WEEK 4: 16-20 October 2017

Dear all,

We hope everything is going well with you and would like to inform you about the news for this week.

ScOLa Developmental Sessions:

As you know we started our Common Time Sessions last week with the session “Student Centred Teaching” given by one of our colleagues, Kezban Altuntaş. It was a fruitful session in which the participants had the opportunity to discuss the strategies of student centred teaching and to observe a sample reading lesson planned with this focus. If you missed this one and would like to attend the afternoon session, Kezban will be giving the same session again on November 2, Thursday at 14.45.


This week we will have our second session which will be given by Giti Najafi on Thursday (19.10.2017) during afternoon common time (between 14:45 and 16.30) in ScOLa 220.  In her presentation, she will have a short look at a tool named “Google Docs” and show how highlighting strategy can help students to comprehend a reading passage digitally. She will also show how a teacher can give feedback to her students’ performance and how it can be exported via this tool. If you are interested, please come join us.  Please do not forget to bring your laptops to the session.

Research Strand:

The research group held their first meeting on Thursday and started their journey! This week they will be working on “how to write research questions”.

GESS Turkey (19-21 October 2017)

If you would like to attend an interesting blend of international and local based speakers’ talks, you can get more information and register for the conference using the following link:



IATEFL TEASIG webinar- Developing a test: Where do you start? When should you stop?

The webinar will be on Tuesday 24th October 2017 at 17.00 UK local time (1600GMT / 1800CET) with Jo Tomlinson who will be presenting on Test Development and looking at practical ways to help teachers and test developers prioritise tasks and formulate a systematic way of test development.   The webinar will be a practical session for teachers who have been tasked with developing tests either in-class or for their institution. The session will outline practicalities and test purposes and how these can influence the types of test you might create. The ways of quality controlling test development (addressing concepts of both validity and reliability), as well as considering task and item types, in terms of their benefits, pitfalls and practicalities will be looked at.


Week 3: 9-13 October 2017

Dear all,

we hope all is well with you and with your classes.

Below you can find the latest updates and upcoming events in ScOLa.

  1. ScOLa Student Support System: All the co-curricular activities started as of Week 2. You can find the details of each below. For further questions, you can get in touch with Esra Çelik Soydan (esra.celik@ozyegin.edu.tr).
    1. Study Center: Our individual support center is in Library (-2 floor). We informed our students about it through level meetings and posters in the classrooms. Compared to previous years, we have received a very high number of student visits in the first two weeks of the academic year.  There were more than 20 student visits in just two weeks (8 from A2 level, 4 from B1 level, 7 from B2 level and 4 from Pending).You can always direct your students who need extra support and guidance to Study Center. Below you can see the schedule.
      12.45-16.35 8.40- 12.35 08.40- 16.35 8.40- 16.35 8.40-12.35
    2. ScOLa Clubs: This year we have two clubs for each level. All the relevant posters have been given to the core instructors to be put on their classroom noticeboards.  You can always direct your students to these clubs. Last week, we had our initial meeting with the students and all the clubs received a good number of students. Especially at A2 level, students were quite motivated to attend the clubs and around 100 students have already signed up for the Speaking Club. We hope that this enthusiasm will continue throughout the year with your support and cooperation.
    3. B1 Level Project: B1 Project started on Tuesday in Week 2 with 120 B1 level students. Due to the high number of students who enrolled in the project class, there are six different sections which are conducted on a block-schedule. For further questions, you can get in touch with Gülçin Coşgun (gulcin.cosgun@ozyegin.edu.tr).
      B1 PROJECT


      Tuesday Wednesday Friday
      Gulcin Section1


      Section 2



      Section 3


      Section 4



      Section 5


      Section 6



  2. ScOLa Developmental Sessions: Our Common Time Sessions start this week. We will be starting with a session focusing on “Student-Centered Teaching” which was specifically designed for ScOla using our curriculum and course-package. The session will be given by Kezban Altuntaş on Thursday (12.10.2017) during morning common time (between 9.00 and 10.30) in FEAS-AB2 G12.  If you are interested, please come join us.  It would be better if you could inform Kezban (kezban.altuntas@ozyegin.edu.tr) about your attendance by the end of Tuesday so that she can make her arrangements accordingly.
  3. Research sessions: The research group which is comprised of 10 instructors will hold their first meeting this Thursday and start their journey!


