THE FIRST “UNIVERSITY WITHIN SCHOOL” OF TURKEY
Bahçeşehir University’s Faculty of Educational Sciences provides a fresh solution to the most compelling issue of teacher education in both Turkey and abroad: the need to engage future teachers in comprehensive, practical experience preceding their placement in the field. With the approach termed “University within School,” teacher candidates are provided the opportunity to develop their teaching skills in authentic classrooms on school grounds throughout their years at the university. Each year of the program is marked by intensive collaboration both with academics in the university program and practitioner teachers in the schools. As Bahçeşehir University is affiliated with multiple schools at all levels, the program is in a unique position to allow teacher candidates to investigate and interact with teachers and students across various school environments. In addition to these academic benefits, graduates of the program enter the field after having established ties with a number of schools. These ties enhance these graduates’ employability.
An education based on this school-embedded approach, “University within School,” represents only one of the contributions that the school makes to the field of teacher education. For, Bahçeşehir University’s Faculty of Educational Sciences’ focus is both in the local Turkish and foreign contexts: teacher candidates are trained according to a platform in which they actively engage in learning and living the teaching experience in Turkey-situated and internationally situated contractual schools. Key to this strategy is teacher candidates’ participation in Bahçeşehir-supported international internship experiences abroad during their study period. Towards this end, Bahçeşehir University’s Faculty of Educational Sciences has signed educational contracts with some of the world’s leading higher education institutions, including Columbia University Teachers College, New York University (NYU) Steinhardt School of Education, Wheelock College and Bank Street College.
The hands-on approach outlined above is complemented by a strong foundation in theory. In this way, teacher candidates engage in inquiry cycles in which theory informs practice, and practice allows for greater reflection of theory. Portfolios serve as important products of the teacher candidates’ theoretical and applied work; they represent a primary form of assessment. The Faculty of Educational Sciences achieves its mission in English-medium classrooms.