ILTERG: CONNECTING RESEARCHERS
The ILTERG Project
One of the cornerstones of social and scientific advancements is communication and collaboration among researchers. In social sciences, it is getting more and more common to form research groups to enable researchers in the same research area to exchange opinions and information. With that aim, ILTERG (International Language Teacher Education Research Group) was established in 2016.
ILTERG is a collaborative project for higher education. It is an international project coordinated by Gazi University with the support from Boğaziçi University (Turkey), University of Evora (Portugal) and Pomeranian University (Poland). The project is funded by Turkish National Agency and co-funded by the European Commission under Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices. The project was planned to last for three years.
The main aim of the project is to establish international research groups which will facilitate collaboration in the field of language teacher education. As stated on the website of the project, what the research groups aim to do is:
– to promote a shared research vision and research culture among international novice and expert researchers,
– to generate new and deeper insights and perspectives in conducting research,
– to enhance the visibility and impact of the research conducted by the novice and expert researchers,
– to promote the creation and development of European networks, which is one of the main objectives of European Union (Programme Guide, 2016),
– to serve a good model for other researchers from different fields.
The ILTERG Conference
One of the most significant outputs of the ILTERG Project was the ILTERG Conference (International Language Teacher Education Conference), which was held on 8-10 April, 2019, in Antalya.
The conference aimed to gather researchers from all over the world in order to bring together research, theory and best practices from all contexts of language teacher education and English language teaching.
Accordingly, the conference program was based on two main themes: Language Teacher Education and English Language Teaching.
The conference hosted various distinguished researchers as plenary speakers to share their research and scholarly papers. It was invaluable to have the opportunity to listen to Gonca Yangın Ekşi, Fiona Copland, Steve Mann, Paul Kei Matsuda, Dinçay Köksal, Arif Sarıçoban and Ali Fuad Selvi, who gave us a chance to gain new insights through their rewarding speeches.
In addition to the plenary speeches, a number of concurrent sessions also took place at the conference. Experienced and novice researchers and practitioners from various countries made valuable contributions to the organisation by presenting their research and sharing their practices. These sessions were valuable opportunities for all the participants to exchange ideas, experiences and practices and establish networks in the fields of both language teacher education and English language teaching.
In accordance with the main themes of the conference, we wanted to make a humble contribution to the conference by presenting our research in the field of testing, which is a central part in language teaching.
We are currently working in Testing Unit at Gazi University College of Foreign Languages. In the 2018-2019 academic year, our institution has adopted a new system in which the quizzes, which were previously announced, are carried out as unannounced (pop) quizzes. Since this is a new implementation for the institution, we were interested in investigating its effects. This motivated us to carry out a study. To start with, we wanted to explore the perceptions of the instructors. We aimed to get the perceptions of instructors on the effects of unannounced quizzes in three specific areas, which were learners’ attendance, study habits and test anxiety. Our participants were 20 Turkish EFL instructors who were determined by using convenience sampling. The participants were familiar with both the announced and the unannounced quiz systems at the institution, which made it possible for them to compare the two systems. To collect the data, we created an open-ended questionnaire. Following it, expert opinion was taken, and the necessary changes were made on the items accordingly. The data were analysed by using the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). The findings of the study suggest that although many thought that unannounced quizzes increase test anxiety, a great majority of the participants were positive about the effects of unannounced quizzes on students’ attendance in class and their study habits. That is to say, they stated that unannounced quizzes encouraged students to attend classes more and study more regularly. On the whole, the perceptions of the participants showed us both how the new system benefits the students and what we can do to improve it as the institution.
As the members of the testing unit at the institution, carrying out this study gave us the chance to receive valuable feedback about what we are doing. Furthermore, it was a rewarding experience to be able to present our study to researchers and practitioners interested in the field at ILTERG Conference, which is a great international platform allowing this.
We would like to thank both the organisers and all who contributed to the conference as well as the whole ILTERG project. It was a real pleasure and an honour to be a part of this great event.
Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London.