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Networks: An Online Journal for Teacher Research

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Teachers -- Training of -- Turkey, Student teaching


In Turkey there is an old saying about how parents feel about the role of schools: "The bones are mine, but the flesh is yours." Turkish parents want schools to not only educate but to mold and shape the values of their children in ways that the educators think appropriate. Ever since Turkey became a republic in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, education has been highly valued. In 1924, Ataturk invited John Dewey to assess and report on the situation in Turkish schools. In Turkish villages, anyone with an education was highly respected. Old people stood up out of respect when a student returned to the village with a high school diploma or even better, a college degree. The saying echoes this blind trust in the ultimate authority and responsibility of schools to educate children.

The primary purpose of this article is to report how Turkish student teachers identify and reflect on the "critical incidents" of schooling that they bring as they enter a new teacher education program. "Critical incidents" are descriptions of incidents in one's past that are viewed as significant in one's learning and development. The secondary purpose of this article is to analyze these incidents to inform the first author's teaching and field supervision. In this way, this study is an action research project designed to be a systematic study of her own practice of assessing the nature of students' background knowledge of teaching.


This is the publisher's final PDF. The article was originally published in Networks: An Online Journal for Teacher Research and can be found online at:

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