This is all for now.

Wish you all a smooth new week.

WEEK 2: 2-6 October 2017

Dear all,

We hope you all have a good Monday!

Here are the updates from ScOLa for this week:

1. Welcome meeting with the students

Nergis Uyan held a welcome meeting with the Prep students. She met the students in three groups according to their levels.  In these meetings, students were informed about ScOLa and the support provided for them to improve their language skills. There were also two guest students who started ScOLa last year as A2 level students and finished Prep Program in one year by successfully passing all the levels. They shared their own experiences in ScOLa and how they made this success possible.

You can find the photos from the meetings below.

2. ScOLa Co-curricular Activities start this week:

This semester ScOLa offers six Clubs to the students in addition to the Study Center support and B1 level Project course. Details can be found on the posters around and on the notice boards in classrooms. The flyer which was shared with the students during the welcome meetings last week is below.

3.UGE Shaexperience Sessions – 2017 Fall    

UGE started their Shaexperience Sessions in September.  So far, two sessions have been delivered. You can find the details below:

Google Docs – Highlighting Strategy by Giti Najafi (22 Sep 2017)









Using Socrative app as a means of designing interactive online quizzes by Ayla Yalçın Duman (22 Sep 2017)






4. SCOLA Conference Committee Meeting

The conference committee started working on the preparations and held two meetings so far. We hope that with the collaboration of everbody in ScOLa, we will have a successful conference. The details will be shared through these update posts on a regular basis.



Wish you all a fruitful new week!












WEEK 1: 25-29 September 2017

Hello all,
welcome back 🙂
We hope you all had a relaxing break, fruitful prep days and are ready for the new academic year. We’ll continue keeping you updated through weekly ScOLa News as we did last year. Here are some of this week’s highlights:

  • Our new colleagues

This year nine new instructors joined our family.


The orientation week started with a “welcome breakfast” and Nergis Uyan’s presentation.

Then, our new colleagues learned about the campus through a scavenger hunt.

They also joined sessions about the university and the system of the ScOLa.


They will continue getting support throughout the year in their induction programme but we know that you are all there whenever they need support or guidance.

Once again we would like to say WELCOME to them and wish them all the best in their new journey.

SCOLA Picnic

We had a great start to the academic year with a picnic where we had the opportunity to come together as a big family and catch up with each other. We hope to have other socializing opportunities throughout the year 🙂

You can find some photos from the event. We would like to thank Safak for the photos.

Focus Group Update

MCD Focus Group:

In our multiple focus group meetings on MCD, we set out to revisit the rationale behind this course component. As the tasks within MCD are mostly regarded as exams to be prepared for by students and thus increase their anxiety level, we discussed the necessity of raising students’ awareness by emphasizing that MCD tasks test the objectives that are taught throughout the semester for both students and teachers to see the progress of learning over time.

We further continued by discussing the need for input standardization. As different input materials with different objectives would create problems in the expected outcome, being standard while giving input to our students is crucial to all of us.

As for the administration and grading of the tasks, the importance of following each and every step in the guidelines was underlined. To keep the records of the task grades safe, we agreed to announce them through LMS by creating a grade category called MCD while also keeping an updated copy of MCD Grade Sheet on Z-drive.

Formative & Summative Evaluation and CPG Focus Groups:

Based on the feedback shared in focus group meetings held by Nergis U during the summer term, the issues of Formative &Summative Evaluation and CPG were determined to be worked on in two different focus groups during the prep days.

The first group whose members are Cem Kaya, Özlem Akbaş, Mine Yalçın and Özge Özgen worked on Formative and Summative Evaluations updating the evaluation questions, and offering suggestions regarding how to increase the response rates in classes.

The second group including Aysel Kalcıoğlu, Nuray Güleç, Nazan Özçınar, Mehmet Cemal Ekinci and Arzu Nihan Kaya worked together in CPG focus group. They went over the feedback received from the instructors, tried to find solutions for CPG issues, and they updated the CPG criteria accordingly.

