Tony Gurr

FIXing Hazırlık… (Pt 02 of 03)

In Adult Learners, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 23/05/2013 at 7:48 pm

Change (Arthur Ashe quote)

Love this quote from Arthur Ashe… – go on, take another (closer) look at it…

  • Start where you ARE.
  • Use what you HAVE.
  • Do what you CAN.

If ever there was a recipe (or ‘magic bullet’…even) for ‘fixing’ something that would be it!


In truthcos that’s what I’m doing a lot of these days…I did not know much about Arthur (we didn’t ‘do’ tennis where I was dragged up)!

It was this very quote, a few years back, that made me take note of his life, character and courageI soooo get (now) why he is referred to as the Eternal Example’ (and why some citizens of ‘my’ canım Türkiyem also hold him in such high regard).

 the PROBLEM (obs)


It is just…such a pity so many educational institutions (and their ‘leaders’ or ‘in-house experts’), consultants (especially those so-called ‘quality consultants’) and ‘national educational bodies’ have not taken Arthur as their example. 


Tony! Come on…we said we were ‘done with’:

Blame Game (TG ver)


I know…I know!

I wasn’t planning to launch into another rantpromise! It’s just that the ideas of Arthur and Peter (whose questions we looked at in the last post) are most often ‘blocked’ by the blame game…or rather those that play the blame game (as well as those that are blamed) – people!

You see…many of the problems we have in our hazırlık schools basically come down to the people that ‘live’ in our universities…and the reason these problems have not been ‘fixed’ is because…these people ain’t fixed them.


We all get that…

Most people can only SEE

…or their KNOWLEDGE, or their SKILL SET…or their EGO!


Hazırlık schools form part of a wider university community (though you would never know this by the way many academics and lecturers ‘look down’ on hazırlik staff and their LEARNers)…and a much wider academic community (on a national level).

Ego plays a big role in such communities – and, sadly, these communities are (as a resultnot too good at all this LEARNing stuff…and working together!


expletive bubble

I…$#*%…you not, Sherlock!


The Academic Community (and its educators), for the most part, actually see LEARNing (the type they have to do…for themselves) as an ‘admission of ignorance’.

Being seen not to KNOW something about something is almost as bad as not being published in, say, the last 3 years!

This is why so many professors (despite being an ‘expert’ in a very narrow specialty that very few others really care about) suddenly become ‘accreditation experts’ when asked a little question about ‘quality in education’. Isn’t the internet a great ‘research tool’?


When it comes to language LEARNing, everyone becomes an expert in a ‘flash’ (and an even better finger-pointer) – despite the fact that very few academics or lecturers have taken a methodology course, reflected on their own teaching methods with the help of a peer observer (or a video camera)…or even developed an outcomes-based curriculum model (let alone align this to a framework like the CEFR) – just take a look at all the cut n’ paste jobbies that pass as ‘Bologna compliant documents’ these days!

Just do not get me started on assessment in most of these faculty departments…



Sure, we hear lots of lecturers and chairs talking about their own language LEARNing experiences…“when I was in the States” – but is really isn’t the same as teaching in a hazırlık school in big, bad İstanbul, is it now?


Neither does it help when Rectors and their Deans explain that all language LEARNers (and their teachers) really need is a textbook from the 1970s (the one they used), a pencil and that vocabulary list from you-know-where (also from the 70s…or was it the mid-80s)!

Change (Deming quote)


Many of the guys charged with running our hazırlık schools are not much better at all this ‘collaboration stuff’ either.

Sorry, guys…just:

Truth (mini ver 02)


I mean forget not having a curriculum for a minute (just a minute mind)…many have not even bothered to find out what their LEARNers actually need to do with what they LEARN about English when they get to faculty (let alone ‘sit’ through a lecture or tutorial session).

It’s almost as if they do not know that most of their students are there to do departmental studies in English (!) – not LEARN about what Mr and Mrs Brown ‘used to do’ before retirement …besides, who needs to conduct a ‘needs analysis’ we bloody well know what they need, don’t we Raymond?

