This study focuses on the State and the Private Primary School teachers’ interpretations and implementations of the Turkish Guide Book. Turkey’s candidacy for accession to the European Union led to some reformations in education in 2004 (Aksit, 2006). One of the aims of the 2004 reforms was to introduce new teaching styles along with renewed textbooks and teachers’ guide books. However, throughout these reformation movements, there has been little attention given to teachers’ training. Although the Turkish Guide Book meant to standardise teaching nationwide, it was also meant to transform primary schooling in Turkey. The main purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of State and Private Primary School teachers’ interpretations and implementations of the Turkish Guide Book in Year Five of Primary Education in Turkey. In this research, naturalistic research tools were used to gather qualitative data. Observations, interviews and documentary analysis were the main research tools. The study took place in a State Primary School and a Private Primary School, both situated in Ankara, Turkey. The research was first conducted in the State Primary School from March 2007 to April 2007 which led to the idea of conducting further research in the private context. Research conducted in the Private Primary School took place between December 2007 and January 2008. The data were collected from ten primary school teachers by means of semi structured interviews and classroom observations. Drawing upon the theoretical framework of Foucault’s (1977) modern power control strategies, a major factor influencing teachers’ classroom practices both in the State and the Private Primary Schools emerged. A highly centralised Turkish educational system has a major influence on teachers’ classroom practices. However the State Primary School participants’ attitude towards teaching and learning was different from the Private Primary School participants. The State School participants had doubts about the new Turkish Guide Book; however they did not make any changes with their implementations of it. However, teachers from the Private School adopted various activities into their teaching. The difference among teachers’ classroom behaviour may be explained through the structure of the schools. Although both of the schools are controlled and inspected by Ministry of National Education (MONE), MONE’s influence over the State Primary School is more evident. Spatiality can also be considered to be a mode of modern power control (Massey, 1994). Therefore the structure of space in both the State and the Private Primary Schools is a form of surveillance apparatus. In particular, Ataturk portraits and Turkish flags were prominently displayed in every corner of the State School, which acted as a reminder of the state control and ‘Turkishness’. On the other hand, in the Private Primary School state control was not as apparent; however, the structure of the school was organised according to permanent visibility
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