After their meetings, some representatives of both groups presented what they came up with to the management and got their suggestions. And then, the final decisions were presented to ScOLa instructors in the level meetings.


This is all for Week 1. Wish you all a fruitful new Academic Year.



Dear all,

as ScOLa family, we all give importance to continuous professional development.  We are involved in various developmental activities such as pursuing graduate studies, representing the school in local and international conferences, conducting classroom research, attending different courses, reading extensively, sharing our ideas with our colleagues and so on.

Since its foundation, apart from in-house symposiums, ScOLa has also hosted some major forums and events in the world of ELT, such as FOCI, FOAI and a joint event with the British Council to create further opportunities for professional development.  Seeing the success of these events and with the expertise we have gained so far, we believe we are ready to set sail for a new journey in professional development–our first International Conference on language teaching & learning 🙂

As you know, such an organization requires collaboration and the ownership of whole ScOLa and it is for sure that each and every one of us will be ready to put effort into this journey.  In addition to this invaluable support from each ScOLa member, an organization committee also needs to be established.

If you would like to be involved in this committee to undertake some major responsibilities and to be accountable for the smooth running of the whole process, please send an e-mail to Aylin (aylin.yurtsever@ozyegin.edu.tr ) stating your interest by the end of 21.07.2017.

Thank you in advance.

Have a great week.




Reflections on Testing, Evaluation and Assessment Training by Nagihan Aydın and Emine Merdin

Dear all,

Two of our assesment specialists, Nagihan and Emine, attended Testing, Evaluation and Assessment Training which was held in Beykoz University between May 25th and 27th.

Below, please find their reflections:


As an Assessment Specialist, I attended Testing, Evaluation and Assessment Training which was held in Beykoz University between May 25th and 27th.

The aim of this three-module training is to provide its participants with a broad overview of the major principles involved in foreign language testing and assessment. In the first module, representatives of testing units from a range of universities came together and discussed assessment related issues and experiences. The programme was facilitated by Zeynep Ürkün, İdil Güneş Ertugan and Merve Karabulut from Sabancı University, School of Languages.

Module one core themes were on theoretical and practical issues in testing and assessment. Day one started with history of language testing and continued with key issues in assessment, which were validity, reliability and practicality. As representatives of our institutions, we all reflected on the reliability and practicality of our own tests; shared contexts and experiences with one another in small groups. In the next two days, there were some hands on activities about writing general test specifications, developing classroom tests and testing use of English. Test samples; advantages and disadvantages of each sample considering given contexts were discussed. At the end of each day, we had Q&A sessions with the course facilitators and were given time to consider how to adapt ideas from the course to classrooms in our own professional contexts.

One major idea that was emphasized throughout the training was the “integrated learning system”. In this system, curriculum, delivery and assessment go hand in hand and they are inseparable. Therefore, one recommendation for preparatory programmes was to ensure that their syllabi, classroom materials and exams are in tune with one another. Another key point during the discussions was to define the “minimally competent person”. To be able to define it accurately, it was suggested that enough importance should be given to standardization sessions and the way these sessions are held.

This three-day training gave me the opportunity of meeting and exchanging ideas with other professionals in the field of testing and assessment. It was interesting to learn what other institutions are implementing and experiencing. Over all, I was really glad to see that we had already taken a lot of action to organize the way we administer, become standardized and do the marking of our exams.


Testing, Evaluation & Assessment Module 1 was organized by Gordion Akademi and hosted by Beykoz University. The 3-day event involved cherished speakers from Sabancı University such as Zeynep Ürkün who shared her valuable experiences in the testing field.

The attendees were mostly from universities around Istanbul, and this gave me a chance to compare our practice at ScOLa to other places and was happy to see that, in terms of testing and general practice, we are a school that is presented and considered as a high quality school.

The event’s sessions ranged from the history of testing to validity and reliability in testing. The final day was focused on testing specific skills and a vast amount of time was spared for the questions from the audience. This allowed me and everyone to take note of various practices at different institutions.

On the whole, I believe this was a fruitful beginning to a three-module testing course. I’m certainly looking forward to joining the following two modules.



