The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) welcomes a visiting scholar from Turkey this spring semester. H. Gozde Erturk joins CASTL from the Faculty of Education Early Childhood Education Program at Haccettepe University in Ankara, Turkey.
Erturk, a research assistant and Ph.D candidate, is currently working on her dissertation research that focuses on children’s self-regulation and quality classroom environments, and is supervised by Dr. Mubeccel Gonen. She is one of only a few in Turkey that are working towards an advanced degree that focuses on working with children.
“I was initially interested in reaching children in Turkish classrooms, but I soon started realizing that the real problem was getting teachers to do something effective first,” explained Erturk. She completed some preliminary observations in preschools and was surprised that there was relatively no interactions happening between teachers and children. “Many Turkish classrooms have materials present but they are not being used effectively or in ways that create a high quality environment linked to children’s positive development.”
This led Erturk to start looking for measures that captured information about the types of interactions she was not observing regularly in Turkish classrooms. Through database searches, she learned about the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), which was developed and validated here at CASTL.
“The CLASS is being used in countries across the globe, including Israel, Germany, Australia, and Norway,” explained Dr. Bob Pianta, the founding director of CASTL and Dean of the Curry School of Education. “Observational tools developed here at CASTL, such as the CLASS, are providing insight into teaching practices across cultures.”
Erturk and her colleagues became CLASS observers in the fall of 2011, and corresponded with Dr. Pianta on implementation within Turkish classrooms. Later in the spring 2012, Erturk and her mentor Dr. Tulin Guler attended a conference in Istanbul, Turkey where Dr. Pianta discussed an evidence-based program called MyTeachingPartner (MTP).
“Throughout my observations, I kept wondering ‘what will we do next’ and then we heard about MTP,” said Erturk. “We realized that we could work collaboratively with teachers to better reach children.” This is a main goal for her semester long visit to CASTL—to learn more about how to use the CLASS and how her research team may implement MTP back in Turkey.
Erturk plans to graduate in May 2014, after building professional connections here at CASTL. Throughout the next three months, Erturk will be attending regular research meetings across projects at CASTL, and will conduct a guest lecture during the CASTL Work-in-Progress (WIP) Meeting on Friday March 8th, 2013 from 2-3 PM EST at 350 Old Ivy Way.
Photo by Lynn Bell