CEFR Vs Raymond Murphy


It’s really OK…not to KNOW something.

LEARNing…real LEARNing…within a community (as an active decision-maker in that community) is one of the best ways to ‘fix’ anything! We can move mountains…together!

It’s not OK…to not LEARN…especially when that LEARNing can help the institution and its LEARNers – and (instead) ‘choose’ to play the blame game.


Many members of the academic or ‘higher LEARNing’ community (and the hazırlık sub-community) in canım Türkiyem just need to recognise that…

You are HERE

…the same as most academic communities all over the globe!


Bearing that little thunk in mind…it becomes eminently clear that no single person (even if she is the ‘Director-from-heaven’) can ‘fix’ all of the problems we have been looking at in the last few posts. A hazırlık school cannot solve its problems in isolation from the rest of a university – and it should not be expected to!

…or be expected to ‘fix’ stuff…while there is so much dumb, uninformed, cookie-cutter decision-making going on around the Mütevelli Heyeti meeting room table! Yes, I am still talking about increasing contact hours…as a means to improve the quality of student LEARNing!

Ass Backwards (badge)


Just as it ‘takes a village to raise a child’, it takes every single member of a university community to produce a successful graduate (especially from a school that markets itself as an English-medium university)! These graduates (regardless of which ‘stage’ of their ‘university career’ they are at) ‘belong’ to all of us – their LEARNing is what should guide our decision-making.


Do you see where I am going with this?


What Peter (and Arthur, too – even though he did not play a ‘team sport’ either) was basically saying was that the questions he proposes…have to be answered by all those involved in a given community…and that all members of that community play whatever role they can in getting things back on track!

YES (red exlam tilted)


The hazırlık ‘community’ is a pretty complex one – made up of people who ‘do’ the day-to-day ‘work’ of the community and others that either impact how it ‘does business’ or have an interest is how that business is ‘done’:


…and, yes…I know I have probably missed a few!


The questions Peter proposed:


…can only be effectively addressed when all members of the community speak the same languageare on the same page – (and) speaking (and listening) to eachother might be a good way to start!

Tony Wagner QUOTATION (isolation)

Dream much, Tony?


And, that’s because a community-that-is-not-really-a-community ain’t gonna be able to do much ‘fixing’ at all!


We all know that a…

Band aid

…just ain’t gonna do it for our hazırlık woes, don’t we?


To do that (and you are all gonna hate me for this)…we need a ‘Community of Purpose‘ (or even a community with a ‘common’ purpose…esp. with English-medium, university LEARNing).

Purpose 2 (Mourkogiannis quote)

I have a dream…a dream that involves sitting these guys:


…around a table (yes, the SAME table)!


For starters, they all agree that…

Questions (Marilee Adams quote - NEW)

…and accept that:

Lunacy (Einstein quote - NEW)


The questions they start to ask themselves are not ‘rocket science’:

3 FQs (purpose)


but they are ‘important’:




…so much more important than mere ‘prestige’ or ‘status’ …or ‘wall decoration’:


What are we here to DO (2 FQs)


These are real questions that ‘matter’ – that show a true understanding of what quality education is all about:


Broken Quality (TG definition)


…and that the journey is best undertaken by a ‘true’ communitya community of purpose! This community listens to eachother…LEARNs from eachother…and recognises that:


Block (fingerprint quote)


FIXing stuff in this kinda environment would be so much easier…don’t you thunk?


  1. Well said Tony…… pretty much what I said in one of my responses but far more erudite and all-compassing. If hazirlik, freshman and the departments are not singing from the same hymn sheet then all you’ll get is discordance.

  2. Well you won’t be the only one then 😉

  3. I appreciate the sincerity and volatility of your views, but you don’t half over-write

    • L,

      LOL – U R so lucky I have a policy of approving every comment…unless those comments are about Manchester City or Fenerbahçe (or “spam” telling me that my breasts are too small) 😉

      Be good – my friend!


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