Reflection on International Language Symposium by Nazan Özçınar Sırel

  • Conference Title: International Language Symposium. CA Institute of Languages. BRNO, 1-3 June, 2017
  • Presentation Title: Enhancing Lifelong Learning by Using NLP in the ELT Classroom
  • Presenter(s): Nazan Özçınar Sırel
  1. Brief information about the conference (location, the theme(s), keynote speaker(s), the length, etc.):

The conference venue was Brno, a small town in the Czech Republic. It was organised by the CA Institute of Languages which is an accredited organisation of EAQUALS. Although it was their first symposium, it was organised in a very professional way. The symposium started on 31st May with a reception dinner at the institute and continued with the plenaries on 1st June which were all very educative and fruitful. The next two days continued with workshops and presentations. Some of the keynote speakers included: Stephen Krashen, Jacquelin Kassteen, Jason Fritze, Ben Beaumont, Philip Kerr, Hugh Dellar, Jeremy Harmer, Marek Kiczkowiak and more! Below a picture of Jeremey Harmer while giving his plenary entitled: To Begin at the Beginning.


















Brief information about my presentation:

My presentation took place on 2nd June, Friday from 12.30-13.30. There were 16 participants with great interest. Some of the participants had never heard of the word NLP which is one of the reasons that made Prof. Stephen Krashen attend my workshop. I received very good feedback from participants who were eager to take part in my workshop and who told me they had learned what NLP was after the workshop. It was a very interactive workshop which contained theory and practice about NLP.

  1. “Highlights from Conference”

 As mentioned before, the first day of the symposium consisted of all the plenaries which made it possible for the participants to get all the theoretical information regarding ELT followed by all the workshops and presentations on the following two days. I would like to give some brief information about some of the plenaries:

PLENARY 1: Jeremy Harmer’s plenary: To Begin at the Beginning

Jeremy gave a very interesting talk on how to begin a symposium because he was the first plenary of the symposium. He started with a question: How do you begin a lesson / a conference / a talk or a symposium? He said there are various options:

  • Housekeeping: starting with taking the register
  • Shock and awe: starting with a test
  • Hit the ground running: open your books to page…
  • Firecracker: warmers / icebreakers / settlers(silence) / start with a question (what did you have for breakfast)
  • Set the scene: today I will talk about…. Here you talk about your aims: SMART. S stands for SPECIFIC / MEASURABLE / ACHIEVABLE / REALISTIC / TIMED


Jeremy also mentioned about Scott Thornbury’s Blog: An A-Z of ELT and advised us to read the blog: Bring Students into the Class.

PLENAY 2: Another Plenary was Huw Jarwis’ one on: From Digital Self & Students to Professional Self & Teachers.

At the beginning of his plenary he mentioned about certain acronyms:

PBM: Paper based Medium

DBM: Digital Based Medium

PPP: Presentation Practice Production

CALL: Computer Assisted Language Learning

MALL: Mobile Assisted Language Learning

TBLT: Task Based Language Learning

CPD: Continuing Professional Development

MALU: Mobile Assisted Language Use → using a variety of mobile devices in order to access / communicate information for their academic purposes.

He said that we can talk about Digital Residents vs Digital Visitors

“I link, therefore I am” (Pegrum, 2010)

He continued his plenary by saying that digital residence matters because it can…

  1. bring authenticity and reflects what the world does.
  2. inform debate about language ownership.
  3. equip students with online practice by using digital devices.

PLENARY 3: The third plenary was Hugh Dellar’s Teaching Grammar Lexically:

Grammar is an umbrella term for a large number of separate or loosely related language systems. What is Grammar?

  • is types of words and their functions
  • rules and forms – few/ a few / much/ many…
  • slots that can be filled with words
  • syntax and the position of words in sentences
  • tenses and verb phrases

He emphasised that teachers should not only focus on grammar as rules and patterns, rather they should see grammar as….

  • Vocab and phrases such as: What is it like? Or I wouldn’t bother if I were you.
  • Phrases providing slots: What are you doing…tonight?
  • Collocations (including prepositions)
  • Patterns: Just because I am a teacher it doesn’t mean I’ve failed at everything else.
  • Discourse: While some believe that…. It nevertheless seems true that…
  • Genre dependence

What are the classroom implications of all this?

