.

"When I started to use the English language on the table in correspondence with strangers, I started to learn," she added.

"Without trying to learn to speak, we're trying to make a regular sentence."

One of the most important problems is "grammar" Aktaş reminded. "Grammar is the detail of language; it is difficult. When a student is unable to speak English, you can see that he/she can have high grades from tests on Past Simple, Past Continuous, and Future Tense, etc..."

"The grammar is in the 3rd or 4th place when things that need to be learned in a language are ordered. Because grammar is used to speak a language at an advanced level. We try to make rules according to the time before we learn to speak; this is a system imposed by education."

Stating as the second reason that students in Turkey start inadequate language education in primary school, while the topic is 'am, is, are, Aktaş criticized that in secondary school, the subject again is 'am, is, are' and same grammar, same subjects are being taught in the University curriculum.

"Unfortunately, because the curriculum in our schools tries to give the whole grammar, it can't focus much on speech, listening, and pronunciation. Therefore, we take the same subjects back and forth every semester," she said.

Aktaş expressed the third reason why students in Turkey cannot learn English as inadequate foreign language teachers. "It is a consequence of system and incapability of educators in speaking and make students speak, while those educators have passed grammar based exams successfully."

Aktaş, at the end of her interview, made recommendations to educators, who provide foreign language education, in order to keep the language alive and to ensure that the language is learned.

"Let's focus on storytelling rather than one-to-one speech, question-answer, story reading. Let's take our students to the environments where the language is actively used. (ILKHA)

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