  • The road is long: It’s learned slowly… from input. Usually whole sentences are better to deal with in class.
  • Explanation and learning rules
  • Context & eliciting
  • Noticing
  • Guided discovery / inductive learning: turning rules into questions.
  • Two-way translation → but sentences are better. E.g., I haven’t seen you for ages.
  • Cloze exercises
  • Gap fill / choose the form
  • Drills
  • Negotiate meaning and correct (reformulate / interrupt / point out / and teach)

PLENARY 4: The fourth plenary was Philip Kerr’s Translation, technology and the Language Classroom:

He started with a question: how much L1 do you use in class? He said that people always lie about this because it used to be bad to translate words or sentences in class. The following is a common belief: The best way to learn English is in a natural way where English is spoken or through English. Some believe that teachers need to use the target language only in class because…

  • Translation is not an important skill
  • Time spent L1 is not spent using the target language
  • Learners need to think in the target language
  • Translation promotes fossilization

He emphasized that teachers need to allow L1 in class because of…

  • research
  • learning objectives
  • psychology of learning
  • learner preferences
  • efficiency
  • technology

PLENARY 5: The fifty plenary was Prof. Stephen Krashen’s reading Hypothesis:

Krashen emphasized the fact that reading is an important skill and needs to be taught in the family. He believes that skill building hypothesis is only successful with people who like it which is about 5 % of the people and those people become language teachers. The other 95 % hates it.

“Comprehensible input has to be interesting, only then learning will take place”

Reading will take people to the highest levels. Therefore,…..

  • parents have to read stories to their kids
  • people need to read whatever they want. Teachers should do silent reading for 10 minutes in class every day.
  • children have to solve problems so they need to do free voluntary readings.

WORKSHOP: The most interesting workshop was Alex Cann’s workshop entitled “Giving Effective Feedback and Coaching Team Members”.

He started his workshop with two questions:

What is effective feedback?

What does it look like?


Feedback should be developmental and motivational because it helps to build competence and build confidence. We need to follow the following acrostic:

BOOST = balanced / objective / observed / specific and timely


The PRISM model is another one: Permission / reality / impact / solutions and make it happen.

Permission: Asking when to give feedback

Reality: what does their performance look like?

Impact: Impact of their performance.

Solutions: how to improve their performance

Make it happen: what actions will they take?


He finished his workshop with some Feedback Tips:

  • Send feedback questions ahead of time
  • Start using a log / feedback book
  • Mention specific behaviour – what they did? When they did it? And comment like this: when you do this…. this happens/ I feel like this.
  • Start with motivational feedback “and” if you had done this… it would have been better, rather than “but”
  • Remember to “ask” rather than “tell” by using target questions.
  • Use feedback sessions to build relationships, strengthen channels of communication, improve performance, motivate them.


These are my reflections from the symposium. I would like to thank Nergis and all of you for your valuable feedback and giving me the opportunity to attend a great conference like this to gain a lot of new insight and share my experience with other ELT teachers.


Some photos from the symposium and Brno:









CA Institute and Erik Dostal’s son at the reception.





Luch with Prof Stephen Krashen, Cormac and Larissa.






City Centre of Brno. Morevska Galerie which is the second largest art museum in the Czech Republic, established in 1961.






Petrov Cathedral in Brno established at the end of the 14th Century.








The view of the old city from the Royal Castle of Brno.







The royal castle of Brno established in the 13th Century.



WEEK 18: 29 May- 2 June

Dear all,

We would like to inform you about the following events:

1. UGE Sharing Experience (Shaexperience)  Workshop and Presentation Series Spring 2017: Prep instructors can also join these sessions if their schedules permit.


Presenters Name   Date, Time & Venue Title of Presentation/Workshop Abstract (max. 50 words)
1 Saadet Tıkaç 1st  June 2017, Thursday @11:00 a.m.in Room 314 “Use of Corrective Feedback by Native and Non-Native Teachers: A Comparative Analysis” This research paper presents a study on the beliefs and practices of a native English speaking teacher (NEST) and a non-native English speaking teacher (Non-NEST) of prep students in a private high school of Turkey on giving corrective feedback to students’ oral production.
2 İlkay Tuzcu Tığlı 6th June 2017,Tuesday @ TBA in Room 314 Digital Identity and Cyber Culture on Social Media:“Rich Kids of Turkey” as a Neo-Subculture on Instagram


This research aims to offer an insight for theorizing the role of social media in facilitating the search for meaningful identities in a sense of community focusing on the neo-subcultural characteristics of interactive users mediated by images.
3 Saadet Tıkaç 8th June 2017, Thursday @TBA in Room 314 “Hedging in Academic Writing: The Use of ‘can’ in University

Students’ Argumentative Essays at an English Medium University in Turkey”

This study aims to shed light on the ways of using meta-discourse markers and specifically hedging devices in academic writing by a group of first year university students studying in the department of English language education at a Turkish state university.
4 Sedef Erdogan Giovanell 12th June 2017, Monday @TBA in Room 314 Culinary Heritage in Turkey: Cultural Policy, Official Practice and Online Representation of Food Culture


As a part of my PhD thesis, this research aims to examine the employment of the intersection of food and heritage as the foundation for establishing food as an intangible cultural heritage. More specifically, in this research, the online representations of food culture by official bodies of Turkey will be identified and analysed by looking at the different contents available on the Internet by using the discourse analysis.


2. Cambridge Webinar: Teach with digital: developing digital skills for language teaching


In this webinar, practical ways for teachers to develop their digital skills for language teaching will be discussed. Knowing where to start and what to do can be challenging, so how teachers can evaluate their own skills, decide what they would like to work on, and how they can move forward in those areas will be considered.

Participants will look at some useful questions to ask when selecting digital products to use for teaching and for professional development. They will also be provided with examples of how teachers can extend the use of digital products to support learners in communicative language learning.

* Check the times of the webinar where you are

Monday 19 June 2017, 14.00- 15.00 (UK time) Wednesday 21 June 2017, 10.00-11.00 (UK time)

If you would like to register, you can use the following link:


Wish you a fruitful summer module.





Reflection on FOCI by Berrin Rüzgar

As a Curriculum and Assessment Team member, I attended the 15th FOCI (Forum on Curricular Issues) event, which was held at Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus, on 11th and 12th May. The forum was set up by the Curriculum Team of Sabancı University School of languages in May 2010 for representatives from the curriculum teams of a range of preparatory programs preparing students for their academic studies in English. The forum provides an opportunity for the participants to come together to share experiences and ideas relevant to curricular issues from diverse contexts.

This FOCI event was different in that the Eastern Mediterranean University was also hosting the T-Plus event on the same days. Therefore, the theme of FOCI was the relationship between Professional and Curricular Development.

The FOCI event started with a plenary session given by Tony Prince, the academic director at the Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE)-where he provides support for teacher training related to teaching English in higher education.  The plenary session was entitled “Teacher expertise: Knowledge and practice. What we need to know and what we need to do.” After the plenary session, three focus groups were formed, where we shared ideas and experiences on the theme of the relationship between Professional and Curricular Development. At the end of the event, one person of each focus group presented the work of the focus group to the whole group. All these gave me the opportunity to discuss issues related to professional and curricular development and learn different practices in this area at other institutions, which enabled me to reflect on our own practices.

Week 17: 22-26 May 2017

Dear all,

we’ve made it to the end of the spring semester. Congratulations to you all for your hard work and motivation 🙂 & enjoy marking and prep days 🙂

You can find the reminders and highlights of this week below.

1. Don’t forget that the deadline for applying for the assessment specialist responsibility is today by 17.00.

2. Don’t forget to fill in your Annual Leave Forms according to your holiday dates and hand them in to Eda by Wednesday 24th May.

3. Reflections of our colleagues who attended different events for the last couple of weeks have been posted on our blog under “ScOLa at Conferences” category. If you would like to become more familar with these events, such as FOCI, FOAI, T-Plus and EAQUALS Conference, you can have a look at the reflections.

Wish you all a smooth week,